Post # 1
Fiance and I have a year til the wedding. We were engaged back in March so I’ve been casually planning for 6 months. After a weekend bbq with FI’s family I’m fearing that our reception will be a snooze. FI’s drinking, smoking, wallflower family is nothing new to me but seeing how everyone is socially, suddenly had new meaning to me with the wedding. FI even said to me early on when we were debating DJ or iPod that his family does not dance and are not wedding partying types. I had this in the back of my mind but have been busy thinking about other wedding details for the last six months and didn’t really think what the atmosphere of the wedding will be like until yesterday and my heart sunk.
Fiance and I are paying for the wedding ourselves so we have a small guest list of 60 and no bridal party. My family is a little more social and no one smokes but I’m not convinced all of them will be dancing as a handful are quite elderly. The majority of our crowd is age 55+. We’ve already booked a DJ.
Am I going about this in the wrong way? Should I be relying on my DJ to read the crowd and make it work? I feel like literally half our guests will be out on the porch of our venue smoking.
Post # 3
Irregardless of weather or not all will participate, I think background music is a must. The DJ is trained to read crowds so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Post # 4
If you don’t think your guests will enjoy dancing – why not create a more social atmosphere by going with a cocktail or buffet reception with some nice background music and instead of larger 10 person tables, set up smaller tables with open seating for a more intimate feeling? The buffet will encourage people to get up and move around, while the smaller tables with open seating will allow people to socialize quietly amongst themselves. Plus it will be less obvious that there is little/no dancing. I went to a reception like this before and it was really lovely.
Post # 5
A good DJ knows how to read a crowd and get everyone out on the dance floor. Make sure the DJ you’ve already hired knows what kind of crowd he or she is dealing with so an appropriate set list can be created. Pretty sure your Nana is not gonna get down to "Sexy Back." You may want to suggest adding some generational songs that the 50+ crowd will enjoy.
Public Service Announcement: "Irregardless" is not a word. I think you meant "regardless."
Post # 6
well, my take on this is that most ppl will follow your lead. if you’re dancing and having a ball, others will follow suit.
in order to encourage this, you will probably have to play some older tunes. stuff they can groove to. as mentioned above the older members are going to know what to do if Holla Back Girl…
maybe start off with some swingy jazz, or something. and end the reception with your type of party music.
i have similiar concerns, since i dont know what are guest mix is going to look like. but i plan to have a ball regardless.
Post # 7
I love MsShamrock’s ideas. It sounds like a great way to make the atmosphere lively, and will be appropriate with or without dancing. It sounds like a party I want to go to!
Post # 8
do you have a few social friends or family members you can have promise to dance and get the party going? i have been to weddings where few people dance and it’s not a big deal. good music is important though, dancing or not, and dj or not – when the music is bad it’s just…bad.
you could also twist and lengthen the traditional bouquet toss by inviting all couples to the dance floor, then have someone (or a DJ) to ask if you’ve just been married, sit down. Then whoever’s been married fewer than 5 years, sit down, and so on. Then give the bouquet to whoever has been married the longest. I read that from somewhere on here.
you can add in other activities that could maybe fill up the time?
Post # 9
Thanks for your input bees! This has got me feeling creative of how deal with this challenge rather than being bummed out and annoyed at FI’s family.
Post # 10
In my social group growing up there wasn’t any dancing at weddings. Could steem from a conservative religious upbringing, but who knows. I didn’t even know that people danced at weddings until I was probably in highschool or college. I knew that with our crowd there wasn’t going to be much dancing, but that didn’t bother me. We had our first dance and our daddy daughter dance. Then we had our ipod playing in the back groud. It was wonderful and since it was a desert buffet wedding, everyone was on their feet mingling around most of the time. We also made time to have lots and lots of toasts (which was more like story time anyway, since I would usually jump in to tell the back story for each toaster) so that was a big part of our reception. It definitely wasn’t your typical "party till you drop" type of reception but it was so much fun and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I had always really envisioned our reception to look more like the times when my aunts and uncles and their familes use to get together at my grandmother’s house and talk and listen to music and catching up on the back porch.
And I agree with someone else who said that the guests will follow your lead. If you are upbeat and enjoying your time, then they will too. If you are frustrated and feel like the reception isn’t going the way it’s "supposed" to, then everyone else will feel ackward too.
Post # 11
I was recently at a wedding with a similar demographic to yours and despite the efforts of an excellent band, the dance floor was nearly deserted until several hours in when everyone had had enough to drink to brave venturing out. However, you say that even when FI’s family drinks they’re still wallflowers. Odds are they won’t be any different at your wedding, no matter how good the DJ is.
Which brings up the question of what makes a good DJ? Does he or she get everyone dancing? Or does he or she play music appropriate to the mood and audience? In your case, I also agree with MsShamrock: I don’t think you should force the issue of dancing or set your hopes too high. The music will still be wonderful music that people can dance to if they want (and even the mostly empty dance floor was still fun at the aforementioned wedding), and do include some old standards to appeal to your audience. One of the most important things though should be that it is not too loud to have conversation over—that might drive people outside or, worse, home early. Regardless, I am sure you will have a wonderful reception.
Post # 12
What about finding an activity that both families and your other guests can enjoy? We had a 50 people wedding a couple of months ago and both of our families don’t dance and only a handful of our friends like to dance. We don’t like to dance either. After some thinking we decided that all of our guests and families love to gamble. So we rented some casino tables (craps, blackjack, and roulette). All 3 tables were packed all night and everyone had lots of fun.
We had 3 prizes ($150 gift certificate to a steakhouse, the Wii game, and Vitamix Blender) for the people with most play money at the end of the night.
Post # 13
FI’s family can definitely hold their liquor so they don’t exactly loosen up with drinks….if anything some of them turn ugly but most of those family members have gotten help.
Indy…thanks for a great idea!! This has really got me thinking!!!
Post # 14
A reception without dancing isn’t boring if everyone is enjoying what they are doing. I’ve been to lots of weddings, with and without dancing. A wedding with all the guests getting down on the dance floor is a blast; a wedding with everyone mingling and talking is just as fun. But nothing is more awkward than being pressured to dance when no one wants to. Let your reception run naturally – do what you and your guests will enjoy, rather than push everyone into a "wedding reception" format.
Post # 15
- Wedding: March 2018 - Ritz Carlton, Marina Del Rey
These are wonderful ideas! I particularly love the casino night idea Indy posted. I didn’t know there was dancing at weddings either when I was growing up. There’s no dancing at most Chinese banquets. There is still a lot of joy and laughter though. You can have a fun slideshow of pics of you and your fiance growing up, you can have fun games and toasts, and you can even have karaoke. Or you can have nothing planned, but so long as everyone is relaxed, mingling, and having a great time — it’s going to be a wonderful wedding.