Post # 1
So we are now having a sit down dinner. It won’t be a traditional reception, just dinner and cake. We will be having it in a private function room, we didn’t realise this was included as part of the fee we have paid to have our ceremony at our venue – so happy!
Just curious to hear from other brides who have had or are having a more casual/relaxed dinner rather than a traditional reception. What are you doing/not doing? Also ideas for keeping kids aged 4-12 entertained?
We won’t be having a DJ, but will probably have some form of music, whether its what the venue is playing or coming up with our own playlist/s. I’m just worried people might get a bit bored, although our family and friends are pretty laid back so it should be ok and I can’t see it going on for too many hours.
Also, our ceremony is at 2:30, cocktail hour 3:00-4/4:30, then dinner at 5/5:30 – but I feel like this is too close?
Any helpful ideas are appreciated
Post # 2
Basket of coloring books (for different ages) and crayons would be great. If your cocktail reception is outdoors, then maybe some lawn games to get the zoomies out of the kids before dinner.
Assign tables at a minimum. Makes life easier for your guests.
Post # 3
Can you move the ceremony back? Like, to four o’clock? You’ve got people drinking from 3 to 5 or 5:30–they’ll never make it to the dinner.
Post # 5
we’re not too concerned as most of our guests aren’t big drinkers. I’m thinking it might be too close to dinner though. We’re going to do a first look so that we can have the majority of our photos taken prior to the ceremony to allow us more time with our guests afterward. Also, due to it being winter here then 2:30 is the latest we can have the ceremony, as 5:15 is sunset, and our photographer has asked we keep it no later for the ceremony.
Post # 6
yes, I love the idea of lawn games! If the weather permits we will be having these.
Post # 7
It sounds pretty standard to me. We started our ceremony at 2pm and dinner at 5pm and it worked out fine. The main differences to your timetable were that our ceremony was 1 hr (hence slightly earlier start time) and guests had to transfer venues (30 min drive) afterwards before cocktail hour. Our guests are not big drinkers, no one drank any inappropriate amount before dinner.
We made a playlist for during and after dinner.
I put one of the bridesmaids who has children in charge of making party bags to keep the children entertained. The kids seemed to love them. Also tried to put people with children on tables with other people with children of similar age. I treated children over the age of 11 inclusive as adults, they didn’t need activity packs.
I really don’t think adults will get bored. I’ve never longed for activities at weddings, it’s nice to just chat with people I haven’t seen for ages.
Post # 8
How many people are you planning? If it’s a smaller more intimate wedding I don’t think you have 5k worry about the timing. If it’s larger and you’re able to atten the cocktail hour I’d ask that any speeches be given then! Will help break up the longer cocktail hour.
for kids! Depending on how many (under 5) make them all their own individual personalized bags (cheap dollar store drawstring bags with coloring books, cheap legos, stickers, obviously age dependent). If it’s more than 5 kids it’s harder to personalize the l”goodie bags” and you might want to make generic ones by age group. Maybe have some board games for the older kids if there are a lot.
Post # 9
Mm I think we will be ok for the dinner too. But like the idea for keeping the kids entertained.
25 in total. Only 5 of which are children under 10. I think if we aiim for some entertainment for the kids as some of you have suggested, we should be ok.
Post # 10
I dont think you need to worry about people being bored. Adults know how to entertain themselves through socializing and parents know what is necessary to keep their kids entertained and are usually prepared to do so – that’s parent life. I mean it’s no different than any other family gathering that includes a dinner. I’m sure your families all manage just fine at Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays or whatever religious or cultural holidays may be appropriate to you. It’s really not any different.
Post # 11
I don’t think you need to worry. People in general are happy to just have a drink and chat. If you want something for kids then few games are enough but I’m sure parents can handle it. I understand it’s your wedding and therefore special but try to frame it as a dinnerparty for your families. You dont need to over organize it.
Post # 12
We just took everyone out to eat at a nice restaurant and then invited the younger folks for drinks/bonfire at our house. Family only wedding of 12 guests. We had a lovely, low pressure day and I have 0 regrets 🙂
Post # 13
We had a casual lunch “reception” no one got bored… for kiddos, coloring is always a good option, or puzzles (there were no kids at ours)— there was a modern day juke box in the bar area that played throughout the restaurant (super open concept place on the beach) so we just put a bunch of money in and played a bunch of songs that we would want to hear. We did have a seating arrangement just cause I knew some people would be better seated next to others (older ladies all together etc.) and it worked out so well!, we all visited, took pictures with the guests (our ceremony was just 4 people so most of the guests at the lunch were just seeing us for the first time), when we sat at the kings table to settle in, it was one of the aunt’s idea’s to go around and say how they knew us, cause our friends didn’t know every family member there and vice versa, it was nice… we thanked everyone for coming to celebrate with us, we ate, some people made little speeches, we had cake, visited a bit more, then people departed and some of us went to our favorite neighborhood bar/lounge and continued the festivites there. I loved the relaxed no-stress vibe of it all. I think I would do it the same kind of way if I were to do it again, there were about 20 people at the lunch and it felt very intimate and low key.
Post # 14
Yes. With covid we were delayed a year. Then our venue refunded the reception. Then the ceremony. So we decided to have reduced numbers less formal on our land. We figure 4.5 hours for wedding. 330 ceremony. Then cake and drinks followed by pics. And sit down catered BBQ dinner. I don’t think we need to have activities. But I will have canned music via stereo/playlist.