Informal Dinner

posted 3 months ago in Reception
Post # 2
4536 posts
Honey bee

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
1225 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

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 # 7
1041 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

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
171 posts
Blushing bee

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 # 10
4875 posts
Honey bee

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
1494 posts
Bumble bee

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
799 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
@winterily:  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
1420 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

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
1608 posts
Bumble bee

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. 

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