Post # 1
So I know that non-dancing receptions are becoming more popular, but I find that there’s still a paucity of ideas out there in terms of what to do INSTEAD. I know Mrs. Gummi Bear & Mrs. Turtle had receptions without dancing, but they both had banquet-style receptions, and I went through their recaps & couldn’t really find any discussion of what activities (if any) they planned instead.
FH & I are having a cocktail-style reception this coming February; so, we will be having heavy hors d’oeuvres (likely some passed, some stationary, maybe with a carving station as well), and there will be alcohol served (just recently decided; we were going to have a dry wedding for budget reasons, but my parents have stated that they will pay for drink tickets, which we really appreciate). There will be seating available, but likely not enough for everyone to sit down all at once. Our reception venue is the main lobby area of an art gallery, and it will be a four-hour reception taking place from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. There will be about 60-75 people, mostly adults.
We are planning on having a first dance, and the father-daughter & mother-son dances. We weren’t planning on having a specific dance floor, because we’re not really dancing people & would rather mingle with our guests to chat. We are having an “iPod wedding playlist”.
We were planning on having a couple things to break up the time:
- A “wishing rocks” station where people can write wishes for us on river stones & place them in a glass bowl
- Activity booklets (crossword, word search, colouring pages, etc.); all kids will get them in their Out of Town baskets, but we’re thinking we’ll probably put some extra ones out at the reception for “big kids” to enjoy. These booklets also include an “I Spy” page that encourages people to take photos.
- We have considered having a “scavenger hunt”-type of mingling game (encouraging people to find the guest who has done X/Y/Z) to encourage our families to get to know each other.
- Dancing of course won’t be banned, and we may occasionally engage in a spontaneous dance of our own to a particularly favourite song, so hopefully that will encourage “dancing people” to do their own thing if they want & shake a leg.
- We will have a “love story” slideshow put together by my dad (likely the length of 1-3 songs, so 2.5-10 minutes), toasts (probably at least three), and some friends of the family are really excited to put together a “skit” wherein they talk about how I was “never going to get married”, etc. etc. (going along with this, we are going to encourage guests to share their favourite stories of us as kids, as a couple, etc.)
- There will be no bouquet/garter toss, but we’re HOPING to do a cake cutting.
Does anyone have ideas for anything else to do to break up the time? Do you think that we need to “schedule” the evening to the Nth degree (my dad thinks so), or do you think that we should “go with the flow” as it were, and do things when we feel like it?
Post # 3
I don’t think you need to have activities. People will naturally mingle and chat and mix with others.
Personally I would skip most of the activities you have currently planned like the skit, forced watching of a slideshow (though one playing in the background on a loop is ok), and the scavenger hunt.
I would cringe as a guest if I had to play these games, and watch these performances, and may end up leaving early (sorry).
These are adults who can entertain themselves for a few hours, with mingling and chatting. They don’t need you to set up opportunities to force chatting.
Post # 4
The slideshow is non-negotiable. My dad puts one together for all big events/celebrations, and they’re really good. It will likely be part of his toast. As for the “skit”, it’s not really mine to control; I didn’t ask them to do it, but I’m not going to tell them that they can’t, either.
I’m glad to hear that you think that the guests will be able to entertain themselves, though. My dad seems to think that unless we schedule & plan the entire evening out that people will leave because they’re bored & their feet hurt from standing. Maybe we will nix the “conversation piece” mingling thing…it was something that I had read on the boards as a way to encourage guests to talk to each other during such receptions, but I don’t want it to be a competition-type game, just a way for people to get to know one another.
Post # 5
I think all of your ideas sound so wonderful and thoughtful! We had a charicature artist that was a huge hit. I have read that stations of things for people to do work for these types of receptions. As long as it is love/wedding focussed, I don’t think you can really go wrong with what you have. Four hours goes by so fast! You know your group the best and if they are a fun group, even a long song competition-have people serenade you to compete between a certain time or something like that…may work.
Post # 7
I don’t think you need to go crazy on activities. Crossword puzzles seem like more of a solo activity, what about some trivial pursuit cards placed on tables? You could even make your own about your town, you and your Fiance or whatever if you felt really crafty.
ETA – by “not going crazy” I just meant don’t worry about keeping people entertained, I think people will mostly be chatting/mingling anyway!
Post # 8
We are also having a *non-traditional* reception. Although ours is much smaller, probably 25-30 guests.
We are also doing an iPod for music and will be dancing only for like the chicken dance, electric slide etc. Otherwise will just have fun music playing.
I LOVE the wishing rocks station. I also LOVE the scavenger hunt idea. I may try to incorporate that somehow.
We are going to do a DIY photo booth – they get one strip and one strip will be put into a photo book where they can write a message (this will replace our guest book).
We’re big game nerds in my family, so we are going to have a game section set up and we are *hoping* to have (still looking for) some personalized games – like monopoly or life that has info about our families as well as poker with personalized cards. We also may bring the Wii with a big screen TV or projector.
I can’t wait to see what other ideas the Bee’s have!!!!!
Post # 9
We are not having a dancing reception either. Our wedding is about 70 people, and will run from the afternoon to early evening.We are doing an ipod playlist too.
We are having a DIY photobooth, and I ordered some wedding mad libs as a fun alternative to a guest book that will be on the tables for folks to fill out whenever they like.
I also plan on having a DIY pinata filled with all kinds of cute stuff – candy, love notes/sayings, little plastic bottles of liquor, etc. I haven’t decided how to work the pinata thing yet – if it’ll be a game or just on a volunteer basis, but I know our friends will think it’s a hoot.
Post # 10
*bump for the morning crowd*
Post # 11
I think you do need seats for every single person there. It could be a mix of traditional tables, tall pub tables, couches, chairs lining the sides of the room, etc. But I would leave a party early if I didn’t have somewhere to put my things down and sit.
Post # 12
We’re having a really laid back beach wedding, and 95% of our guest list is his dad’s family. All of our get togethers are very chill and we just hang out. So we’re not having dancing either and will really just be enjoying each others company on the day.
We’re also having a two hour afternoon dessert reception, so that made a difference.
For our “cocktail hour” we are going to have our guests do a scavenger hunt on the beach. We are also going to do wedding mad libs. Also, there is still going to be music in the background so you CAN dance if you want to, but I don’t think it’ll be popular at all.
Post # 13
i think the video and three toasts is a lot of talking already. if you open up the floor for everyone to talk it may get really awkward. speeches are okay but those many are usually done at the rehearsal dinner.
then to add the skit to that, thats a lot of talking.
i think the skit part talking about how you were never going to get married is odd…at your wedding. id keep it positive. plus that has nothing to do with your husband…cause obviously you are getting married! maybe thats more bachelorette party appropriate?
i went to one wedding where there was a videographer set up where people could privately leave verbal well wishes. then the couple watched them on their own.
i think time to mingle and background music is enough. good food. good drinks. i like the video loop suggestion. three toasts.
as long as i have friends to talk to talk to, i dont really need to be entertained. i mean most weddings do have a dj but no one is dancing the whole entire time. usually youre sitting and eating or chatting.
Post # 14
I’ve been to Mennonite weddings without dancing. Open mics went over well. People could tell a cute story about the bride/groom/couple or sing them a song.
Post # 15
I didn’t say cut the slideshow entirely, but only to have it play on a loop where people could watch it at a time that they wanted. Versus forcing everyone to stand there and look at it for 10 mins (which is far too long, IMO).
It just sounds like in trying to make it not boring, you are making it boring for guests. Standing through 3 x 5 min speeches, plus a 10 min slide show, a 5 minute skit is 30 mins of standing and not talking for guests.
I also think you need to have proper seating for each guest. Guests should not be forced to stand for hours on end in their best finery, and least comfortable shoes.
Post # 16
Your wedding sounds EXACTLY like mine, except we are a shorter, daytime reception (1-3pm). I’m not planning any special activities for our 65 guests– here’s our rough timeline.
1245pm Guests enter reception
1245m Couple time for food and drink
105pm Couple Grand Entrance
110pm First Dance
120pm Father/Daughter Dance
145pm Best Man Toast
150pm Maid of Honor Toast
215pm Cake Cutting
230pm Couple Toast
245pm Couple Leave
3pm Reception end