(Closed) Offbeat-Nonstandard Wedding Reception advice needed please

posted 4 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
658 posts
Busy bee

I think it comes down to what YOU want. When you envision your reception, do you picture it being more low-key or do you picture it being more lively with dancing and mingling? If you picture the latter, then go with the larger reception hall for sure. 🙂


Post # 4
658 posts
Busy bee

Ok, then if I were you, I would go with the low-key restaurant reception… but also try to think of little ways to keep it interesting and fun for everyone. E.g. you could add interesting music (like an acoustic duo or trio would be fun, especially if they play non-stuffy music). That’s all the ideas I have right now but look around for more!

I think should go with what you will make you happy and hopefully inject little fun things into the wedding. There are a million threads on this site from brides who drove themselves batshit crazy trying to please everyone but themselves.

Post # 5
1251 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

monthofsundays:  Have the wedding you want! If you are primarily inviting family then they will know each other and be able to chat after dinner is finished. The Italian restaurant looks beautiful. Maybe consider having an ipod with some upbeat music for after dinner is done if there are a few people that do want to dance but not so loud that it prevents talking?

Post # 6
186 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Yout low-key wedding sounds awesome! I agree with PPs — it’s totally natural to want to please everyone. But if you give everyone food and drink, that’s all you really need to do. Some of your older guests will probably leave a little early if you have a late night dance party, but that’s normal. You might also consider something like a bluegrass band or small jazz band if you want fun background music during or after dinner. People will just be happy to be there and celebrate you; I know that, personally, I prefer it when I don’t feel obligated to get into a conga line or stand around and pretend I’m interested in catching a bouquet. Low key will mean you’ll get to actually spend time with your guests and they’ll appreciate that more than anything.

Post # 7
1070 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014


Alcohol will make it work. My BFF had 40 people at her reception which was basically just the most beautiful dinner party ever (with open bar). She had no DJ, just an iPod. There was an area to stand and talk and that was it. It was one of the most fun weddings ever. Low key, beautiful, and just insanely fun for everyone to just hang out.

We were all drunk, so the conversations were probably stupid, but they were fun.

It was also nice because the area was on the smaller side, which was perfect for people to stand and talk, but no one felt cramped or too spaced out.

Good luck! The venue looks gorgeous!

Post # 8
199 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

monthofsundays:  I so feel where you’re coming from! I was having the same kind of dilemma. I wanted a small, chill wedding with close family and best friends (ended up being about 40-45 people, which is still more than I originally wanted!). But then we got wrapped up in planning and felt bad about excluding people, so we are doing things very non-standard.

We’re going out of state to a beautiful location to get married with our 40-or-so closest family and friends. We’re going to have dinner for everyone at a cute little restaurant, do a first dance, and then everyone is free to go there own ways or meet us out at a bar for an afterparty (we’ll probably put some money on a tab for people). Then, after our honeymoon, we’re having a big cookout “reception” for whoever wants to come– all are welcome! I was worried people would think we are just doing it for gifts, so I refused to make a registry for either event.

My biggest guilt is people coming from far away for both events and then the possibility of them being disappointed because both events are going to be low-key. I’ve made it clear as possible to everyone that the BBQ back home is just that, a cook out, so hopefully their expectations aren’t too high! This is what worked for us, and I do still have some guilt about it, but we’re going with it!!

Go with your gut feeling and I’m sure it’ll be perfect– both your options in the pics look gorgeous! 🙂

Post # 9
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

If you’re worried about people getting bored (although there likely to just chat and chill out like they would at any other function or family gathering) then just reduce the timeline. Eg ceremony late afternoon followed directly by the reception, to be finished by 9/10. Then those still in the swing of it can go on to a bar or something and perhaps the older guests can choose to go home. 

I don’t think low key is a problem though, and your venue looks stunning! 

Post # 10
46647 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

monthofsundays:  I think most people would be quite happy having a wonderful meal and visiting with the family- no dancing needed.If you keep the guestlist smaller, your budget will likely stretch to include things like brandy or liquers after dinner.

Do you have any restaurants near where you live that have private rooms ? They can be perfect for weddings.


Post # 11
2743 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Disney

We arent doing dancing at all! So dont feel off track I think your set up is fine. One of my cousins got offended when I said no dancing and wanted to know what we were going to do for 4 hours I told her you’ll have to wait and see. We will have an after party meet up at a dueling piano bar for those that want to dance and drink after the kids are gone.

Our entertainment will consist of:

1 hour of quartet music

3 hours of character artists

I spy cards with facts for things around them since we are at EPCOT on the water

40 minutes of fire works

Our favors will be a family tradition of Vinylmation where we open them up together which is always pretty funny.

We also have a very nice buffet planned for them with meat carving station, antipasto station, etc. Plus there will be toasts and cake cutting. I think this will work out just fine.


Your reception seems low key but fairly standard you will be fine. Your guests will love it the restaurant will provide a more intimate low key location for you and them.


Post # 12
3025 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Prague

The restaurant in the pictures is gorgeous! I think your idea is fine as is. If people have the option of dancing, all is good! Nice poeple, alcohol, food, comfy setting, potential dancing… I’d love to be a guest!

Post # 13
7311 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

I’ll speak to this from the other side of having alread held the intimate wedding with no dancing or other formal “entertainment.” It was a smashing success. People had conversations, made new connections, laughed, and generally had a great time. Our guests still rave about our wedding.

Post # 14
1229 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I think a short game after dinner would be fun.  The one where the bride and groom sit back to back and answer relationship questions, or you can have the bride/groom, groom’s parents, bride’s parents compete to answer relationship questions. 

Something quick, easy setup, guests can remain in their seats – a funny game with lots of laughter can amp up the atmosphere in the party.  Just let everybody know they are welcome to stay after dessert, because people take the cake cutting as the polite “ok” signal to leave.    

Post # 15
1935 posts
Buzzing bee

I think the dinner party sounds nice but don’t expect it to be the length of a typical reception. If you try to drag it out for 5 hours guests will be bored, but 2-3 hours would be lovely with what oyu have planned.

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