Post # 1
Anyone out there who did simpler and/or non-traditional wedding receptions? IE no DJ or emcee…we will definitely be serving food and drinks and at this point, are looking for inspiration from others for what else we could include. We want to keep it simple but be a fun time.
Thank you in adavance for all of your ideas <3
Post # 2
Hired a string quartet. No DJ. My friend made some announcements for us.
No bouquet toss. Asked the married couples to come to the dance floor and line up in order of how long married. Then I gave the bouquet to the woman who had been married the longest.
Post # 3
I would never do that type of line up — its cruel to divorced or widowed people. Just because YOU are now married doesnt mean everyone is. No need to do any bouquet toss or garter throw though.
I would see if a friend can set up a boise or something for sound, string quartet is nice, piano is other option.
Post # 4
We are having a late morning/early afternoon wedding and for the reception we are having a coffee hour, lunch, toasts, cake cutting, and then the send off, and we’re out by 2 pm!
Post # 5
My advice to keep it “simple” and fun is to get everything out of the way ASAP. By “everything” I mean any toasts etc. I know you aren’t having a DJ, but if you are doing any sort of first dance I would actually go right into your reception after you are done taking pictures and getting into your dances.
We did have a DJ (any reason you aren’t? is your wedding very small? budget? I would still consider having some music in the background), and we did our introductions, first dance, father/daughter and mother/son immediately. Our toasts from Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man were very short (less than a paragraph) and we did stations style food to keep things moving.
The part that makes a wedding (to me) awful is the sitting around and waiting, whether that be for service, first dances, speeches etc. To have a simple reception, streamline these parts as much as possible.
Guests just wanna eat, drink and be merry.
Post # 6
Well, thank you for sharing that opinion. Never really thought of that.
Irony is that I did it because I know how “cruel” the bouquet toss is for single women in their 30s and older. Felt humiliated being called up for the bouquet toss when I was that age and even disliked it when I was younger.
Post # 7
Sorry, that’s another reason not to do bouquet toss.
Post # 8
I purchased our flowers at the grocery store and the moms and I put them together into centerpieces the day before the wedding (clusters of jars tied with raffia). Cheap, relatively easy, good bonding time. We had an iTunes playlist and speakers on the patio of our reception site (a small lodge we’d rented). People who wanted to dance did, for a half hour or so. Mostly it was all hanging out and chatting – the wedding itself was pretty small. We did make-your-own strawberry shortcakes instead of having a big fancy cake. No first dances, no toasts, no tosses of any kind. I did have a pile of games available (weather was bad) but no one bothered with them that night.
Also, that was just our dessert reception. We had a pre-ceremony bbq reception due to the timing of our events. That was also relaxed, my husband cooked the meat, I prepped the other food – both with some friends to help out. Once ready, we all just hung out and ate.
There is just no need for all the fuss and bother of a traditional reception. It’s more relaxing not to mess with that stuff, and the guests still got the parts that tend to matter, like tasty food!
Post # 9
Also wanted to add that the comment that doing the lineup or dance and handing the bouquet to longest married is cruel sounds silly to me. There is a significant difference between having all the single ladies stand up to point out their singleness and having the married’s recongized for the great accomplishment of staying happily (I hope) married for such an extensive amount of time. Frankly it seems bitter to feel that it is an insulting dig against those who are divorced or still single, or widowed, for that matter. I hope we all want to strive toward a long and successful marriage and it’s beautiful to honor those who have achieved that. Saying it’s cruel is taking it too personally (aside: I don’t care about the standard bouquet toss either – I always wanted the pretty flowers!)
Post # 10
back to the OP – how many people are you thinking? if you still want like 200 ppl its a little more difficult but I think its possible to have a less “reception” like atmostphere but for a smaller crowd like <50 you could do more of a restaurant thing and while you could have speeches and such it wouldn’t generally lend to dancing and IMO just having the normal meal is enough… you would probably spread out the meal a bit to take up more time
Post # 11
What’s simple to you? My idea of a simple was considered formal to others. A family member who came showed up in black jeans because my parents told him it’d be simple and casual. When he arrived he felt really out of place (I found that out the next day when I commented on how little I saw him). We had a casual dinner that lasted over an hour and a half where people could eat when they wanted to but weren’t obligated to sit down in assigned seats for a specific time. There was a cocktail/social area and tables so people could just grab food when they wanted. We also left lots of periods for people to chat and socialize and meet others. I really wanted to do nametags to encourage chatter but ran out of time. You should share some of your ideas so you can see if other bees have done them or not and whether they worked out.
Post # 12
I am in the same boat as you! I am desperately trying to make my reception simple and trying to avoid traditions I do not really think are important to us.
I am not sure if this will help but this is the plan so far! I am also seeking advice though!! The plan for us is ceremony outside of this restaurant at around 12:00 with pictures before and then pictures after with families. Then we go inside and the reception is a family style lunch. There is really no room for dancing and I think that it would be weird if we just did a first dance and then no one else danced. We will come inside by ourselves without an announcement and then just thank everyone for coming and do a prayer before the food comes out. Then we will eat and people will be eating and mingling. We will not have any toasts because we are not doing a bridal party. We are even thinking about not having a cake because the food at the restaurant includes a dessert and the cake is usually uneaten.. We are on a pretty tight budget and we want to avoid thing that are just for show but everytime I think about the wedding I keep thinking that people will be bored without a dj and without all the traditions! What do you ladies think? It is basically just a wedding ceremony and then a quick lunch with family and friends! I know I won’t miss the traditions but I can’t stop thinking about what others will think, which I know doesn’t matter. Easier said than done!
Post # 13
Everyone’s responses + input is helpful. It’s great to hear about the variety of things people have done. I’m gonna keep brainstorming ideas and think about what feels right. I do think the center of the reception will be about the gathering of family/friends and bonding over a meal together. Thank you everyone for your advice and feedback!
I love this idea! It’s half destination wedding, 1/2 local wedding so we do want the theme of the wedding to be family-orientated and just be about everyone being together, enjoying the evening.
I hear you! Honestly, it’s just my opinion but some of my fave weddings attended were the ones where people simply enjoyed being together (and fed). Your ideas sound great! I’m doing my best to be mindful of my own ideas b/c at times I feel tempted to do the whole DJ/dance thing too…those are advertised so heavily I guess we can’t help but be influenced by that.
Post # 14
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
We hosted a dinner party wedding reception. No DJ, no cake cutting, no garter toss, no dancing. But I wouldn’t call it “simple” either. It required a lot of thought and coordination to make sure that everything flowed in the absence of all of the traditional wedding conventions. We had a ceremony, followed immediately by cocktail hour (which we attended the entire time). We had a seated 4 course dinner with wine and beer pairings. Everyone sat at one long table. There was a toast to open the meal, and then one in between each course. We ended the night with a cigar and scotch bar. We rented the B&B for 24 hours, so everyone was able to stay as late as they wanted to. And we made sure that everyone had accomodations at a hotel a small town block away, so that noone was drinking and driving. Mr. LK put tons of thought into the iPod playlist for each portion of the evening. Alternative doesn’t always mean simple. In fact, not following the traditional wedding script can make things more challenging because there’s no guide to refer to when you are blazing your own path. But it’s totally worth it, if that’s your thing. 🙂