Was Your Non-traditional "Dinner Reception" Boring?

posted 2 months ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
960 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Honestly it does seem weird to me to have a destination wedding and only have a dinner. Unless you’re planning things for them on other days?

 I’ve never been to an event with just dinner that lasted as long as a dinner and dancing event.

Post # 3
Member
791 posts
Busy bee

ReeLuvsRo :  I think it will be fine, especially if most everyone knows each other. Your guests will be fine. Thought if i were in your situation i would probably plan an after party, it could be really casual like lets all go to a bar afterwards or you could rent a place out depending on your budget – i just know that for my family they would want to go out and party. 

Post # 4
Member
6688 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2050

ReeLuvsRo :  I think if you’re planning for maybe 3 hours or so of comraderie, it will be perfect. If you’re hoping for a 6-hour bash, that might be harder with fewer than 20 people and no dancing etc. If you are hoping for a longer party, is there a beach you could move to for a bonfire or something after the restaurant? Or a pool party back at the hotel?

Post # 5
Member
3770 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

My first marriage was a private ceremony in the park with zero witnesses, CA has a confidential marriage option, later we took immediate family and friends out for a casual dinner at Olive Garden. Yep, Olive Garden. lol We had a frickin blast! No music, toasts, private room or reservation just 15 people showing up to celebrate. Maybe it was bc everyone knew each other plus these are all fun folks in general. We stayed at least three hours. If you think people might get bored I like the bar suggestion above for later but it depends on your crowd. With mine good company and food is enough. Although since they are traveling all the way to Puerto Rico I hope you have something else in mind for the trip besides dinner. 🤔

Post # 7
Member
6688 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2050

ReeLuvsRo :  That seems too long to me. How many courses are we talking and what’s the setup? Like one big table, 3 tables for 6, 5 for 4? Is there an interesting view, or a patio people could walk out to to stretch their legs and chat with people who aren’t sitting right next to them?

Post # 8
Member
1736 posts
Bumble bee

5 hour reception that’s basically just dinner?  When was the last time you ate dinner for five hours?  Even a multi-course tasting dinner at the finest of restaurants doesn’t take five hours. I’ve done an 8 course menu with wine pairings and it was about three hours.  I just attended a baby shower that lasted about 2.5 hours and that last 45 minutes was brutal.  Once the eating was done we chatted awhile longer, but everyone was probably ready at the two hour mark.  And most receptions with full on dance parties and all the trappings are 5-6 hours total. 

What is the cocktail hour for?  Most cocktail hours are to keep people amused while the couple and wedding party go off and take photos.  With this small of a wedding, a full hour shouldn’t be necessary.  I’d probably be done with all my chit-chatting by the end of cocktail hour.  If you really are tied to the everyone get settled, have a cocktail and hors d’oeurves, 20-30 minutes should be more than sufficient with that small of a group.  And I would cut an hour off the dinner portion minimum, probably an hour and a half.  Though, if the amount of time you have booked is not price-dependent – then keep the length you have, but be fully prepared for the whole thing to end after abut 3 – 3.5 hours maximum including cocktail “hour” and shorten cocktail hour to about a 20-30 minutes regardless.

As for whether people will be bored – adults know how to amuse themselves.  Having a delightful dinner with good company and conversation is entertainment enough.  Not 5 hours worth though.

 

 

Post # 9
Member
3770 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

5 hours is too long even with a cocktail hour. Why is the cocktail hour necessary? In your case I think 3 hours is more than sufficient.

Post # 10
Member
299 posts
Helper bee

I think it depends on the crowd. With my family and my friends, we could definitely sit around talking and drinking for 5 hours and not be bored. My family are all big talkers, and my friends are big talkers when there’s alcohol involved lol. But that’s not all people, so you just have to know your crowd. 

I’d recommend some seating besides the dinner tables. Perhaps some seating in groups so people can easily move around to different groups and talk. You don’t want people just staying in one seat the entire time and not mingling.

Also perhaps some sort of activity, for example at a couple bars in my city they have this huge jenga we love to play, as well as cornhole. Sounds kinda silly but they’re very popular, people love to play them when they’re drinking. 

Post # 11
Member
6688 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2050

ReeLuvsRo :  “Majority of my guests are family members, and it will be an older crowd mostly (40+). The younger group will definitely be staying out afterwards. But I really don’t think my aunts and our parents will be interested in an after party.” — I think people suggesting an after party mean after a reasonable-length dinner. So, if you’re planning 5 hours, maybe a half hour of cocktails, 2.5 hours for dinner, then 2 hours at the bar/beach/pool etc. Or 3 hrs for dinner and 1.5 out after. If the whippersnappers want to keep partying they can, and the elderly 40-year olds can turn in. 

Post # 14
Member
732 posts
Busy bee

So I had 16 guests on Thursday for dinner. We didn’t have cake cutting and only very short speeches. We mingled during hors d’oeuvres and sat for dinner. We were at the restaurant from 6-9. Only thing is once dinner starts people only can talk to who they are next to, so we felt a bit like we were ignoring the guests farthest from us. Everyone had a good time, and those who wanted to went out after. 🙂

Post # 15
Member
67 posts
Worker bee

Oh no! 5 hours is way too long. Can you shorten dinner and maybe finish the party somewhere else? You could pay a van/limo service to transport everyone to a nightclub or something else that your guests may be into. 

Leave a comment


Get our weekly roundup of the best of Weddingbee.
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.

Find Amazing Vendors