Reception Ideas

Home Reception after Destination Wedding

Hello Everyone,
I'm at a loss for what to do with a home reception. I am getting married in California with 25 guests at a gorgeous remote Inn on the ocean. We are having a brunch reception with lawn games, ipod hooked up to the Inn's speakers, plus a BBQ at night around the fire.

We were not planning on a home reception, but my fiance's mother wants to throw us a reception back home. I didn't want to say no because, well, she's my future mother-in-law and it would make her happy. I'm regretting that decision but it's too late and I don't want to deal with the drama it would create. I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what kind of reception to have. We do not want the traditional reception with a DJ and dancing and buffet style dinner. That's why we wanted a destination wedding, we're both quiet, more introverted, which is why we didn't want the traditional wedding. She does understand this and will throw the reception we want.

The issue is more timing, we are getting married in October, so she wants to throw a home reception in November, by the way, I live in Buffalo, NY. I would have done an outdoor picnic back home, but there is the issue of freezing temperatures and possible snow. With the way our winters have been going it could be 60 or 70 in November, but it's also possible to have 2 feet of snow or most likely cold drizzly frozen rain.

Does anyone have any ideas on what we can possibly do? I originally wanted some kind of casual party at an old lounge/bar with a few pool tables and maybe some other bar games. Unfortunately Buffalo is very limited on unique venues. I didn't want to do just a sit down dinner, I want people to have something to do.

Any ideas for a unique, indoor reception would help. Even if I get a regular venue but have something set up besides a dance floor, I just don't know what I could set up. Maybe just a brunch reception back home, again I don't know what to do for entertainment indoors that doesn't include a DJ and dancing.

Re: Home Reception after Destination Wedding

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I think as long as you have food and drinks, you don't need specialized entertainment. Think of any house party you've been to. People will mingle and talk and eat. I do think a brunch sounds fun. 

    eileenrobInLoveInQueenssparklepants41SP29
  • NowIAmSypNowIAmSyp East Hanover, NJ
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited August 15
    I think as long as you have food and drinks, you don't need specialized entertainment. Think of any house party you've been to. People will mingle and talk and eat. I do think a brunch sounds fun. 
    I LOVE brunch!

    OP, I would be totally psyched to go to a chill, relaxed, congratulations brunch for you ( just make sure there are plenty of mimosas! :) )
  • Another poster just planned to do their rehearsal dinner at a bowling alley. That would definitely fit the bill as casual, give people something to do and wouldn't make you guys the centre of attention.
    SP29LadyCatherineDB
  • Hello Everyone,
    I'm at a loss for what to do with a home reception. I am getting married in California with 25 guests at a gorgeous remote Inn on the ocean. We are having a brunch reception with lawn games, ipod hooked up to the Inn's speakers, plus a BBQ at night around the fire.

    We were not planning on a home reception, but my fiance's mother wants to throw us a reception back home. I didn't want to say no because, well, she's my future mother-in-law and it would make her happy. I'm regretting that decision but it's too late and I don't want to deal with the drama it would create. I'm having a hard time trying to figure out what kind of reception to have. We do not want the traditional reception with a DJ and dancing and buffet style dinner. That's why we wanted a destination wedding, we're both quiet, more introverted, which is why we didn't want the traditional wedding. She does understand this and will throw the reception we want.

    The issue is more timing, we are getting married in October, so she wants to throw a home reception in November, by the way, I live in Buffalo, NY. I would have done an outdoor picnic back home, but there is the issue of freezing temperatures and possible snow. With the way our winters have been going it could be 60 or 70 in November, but it's also possible to have 2 feet of snow or most likely cold drizzly frozen rain.

    Does anyone have any ideas on what we can possibly do? I originally wanted some kind of casual party at an old lounge/bar with a few pool tables and maybe some other bar games. Unfortunately Buffalo is very limited on unique venues. I didn't want to do just a sit down dinner, I want people to have something to do.

    Any ideas for a unique, indoor reception would help. Even if I get a regular venue but have something set up besides a dance floor, I just don't know what I could set up. Maybe just a brunch reception back home, again I don't know what to do for entertainment indoors that doesn't include a DJ and dancing.
    The word "unique" means that no one has ever used it before.  This is not important.

    Your MIL is planning a party for you.  It is not your wedding reception.  It is not any part of your wedding.  You will not be a bride at this event.

    Since your MIL is hosting this party to celebrate your recent marriage, it is up to her to plan it, not you.   You will be the guest of honor.  You do not get to plan this party, though you may have some input.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • My sister had a party at a local brewery after her DW. We didn't go, because it was out of state and I went to the DW but my parents said it was a great time! One of their friends made the food (I don't suggest this; hire a caterer). If you wanted things to do, you could bring in games or something. 

    Brunch is also a great idea! Or a bowling alley. We were going to do something in my hometown at the local bowling alley. They usually have party rooms, and a lot of them provide their own food. Your MIL could pre-pay for a few games for everyone as well. 
    SP29
  • This is not a reception, because it's not tied to the event and with the same attendees as the event. Please don't call it a reception, and don't let your FMIL call it a reception. Call it a party. A celebration of marriage party, or a party to celebrate the newlyweds, or whatever you want. But it's not a reception.

    Brunch, bowling, a pool hall-type-venue of some kind, and a brewery are all good options for something more casual. You could also do an "indoor barbecue" theme at a hall of some kind, and get it catered with good BBQ food, or even rent out a BBQ restaurant. Maybe set up some "lawn games" in the hall if it's big enough. 
    InLoveInQueensILoveBeachMusicSP29
  • This is not a reception, because it's not tied to the event and with the same attendees as the event. Please don't call it a reception, and don't let your FMIL call it a reception. Call it a party. A celebration of marriage party, or a party to celebrate the newlyweds, or whatever you want. But it's not a reception.

    Brunch, bowling, a pool hall-type-venue of some kind, and a brewery are all good options for something more casual. You could also do an "indoor barbecue" theme at a hall of some kind, and get it catered with good BBQ food, or even rent out a BBQ restaurant. Maybe set up some "lawn games" in the hall if it's big enough. 
  • My inlaws did an open house after her daughter's intimate wedding. It was very low-key. Appetizers and drinks. Set a four-hour window and people came and went as they wanted. Just mingling. I don't think there was even cake. 
    SP29
  • This isn't a "reception". That word has meaning related to "receiving" guests immediately after they witness the wedding ceremony. This isn't that. It's just a party. You won't be a bride and groom. There should not be any gifts - no registry or anything. You'll be newlyweds attending a party with a handful of family and friends. 

    That said, a casual brunch at someone's house would be appropriate (think shower sized party). If the group is too large, I would look into private rooms at restaurants. Tell your MIL you just want to have a low-key meal with people and maybe have some photos of the wedding rolling on a laptop. 
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    InLoveInQueens
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    You are only entitled to a "reception" if you throw it yourself for whatever guests attend your actual wedding ceremony, immediately after the ceremony.

    Since you aren't doing that, what your MIL wants to do is not a "reception" and should not be called that. The appropriate term is "party" or "celebration."

    A casual get-together, such as a brunch or pizza or sandwiches would be appropriate. You can also have one at a restaurant. But what kind of party is up to your MIL as hostess. If you and your FI don't want to do this, then your FI needs to firmly decline it. If he's not going to do that, then you'll need to suck it up and let your MIL decide what kind of party she's going to throw.
    InLoveInQueens
  • Brunch with live music sounds lovely to me. 
  • This isn't a "reception". That word has meaning related to "receiving" guests immediately after they witness the wedding ceremony. This isn't that. It's just a party. You won't be a bride and groom. There should not be any gifts - no registry or anything. You'll be newlyweds attending a party with a handful of family and friends. 

    That said, a casual brunch at someone's house would be appropriate (think shower sized party). If the group is too large, I would look into private rooms at restaurants. Tell your MIL you just want to have a low-key meal with people and maybe have some photos of the wedding rolling on a laptop. 
    Just because it's not a reception doesn't mean it can't be fancy. If your FMIL wants to throw a black-tie affair with 500 guests in your honor that is just as appropriate as a casual brunch at someone's house with 20 guests...but both are parties and not receptions. People can throw parties, even super fancy parties, for any reason! Celebrating a loved one is a perfectly good reason (and no reason at all is also a perfectly good reason).

    But no matter how fancy: it's a party/celebration and not a reception, you are not a bride because you're already married, and no gifts are expected. 
    SP29
  • MandyMost said:
    This isn't a "reception". That word has meaning related to "receiving" guests immediately after they witness the wedding ceremony. This isn't that. It's just a party. You won't be a bride and groom. There should not be any gifts - no registry or anything. You'll be newlyweds attending a party with a handful of family and friends. 

    That said, a casual brunch at someone's house would be appropriate (think shower sized party). If the group is too large, I would look into private rooms at restaurants. Tell your MIL you just want to have a low-key meal with people and maybe have some photos of the wedding rolling on a laptop. 
    Just because it's not a reception doesn't mean it can't be fancy. If your FMIL wants to throw a black-tie affair with 500 guests in your honor that is just as appropriate as a casual brunch at someone's house with 20 guests...but both are parties and not receptions. People can throw parties, even super fancy parties, for any reason! Celebrating a loved one is a perfectly good reason (and no reason at all is also a perfectly good reason).

    But no matter how fancy: it's a party/celebration and not a reception, you are not a bride because you're already married, and no gifts are expected. 
    Except she said they don't want that...so this is directly responding to what OP said her preferences are. 
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  • Buffalo has so many unique venues, you're clearly not paying attention! New breweries/distilleries (Pearl st., Community Beer Works, Resurgence, Thin Man, Big Ditch, Flying Bison, Lockouse, 1812), so many great hotels and renovated spaces (Lafayette, Statler, Hotel Henry, Larkinville) and venues like the Foundry, the Mansion in Delaware, Pearl Street/The Webb; but also more casual/non-traditional like 716 (either the restaurant or some the banquet rooms), Buffalo historical society, all the museums and manuscript libraries do events, plus more casual places like bowling alleys, VFWs; these are all over Western New York. 

    Buffalo is booming right now, there are so many places to hold any size and/or type of event!
    cupcait927SP29
  • Thanks everyone, you're all right, it's a party where I'm just a guest of honor, not a reception. I told her I'd prefer more of a casual party so she has changed her wording from reception to party.  She does want me to wear my dress, I told her that's fine since I'll probably never wear it again.

    Charlotte989875, I have looked at some of those locations. The issue I was having is they are large rooms without anything to do, so I was stuck trying to decide how to entertain people without a DJ. I think I might look at a bar/restaurant that serves brunch on Sundays but doesn't open until 4 on Saturdays. That way it stays casual and we would have the run of the whole place without being put in a backroom or worrying about other people crashing our party. I was thinking maybe Gypsy Parlor or Duke's Grove bar. Both are a little divey but they are fun atmospheres and they have bar games like pool or darts. I'll just have to see if they are up for making some money when they are usually closed.
  • I don't think you need to worry a ton about entertaining people...think of when you have a dinner party or something at your house. Most people are happy to mingle & chat for a few hours. My BIL & SIL had a dinner after they got back from their DW that started around 7 or so & went until 10:30 or 11. There were light snacks set up when we got there & the bar was open. Family was happy to catch up with relatives they hadn't seen in a while. The B & G welcomed everyone, showed some pictures from their wedding (I know this is slightly un-etiquette but it was gorg and we all wanted to see!), then we ate & socialized for a couple hours. If your venue already has something like pool or darts that's cool, but I don't think you need to worry about people being bored. Keep the evening flowing at a good pace (no huge gaps or time lags) and you'll be good!

    (Also, it's usually frowned upon to wear your wedding dress to anything but the actual wedding. I haven't tremendously side-eyed it before, but it's kind of an AW-y thing.)
    InLoveInQueenscharlotte989875sparklepants41
  • Thanks everyone, you're all right, it's a party where I'm just a guest of honor, not a reception. I told her I'd prefer more of a casual party so she has changed her wording from reception to party.  She does want me to wear my dress, I told her that's fine since I'll probably never wear it again.

    Charlotte989875, I have looked at some of those locations. The issue I was having is they are large rooms without anything to do, so I was stuck trying to decide how to entertain people without a DJ. I think I might look at a bar/restaurant that serves brunch on Sundays but doesn't open until 4 on Saturdays. That way it stays casual and we would have the run of the whole place without being put in a backroom or worrying about other people crashing our party. I was thinking maybe Gypsy Parlor or Duke's Grove bar. Both are a little divey but they are fun atmospheres and they have bar games like pool or darts. I'll just have to see if they are up for making some money when they are usually closed.
    Those are both super fun. My sisters rehearsal dinner was actually at Nietzsche's on Allen and they did a great job. I agree with @ahoywedding that you don't really need to worry about entertaining people, if food and drinks are good people will be happy. 

    One word of caution though, most places will likely not be keen to open up during hours they're normally closed to host a party (unless you're willing to fork over a bunch of money); that's extra front of house staff, back of house staff, and management they have to pay extra in addition to whatever utilities you're using they otherwise wouldn't be paying. Be prepared for a significant upcharge to cover all those costs (which if you hosted an event in a party room/regular space is already built into their expenses). 
    sparklepants41
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