Reception Ideas

Idea's for a dance free reception?

My fiancé and I have decided to have a dance free reception since were not big dancers and majority of the guests will be older. As well we are having a Sunday wedding to be finished no later then 11 pm. We are having our wedding in the beginning of December so lawn games are out of the picture. Other then games and cards with questions for guests to answer, does anyone have any ideas? The more creative the better. :) Thank You!!

Re: Idea's for a dance free reception?

  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA
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    You could do kareoke maybe. My first thought was lawn games, but yea, that won't work for Dec. You could have pub games like darts or play some lawn games indoors though.

    You could even still have music, even without a dance floor. Many would probably still enjoy sitting and talking and listening to good music.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
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    emz101 said:
    My fiancé and I have decided to have a dance free reception since were not big dancers and majority of the guests will be older. As well we are having a Sunday wedding to be finished no later then 11 pm. We are having our wedding in the beginning of December so lawn games are out of the picture. Other then games and cards with questions for guests to answer, does anyone have any ideas? The more creative the better. :) Thank You!!
    This is a silly reason to not have dancing.  I know plenty of older people that love dancing!  

    That said, it's your choice to not have dancing.  But please don't replace it with other games.  Your guests are adults and are quite capable of entertaining themselves.  If you provide good food, drinks and background music, your guests will mingle and converse.  Also be prepared.....you may find many people leaving early.  Without dancing, I'd be leaving early.  And if you brought out games, I'd be out of there immediately after dinner.
    PrettyGirlLostdoeydoatlastmrsgnancieraven
  • Jen4948 said:
    You could do kareoke maybe. My first thought was lawn games, but yea, that won't work for Dec. You could have pub games like darts or play some lawn games indoors though.

    You could even still have music, even without a dance floor. Many would probably still enjoy sitting and talking and listening to good music.
    Don't do karaoke.

    Just have good music, even if it's not dance music, and plenty of good food and drinks, and let people mingle.  That's all you need.
      I agree, ditch the karaoke idea! I *love* karaoke, but personally think it's tacky when incorporated into weddings. 

     You can definitely have good music playing, & no specific dancing. Which would also be good if anyone 'did' want to dance. I agree with JoanE2012, that stating that the majority of guests are older, is an irrelevant excuse to not have dancing. At our wedding that seemed to be the age majority of consistent dancers *all* night. Regardless, I also agree that music, food, drinks, & mingling would be sufficient. I'm with JoanE2012 again though, & would likely be leaving before 11, and definitely once the games were brought out. Sometimes less is more..!

     *J

     
    doeydo
  • Thanks for the responses.

    The no dancing is my choice, I don't like dancing. I was just curious if anyone had something I hadn't heard of. There aren't going to be any games, but that seems to be the only thing people come up with.

  • JMalettasJMalettas
    500 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
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    edited April 2014
     What's the "type" of wedding you're having? Is there a theme? Is it going to be quite formal, or maybe more casual? It might be easier to come up with more ideas, with a vision of what your reception is going to be like. 

     On top of the food, music, drinks & mingling, you could add in stations with things to do. Photo booths are getting popular. Or having an area with a background hung, where guests can have their picture taken. Sometimes you can add in props etc, for stations like that. Or a videographer stationed somewhere where guests can leave a little "live" note to the bride & groom. Another option could be to hire live entertainment. I've never been to a wedding with live entertainment, but I've seen it done on t.v. You could probably type in a generic Google search of "live entertainment ideas for weddings" & have some luck with finding ideas. 

     Basically, it's trying to fill in the time, so guests aren't bored & wanting to go home. Dinner & toasts are going to take some time. You could add in a slideshow maybe? I've been to 2 weddings that had slideshows after dinner. Pictures of the bride growing up, then pictures of the groom, then pictures of them together at the end, all to music. They were really nice. Then if you had live entertainment, or a few of those stations I mentioned-or something along the lines of that set up, guests can mingle for a bit, and keep entertained. If you're doing bouquet/garter tosses, and cake cutting, those things will also take up time slots. I would think the best thing to do would be to write out a schedule with rough time lines for everything, and make sure there isn't major time gaps. This way, with something always kind of going on, you know there isn't much time for guests to get bored, and decide to leave. :)

     Good luck!

     *J
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    JMalettas said:
     What's the "type" of wedding you're having? Is there a theme? Is it going to be quite formal, or maybe more casual? It might be easier to come up with more ideas, with a vision of what your reception is going to be like. 

     On top of the food, music, drinks & mingling, you could add in stations with things to do. Photo booths are getting popular. Or having an area with a background hung, where guests can have their picture taken. Sometimes you can add in props etc, for stations like that. Or a videographer stationed somewhere where guests can leave a little "live" note to the bride & groom. Another option could be to hire live entertainment. I've never been to a wedding with live entertainment, but I've seen it done on t.v. You could probably type in a generic Google search of "live entertainment ideas for weddings" & have some luck with finding ideas. 

     Basically, it's trying to fill in the time, so guests aren't bored & wanting to go home. Dinner & toasts are going to take some time. You could add in a slideshow maybe? I've been to 2 weddings that had slideshows after dinner. Pictures of the bride growing up, then pictures of the groom, then pictures of them together at the end, all to music. They were really nice. Then if you had live entertainment, or a few of those stations I mentioned-or something along the lines of that set up, guests can mingle for a bit, and keep entertained. If you're doing bouquet/garter tosses, and cake cutting, those things will also take up time slots. I would think the best thing to do would be to write out a schedule with rough time lines for everything, and make sure there isn't major time gaps. This way, with something always kind of going on, you know there isn't much time for guests to get bored, and decide to leave. :)

     Good luck!

     *J
    You don't need any of this.  If you want to have a photobooth, fine, but please, no slideshows as "entertainment."  Most people will feel like a captive audience if you turn out the lights and force everyone to watch them.  Nor do you need "live entertainment."

    As noted above, all you need is good food and drink and nice background music.  You don't need to "fill in the time."  Just accept that your reception might end sooner than one with dancing would.
    doeydo
  • Ya I am thinking just some background music, drinks, dinner and mingling. I really don't like the traditional wedding stuff, I would actually really like the whole thing to be over no later then 10pm. As well we are on a tight budget so I am not going to waste money on silly things like photo booths and live music. I am way more interested on being married to the man I love then having a big over the top wedding.
    nlh85cinalli2b
  • I know it is hard for people to think "outside of the box" but out of respect for a bride who does not want dancing:
    1: Hire a comic hypnotist
    2: Hire a comedian
    3: Hire a more adult (not racy just not little kid) magician
    4: I have attended black tie events that had Cirque Du Soleil type of entertainment that was really wonderful.
    I applaud your interest in doing something different and wish you the best of luck
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio
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    emz101 said:
    Ya I am thinking just some background music, drinks, dinner and mingling. I really don't like the traditional wedding stuff, I would actually really like the whole thing to be over no later then 10pm. As well we are on a tight budget so I am not going to waste money on silly things like photo booths and live music. I am way more interested on being married to the man I love then having a big over the top wedding.
    I went to a Sunday wedding a couple of years ago. The reception was in a restaurant so there was no dancing. There was background music and food and drinks. We mingled and talked and had some drinks. We ended up being there for about 4 hours even without any other wedding stuff. It was one of the most enjoyable weddings we had gone to because it felt more like a nice dinner with friends. We liked that we were able to have conversations and spend time with people. I think you will be perfectly fine without any other stuff.
    image
    doeydo
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
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    I'd skip the activities, especially Karaoke. . . I know a lot of people love it when they are drunk, but the majority of those people can't hold a tune to save their lives and it would be torture to listen to ppl who think they can sing at a wedding reception, lol!

    Just have dinner and cut the cake, then dessert and people will naturally want to head out at that point since there isn't any dancing.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • AuroraRose41AuroraRose41 New York
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    I still personally think that you should have at the very least background music playing to make it more of a nice dinner out as PP have said.  Also, I am a BM in one of my best friend's weddings in 2015, and while they are having dancing, they also have a lot of friends and family members who just won't dance.  So, they are renting casino tables as an alternate activity, and people can pick and choose what they want to do. My BF and I are extremely excited for poker during a wedding (and we love to dance)!  Just another idea to throw out there.


  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
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    emz101 said:

    Thanks for the responses.

    The no dancing is my choice, I don't like dancing. I was just curious if anyone had something I hadn't heard of. There aren't going to be any games, but that seems to be the only thing people come up with.

    I still don't understand depriving your guests of the opportunity to dance because YOU don't like to.

    That said, you can have any type of reception you want as long as it's hosted properly.  The background music, food, drink and mingling you mention in a later post is perfectly fine.  Your mention of wanting it to wrap up by 10 should be no problem with no dancing.  In fact, you'll probably end even earlier.
    PrettyGirlLostTheGrimReaper
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
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    emz101 said:
    Ya I am thinking just some background music, drinks, dinner and mingling. I really don't like the traditional wedding stuff, I would actually really like the whole thing to be over no later then 10pm. As well we are on a tight budget so I am not going to waste money on silly things like photo booths and live music. I am way more interested on being married to the man I love then having a big over the top wedding.
    That will be perfectly fine.  Think dinner party, not dance party.  You don't need games and gimmicks to entertain adults.  Just give them some good food and a place to sit, and they'll be fine eating and chatting.  

    Since it's a Sunday, you could start at 4-5 and wrap up by 8-9 if you wanted to.  Plenty of guests will want to be home early on a Sunday night anyway.  
  • nlh85nlh85
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    I think we could be friends. :)  I'm also doing a Sunday afternoon wedding, and am very much on the fence about dancing.  I'd kind of like to do the first dance and dance with my dad, but I'm not a big dancer beyond that, and neither are most of my friends.  I have a feeling the dance floor would be awkwardly empty for most of the afternoon.

    We've talked about having games out for people in case they want to play games - I personally would love that as a guest, because I've always thought wedding receptions were the most boring things in the world.  I've always hated them and think they feel like they last forever.  Which probably explains why I want mine to be short.  Hit the essentials, then get out of there and get on with my married life.  Regardless, we will have music playing, and there will be food and cake and places for people to sit.  But really, I think everyone will probably be happiest if it's short and sweet.  Most people I know aren't crazy about receptions - you spend most of your time waiting.  You wait for the wedding party, wait for the food, wait for the cake, wait for the toasts, wait for the send off...it might be a cultural thing for the area I'm from, but almost no one I know actually enjoys receptions.

    Sorry.  This has turned very me-centric,

    What is your guest list like?  I know you said it's a lot of older people, but is it older people who know each other?  People who see each other frequently, or a lot of people from out of town?  If it's mostly people who don't know each other well or people who see each other all the time, they might not be as chatty, and the reception might wind down a little earlier.  In that case, you might try to time things for a shorter reception so people aren't waiting around.  If you have a lot of friends and family coming for whom this will be a rare chance to catch up, they'll probably go long into the night regardless of what you plan. :)
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
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    nlh85 said:
    I think we could be friends. :)  I'm also doing a Sunday afternoon wedding, and am very much on the fence about dancing.  I'd kind of like to do the first dance and dance with my dad, but I'm not a big dancer beyond that, and neither are most of my friends.  I have a feeling the dance floor would be awkwardly empty for most of the afternoon.

    We've talked about having games out for people in case they want to play games - I personally would love that as a guest, because I've always thought wedding receptions were the most boring things in the world.  I've always hated them and think they feel like they last forever.  Which probably explains why I want mine to be short.  Hit the essentials, then get out of there and get on with my married life.  Regardless, we will have music playing, and there will be food and cake and places for people to sit.  But really, I think everyone will probably be happiest if it's short and sweet.  Most people I know aren't crazy about receptions - you spend most of your time waiting.  You wait for the wedding party, wait for the food, wait for the cake, wait for the toasts, wait for the send off...it might be a cultural thing for the area I'm from, but almost no one I know actually enjoys receptions.

    Sorry.  This has turned very me-centric,

    What is your guest list like?  I know you said it's a lot of older people, but is it older people who know each other?  People who see each other frequently, or a lot of people from out of town?  If it's mostly people who don't know each other well or people who see each other all the time, they might not be as chatty, and the reception might wind down a little earlier.  In that case, you might try to time things for a shorter reception so people aren't waiting around.  If you have a lot of friends and family coming for whom this will be a rare chance to catch up, they'll probably go long into the night regardless of what you plan. :)
    Really??  The only time I don't enjoy the reception is if it's poorly hosted.  ie Not enough food, charging for drinks, etc.   But other than that, receptions by me are a grand ol' time!  Good food, good music, good drinks, hanging out with friends and/or family, dancing, catching up.  What's not to like?
    mysticl
  • I feel like people on here go to weddings so frequently! I've only been to one, and that was my grandmother's wedding w/ following C&P reception at her church. Thus why I lurk and ask on here.

    @emz101 I think that, in order to answer your question, you just need to think about who's attending. What do they like? Do they get into board and party games (my family sure does!)? Will there be alcohol? If so, that can act as a catalyst to start dancing and spark up conversations between strangers. What is the weather like where you guys are at? If you guys will have snow around that time, I think a snowman building competition by table would be fun (though I'm not sure how that would work with fancy dress and such)! 


  • How about a casino night? If you have funds to hire dealers, etc. Give out tickets instead of money and the winning tickets can be used for drawings for giveaways (gift cards, gift baskets, etc).  
  • scb2471 said:
    How about a casino night? If you have funds to hire dealers, etc. Give out tickets instead of money and the winning tickets can be used for drawings for giveaways (gift cards, gift baskets, etc).  
    @emz101 friends of ours did this for their reception. We are from Vegas so we weren't as thrilled with it as others, but everyone else seemed to love it and have a blast. Every guest got "house money" (fake money) to play with... they had enough table games/dealers set up so every guest could find a seat (if they wanted) during the entire reception. Nobody was ever asked or expected to play real money. They had a slideshow playing behind the bar during the reception (if that's something you want to incorporate) but didn't allocate a certain time for watching it. They had an iPod playing music all night, and everyone seemed to have a great time.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • tortoisebridetortoisebride
    100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
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    edited April 2014
    I'm also not doing dancing, and it's a dry wedding to boot. It's early afternoon though so it's less expected I think. Anyway, I was looking for ideas the other day so I'll share what I found. Note to knotties- I'm not necessarily endorsing any of these... just sharing what I found. Whatever you do, don't make it mandatory.

    Alternative music ideas:
    String or jazz ensemble, bluegrass or celtic style music
    Dance leader to do line or swing dancing or something like that
    Ask musical friends if they want to perform anything, not the whole night or anything just keep a guitar around for people to play with. 
    Have some music and dancing space, but let it circulate that there won't be a "first dance" so people should just go dance if they want to
    Musical chairs (absolutely not)
    karaoke

    Games:
    Bingo
    Newlywed game (other couples should play too)
    Scavenger hunt
    Packs of cards at every table (playing cards, trivia, or Apples to Apples)
    Instead of banging on glasses to get b&g to kiss, have people ask them trivia questions or newlywed game questions
    Short term group games like jenga, boggle, pictionary, charades, cranium, etc.
    puzzles
    hula hoops (absolutely not)
    Pinata
    three-legged races etc. (will not work indoors)

    Other activities:
    Bouquet toss, garter toss, toasts, etc. like usual
    Slideshows (do not force people to watch, just have them going in the background)
    Photobooth with costumes and stuff
    Guestbook alternatives: Draw us a picture/write us a wish for the guest book, Fingerprint guest book, Quaker wedding certificate, guests sign river rocks or a photo mat
    Christmas crackers at tables (<- this is my idea and probably the only one of these I'll actually do apart from a non-traditional guest book maybe)

    Some links:
    http://offbeatbride.com/tag/no-dancing - real weddings without dancing and some suggestion articles
    This is me reading threads on TK
    image
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  • What's wrong with just a dinner social with mingling music?? It isn't a birthday party.
    imageWedding Countdown Ticker
    JoanE2012PrettyGirlLostTheGrimReaper
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
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    I'm also not doing dancing, and it's a dry wedding to boot. It's early afternoon though so it's less expected I think. Anyway, I was looking for ideas the other day so I'll share what I found. Note to knotties- I'm not necessarily endorsing any of these... just sharing what I found. Whatever you do, don't make it mandatory.

    Alternative music ideas:
    String or jazz ensemble, bluegrass or celtic style music
    Dance leader to do line or swing dancing or something like that
    Ask musical friends if they want to perform anything, not the whole night or anything just keep a guitar around for people to play with. 
    Have some music and dancing space, but let it circulate that there won't be a "first dance" so people should just go dance if they want to
    Musical chairs (absolutely not)
    karaoke

    Games:
    Bingo
    Newlywed game (other couples should play too)
    Scavenger hunt
    Packs of cards at every table (playing cards, trivia, or Apples to Apples)
    Instead of banging on glasses to get b&g to kiss, have people ask them trivia questions or newlywed game questions
    Short term group games like jenga, boggle, pictionary, charades, cranium, etc.
    puzzles
    hula hoops (absolutely not)
    Pinata
    three-legged races etc. (will not work indoors)

    Other activities:
    Bouquet toss, garter toss, toasts, etc. like usual
    Slideshows (do not force people to watch, just have them going in the background)
    Photobooth with costumes and stuff
    Guestbook alternatives: Draw us a picture/write us a wish for the guest book, Fingerprint guest book, Quaker wedding certificate, guests sign river rocks or a photo mat
    Christmas crackers at tables (<- this is my idea and probably the only one of these I'll actually do apart from a non-traditional guest book maybe)

    Some links:
    http://offbeatbride.com/tag/no-dancing - real weddings without dancing and some suggestion articles
    Three-legged races?  A pinata?  Seriously?  

    I get it, you said you're not endorsing these.....but these things don't even come close to belonging at a wedding.

    Just provide good food, drink and some background music and let everyone entertain themselves.  
    PrettyGirlLost
  • Thanks for the responses. I am definitely happy with just dinner drinks and socializing with background music. The guests we are inviting are not the get drunk and party all night types, so I think I will be good.

    @thesummersky I agree it seems like everyone has gone to a million weddings I have only been to a couple so I guess I am basing all my choices on the bridal shows I watch.

    In the end its my wedding and I think the decision to do a Sunday wedding will help keep the 'party vibe' at a minimum. As well my wedding is being held in a fancy restaurant so there really isn't a place to dance, just the main restaurant with tables and chairs and the lounge with lots of squashy comfy couches and booths. In the end it is going to be lots of fun and very me.

  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
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    We're not having a DJ or dancing either so we chose to go with a cocktail-style reception. We didn't want everyone to eat dinner and then just think, "ummm, okay now what?" so I thought the heavy appetizers all night would help that. After the ceremony, we'll just have drinks and lots of food for the rest of the night. No seating chart, just lots and lots of seating so people can sit wherever they want and talk to whoever they want to.
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • We are doing something similar. There will be about 150-175 at the wedding and our reception is in the hall across the street. We are not having a DJ either but bringing a speaker that hooks to our playlist on our phone w/ bluetooth. We are having a rustic style theme with the mason jars, burlap, chalkboards, etc. I found a picture on pinterest where they took two clothes lines and hung up pics of the couple with clothes pins and it looked really cute so I'm doing that as well instead of a slideshow. We are having finger sandwiches, pasta/potato salad, chips, veggies/dip and wedding cake. I'm serving water, tea and coffee only. I haven't decided yet but I think we are going to have a first dance, a toast from the maid of honor/best man and we will thank everyone for coming and those who helped and that will be it. I plan on the reception lasting no more than 2 hours then we are having our limo pick us up and take us to the airport to go on our honeymoon! It's what YOU and your soon to be hubby want...and my goal is to make it more about the wedding than the party! That's why we are there in the first place! :)
  • Just b/c you don't like to dance isn't really a reason to not have it. Ultimately I am sure your wedding will be wonderful but you can still have dancing as an option for your guests and you don't necessarily have to participate in it.

    Also, you'd be surprised about  the old people. A lot of them are dancing machines!

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  • edited May 2014
    I'm also not doing dancing, and it's a dry wedding to boot. It's early afternoon though so it's less expected I think. Anyway, I was looking for ideas the other day so I'll share what I found. Note to knotties- I'm not necessarily endorsing any of these... just sharing what I found. Whatever you do, don't make it mandatory.

    Alternative music ideas:
    String or jazz ensemble, bluegrass or celtic style music
    Dance leader to do line or swing dancing or something like that
    Ask musical friends if they want to perform anything, not the whole night or anything just keep a guitar around for people to play with. 
    Have some music and dancing space, but let it circulate that there won't be a "first dance" so people should just go dance if they want to
    Musical chairs (absolutely not)
    karaoke

    Games:
    Bingo
    Newlywed game (other couples should play too)
    Scavenger hunt
    Packs of cards at every table (playing cards, trivia, or Apples to Apples)
    Instead of banging on glasses to get b&g to kiss, have people ask them trivia questions or newlywed game questions
    Short term group games like jenga, boggle, pictionary, charades, cranium, etc.
    puzzles
    hula hoops (absolutely not)
    Pinata
    three-legged races etc. (will not work indoors)

    Other activities:
    Bouquet toss, garter toss, toasts, etc. like usual
    Slideshows (do not force people to watch, just have them going in the background)
    Photobooth with costumes and stuff
    Guestbook alternatives: Draw us a picture/write us a wish for the guest book, Fingerprint guest book, Quaker wedding certificate, guests sign river rocks or a photo mat
    Christmas crackers at tables (<- this is my idea and probably the only one of these I'll actually do apart from a non-traditional guest book maybe)

    Some links:
    http://offbeatbride.com/tag/no-dancing - real weddings without dancing and some suggestion articles
    I don't think Christmas crackers are a very good idea b/c not everyone celebrates it. I'm jewish and if I was served a "Christmas cookie" at a wedding I would def raise an eyebrow and probably be a little PO'd.
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