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Reception Ideas

Dinner, no DJ, then an After Party, Thoughts??

I was hoping for some honest thoughts about my wedding planning so far... since friends tend to sugar coat my questions with: "It's your wedding, do whatever you want." We are planning an intimate January wedding ceremony and dinner for about 60 people at a brazillian bbq location in chicago that opens at 4 pm. The guests are about half late 20's and half older (50+ ) family members. With a small guest list, and low volume options at a small venue, we are forgoing the traditional "dance party" feel, and are focusing on dinner as the main attraction. The plan is to have an 8 pm after party for the guests that love to dance and party, dancing our first dance at that venue, in the suburbs (our friends and family can't afford chicago accomodation costs, we are paying for transportation to and from both locations since it's a 45-60 min drive from Chicago to the Burbs.) These are my questions: Is it tacky to expect the guests to pay for their own drinks at the after party portion of the evening? Is there too much traveling involved? Would you like to attend this kind of event? BTW- this is my second marriage, my fiance's first

Re: Dinner, no DJ, then an After Party, Thoughts??

  • I love weddings, so yes I would attend this event? I will go if my friends had it in their backyard (which I recently went to one of these).I am a bride that thinks guest should not have to pay.I say if you can financially do it include drinks during dinner and maybe first 1hr or 2 at the after party but do not pay for drinks all night long.For the young guest I do not think its too far. If your guest are their for you then they will go.For me a wedding is like hosting a party at home.HTH... GL!
  • If you are covering transportation, the amount of travel is fine. I agree w/PP about getting some kind of party bus. You'll be able to serve some drinks on the bus. If you do that, you can drive people around for 2 hours and they won't mind. It is rude to expect guests to cover their own food or drinks anywhere. The only way to get around this with an afterparty is to have a "spur of the moment" thing that you spread by word of mouth, eg: "we're going to stop by X after the reception, come by if you want." For part of the reception that you are inviting guests to, you need to invite them. I would probably find it a little strange, but I would probably attend anyway. I would be confused about why you didn't just host the whole thing at the second location. Also, if you are making the second part a part of the reception please invite everyone to both portions and let them decide if they aren't into the dance section.
  • Thanks for the ideas!!!.... I think the party bus is the way to go.... we have just been having trouble finding one big enough, so we may have to use 2. We would love one location, but can't do the "dancing party" at the restaurant, and the second place is a dive bar where we met. We know the owner, and she agreed to book a 50's style band for that night for us to dance, but a this kind of bar is WAY too relaxed for the whole event, and is more our speed for the party. We aren't into the club scene of Chicago on a Saturday night. Other than us having a first dance, the after party is not really a "planned out" affair in reception tradition. Is this a mistake? We are really splurging on the dinner (drinks and dessert all included) since we have a small guest list. I am worried that trying to have it all in one place with only 60 people, where only 20 or so people will dance a little, that we would get lost in a large venue and loose the intimate, family, feel. Paying for an after party at a bar that is open to others: Any ideas how to ensure no one outside of the wedding party tacks onto our bill?? I was thinking wrist bands so the bartenders can differentiate... there are no isolated rooms.... dive bar.
  • I agree that a party bus is a great idea but if you don't want to/not able to pay for drinks during the after party, it really shouldn't be included as part of the wedding celebration. If you do want to pay for drinks at the after party then can't your guests just say they are on your tab? Maybe a stamp on the hand?
  • I would keep the after party more informal.  Make the actual reception be the restaurant affair and tell everyone by word of mouth that you're going to the dive bar to see a live band afterwards and anyone would like to join or meet you there is welcome to come.  That way you are including everyone, but by keeping it more informal like that, you can expect people to pay for their own drinks.  I wouldn't plan any special events for the after party though, like special dances, so that those who choose not to go don't feel like they're missing out or feel obligated to come so they don't miss something important.
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  • I think you need to host the whole reception and just because you are cutting your reception in two parts does not mean you do not have to host both parts. Pay for teh whole evening or entirely forgo the dance party event or plan an event you can afford in the suburbs
  • Thanks for all the advice! We can afford the city for the whole event, but dont want our guest to pay $250 per night for a hotel room- that's why we decided to spend $$$$ on limos for 60 to take them to the suburbs. We thought having the band at the place we met would be romantic... but I think you are all right.... Maybe since its so small, and in January, we can rent the whole place for the night... wouldnt hurt to ask! THANKS for all your help! Seems my friends are really sweet that they would do "whatever i want" but I really want them to enjoy the day... after all... I think the wedding is about the bride and groom and the party is about the guests!!
  • I just went through a similar experience.  My hubby and I did destination to miami. but we only had 21 people.  we did a small wedding then took everyone to a really awesome restaraunt.  we paid for dinner and kept our bar tab open til after dinner.  we went to each guest and did last call for everyone's drinks and then closed our tab.  everyone that wanted to stay as the restaraunt turned into a club didn't expect us to pay for there drinks, but we did anyway.  i think you just need to make sure everyone is aware of your plans and then let the party handle itself.  if you can end up paying for something else, then it's just another nice gesture.  traditional brides may think differently, but as a non-traditional bride....i've gotta say my way turned out amazing, and as long as you do what you can afford and it makes you happy, then your day will be amazing too.
  • Guests never pay for anything themselves beyond transportation/accommodation costs. Hence the word "guest". A proper host/ess never offers anything they can't afford to pay for themselves, and they don't have the rest available if the "guest" pays. You don't charge guests to drink in your home and a wedding is just a large party that you can't fit in your house but you're still hosting it, so there is no difference between the two, despite what many argue otherwise. If that means you have to cut the guest list or something else, then that's what you do. People don't like to drive more than necessary. When you mix in the idea that people will be drinking, that makes it even worse, unless every single person is staying at the after-party venue or close enough they don't have to drive anywhere. As far as travel time, people who want to be there will find a way. The distance to the ceremony is not what matters, even though some people disagree. It is the distance between the ceremony and reception that they get upset over. Which is why alot of people choose to have the ceremony and reception at the same place, to avoid that. Folks on the Knot won't drive more than 30 mins between destinations, however your family and friends who want to be there may not have any problem in the least with a 40-60 min drive. But if you are taking care of that for them, then there's no problem.
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