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HELP- Under 50 guests!!! What sort of reception...?

   We are not inviting distant friends/family, cousins or anyone we don't speak to on the regular. We wanted small and we wouldn't change the guest list at all..

  My dilemma is I keep going back and forth between wanting to plan something big or just  doing something at a restaurant. I would be happy with either but I just can't imagine getting a D.j, flowers, reception hall, cake and doing the whole 9 yards for only 50 guests!

   We don't want the whole 9 yards! But what is a happy median? What can we do that is still a little formal and traditional but still simple enough to fit the whole close, quaint, personal feel of having only 50 guests?

  Boat? Backyard? I want to have some personality, I want turqoise and pink, I want to give out favors and feel as though we've had a wedding, I just don't want ALL the crap that comes along with it.

    I am wearing a white, formal wedding dress and getting my hair done. Fiance is wearing his dress blues and we plan to exchange vows somewhere near the water in Annapolis for the quick,simple ceremony.

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Re: HELP- Under 50 guests!!! What sort of reception...?

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    It's ultimately just a party.  So if you don't want all the wedding hoopla, approach it in exactly the same manner as you would any other party for that many guests.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_under-50-guests-sort-of-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:f5d8aabc-b297-459a-869d-a6890bf298bdPost:a9ef304a-707c-44dd-8e96-c9f2354389ee">Re: HELP- Under 50 guests!!! What sort of reception...?</a>:
    [QUOTE]It's ultimately just a party.  So if you don't want all the wedding hoopla, approach it in exactly the same manner as you would any other party for that many guests.
    Posted by aerinpegadrak[/QUOTE]


    That would be great advice if I only knew how to throw a party *sigh*

    I understand the beauty of our day is we make the calls. The problem is we don't have a vision really so naturally we don't know where to start. What sort of  location would you suggest if it were your party?
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    I think you should ask on your local board. It's likely there are venues that some of those girls liked but had too many people for.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_reception-ideas_under-50-guests-sort-of-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:5Discussion:f5d8aabc-b297-459a-869d-a6890bf298bdPost:ade6b59e-e9a4-4b52-b597-0fc8e991e37e">Re: HELP- Under 50 guests!!! What sort of reception...?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think you should ask on your local board. It's likely there are venues that some of those girls liked but had too many people for.
    Posted by sister2groom[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for the suggestion, I''ve been searching there too :)

    I'm posting here in hopes of getting vague suggestions and not a specific venue. I'm curious as to what others would think of for a wedding with 50 or less guests. Backyard; tents or no? Private party at restaraunt? Or public maybe? Some sort of room or hall?

    We're not stressed....yet LOL But we are trying to brainstorm!
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    I'm doing a wedding of 50 people.  We're doing it at a local ranch resort.  Outdoor ceremony  and reception in the downstairs ballroom.  Its a small enough size to fit a small dance floor and enough tables or 50 people.  We're skipping the bouquet & garter toss.  Personally, I want some of the customs associated with a larger wedding wedding like dj, cake, etc.  
     
    I did contemplate a private room at a fancy restaurant, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted.  Local bed and breakfasts were a bit too small, and none of our family's yards is big enough for tents and a dance floor.  All are great options for a smaller wedding.
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    We had about 40 people, so we held everything out of a penthouse hotel suite.  We had heavy apps, some booze, and some background music off my laptop.  It was basically a cocktail party.

    The elements of a good party are: good food, good booze, and an atmosphere that encourages socializing (music of some sort, proximity to friends, limited passive activities where the guests just sit and watch).  If you haven't hosted that many parties, surely you've attended a few.  What did you like most about those?  What would you be most likely to do if you were having just a handful of people over to your place?
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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    I don't know about places in your general area, but in my area there are reception halls with different rooms accommodating various numbers of guests. I've visited places that had rooms catered to 50 guests. If I was having 50 guests, I'd rent a small room  in a reception hall with a dance floor and hire the dj, photographer, etc. I'm having 75 people, which isn't too much of a difference.

    If a dance floor is not that important, you can rent a room in a restaurant. From reading your post, renting a room in a restaurant sounds like it would be suitable. You can still have music without the DJ, smaller centerpieces- floral or non-floral, and favors.

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    It sounds as though you want traditional, but not a large space. You can add or subtract from a "formal/traditional wedding" whatever you want.

    Around here there are many parks with pavilions large enough to seat 50 people at tables. If that sounds good to you, check around and look into rental rules in your area. You have to rent everything needed to put on a party, which can get pricey.

    Parks, tour boats, historic villages (we are having ours at one locally), waterside restaurants with great views, museums, theaters, artist lofts or buildings......... there have to be places in the Annapolis area that you can google to locate something. Drive around the area, up and down the streets, within a 10 mile or so range to find places.

    In my search for caterers, I've found the most inexpensive options are from gourmet stores that do catering on a smallish scale. Most of the menus are $10-15 per person, with 3 or 4 courses; they don't make all their money on catering, they already have delicious gourmet food on order for the store, and many have florists and bakers on hand to do more than just catering for you.

    Good luck.
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    Thank you ALL. Sometimes it just helps to hear someone else perspective! :D
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    I'd rent a local hall or rent a tent for a backyard somewhere for that amount of people. You could get a nice sized tent and people wouldn't feel cramped.
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    This (under 50 guests) would have been my ideal reception.  Mine felt a little big with 150 guests, but we couldn't cut the guest list any further.  Anyway, in a perfect world, I would have done a private room in an upscale restaurant, greeted my guests with champagne or a signature cocktail and passed hors d'oeuvres, served multiple courses with wine pairings, and for dessert, cut a small but elegant cake with my new husband.  Jazz trio for background music (or maybe an iPod).  And I still would have gone all out on centerpieces and favors.  A wedding is a wedding after all.  And a smaller guest list just means you can splurge on the things that are really important to you.  We included the traditions that we wanted (we did our first dance and the father-daughter/mother-son dances, were toasted by my father, my husband's best man, and my maid of honor), but aside from that, it was just good food, good booze, and good company.  Here's wishing you the same!
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world... is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." -Lester Banks, Almost Famous
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    If I had a smaller guest list, I would've booked a cool museum or a restaurant with a waterfront view, and gotten the best food/drinks I could've afforded. Maybe with cocktail-style stations all night, and lots of passed hors d'oeuvres.

    A boat reception wouldn't bother me, but some people might get seasick. An outdoor tented reception wouldn't bother me as long as the weather was nice, or if there was a heater/air conditioner if needed. And absolutely have seating and table space for everyone, and some background music (but not too loud).
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    Art museums are popular around here, as are the zoo and aquarium.

    Is there anywhere interesting on base that is avaialbe for use?  (Assuming your FI has base privileges.)
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    With that number, you can do almost anything. I'd suggest sitting down with your FH and trying to work out what kind of "feel" you want -- casual, formal, elegant, downhome, inexpensive, top of the line, fun, trendy, traditional, etc. That will at least give  you a starting point for the kinds of places to look at.

    If I were doing that number, I'd most likely look into a private room at a very good, elegant, and probably expensive, restaurant. Personally I wouldn't plan for dancing with 50 people, but I would go all out on interesting food, top shelf open bar, and abundant flowers. But that's my style. Yours might be the same or it might be more backyard barbecue or anything in between. You really do have a lot of options!
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    I wish I could remember enough specifics to give you the name of the place, but I am from nowhere near that area...however, several years ago I went to a smaller wedding near a bridge in Annapolis. The small ceremony was on a little piece of sand near the water, and the reception followed under a covered picinic-like area adjacent to it. They still had the arch and white chairs for the ceremony, and everything was right there for the reception. It was great!
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    I don't think 50 people should make you cut a formal reception if that's what you want- heck, we're having ~50 people for our black tie optional wedding and planning on a coffee/tea service after the ceremony followed by a sit-down dinner & ballroom dancing. 

    We're trying to find a location that's a bit isolated, and feels like it's out in the country or a forest so we can have our own little 'world.' Looking at manor houses, plantations, art galleries, museums... I'd be wary of a boat since some people are prone to sea sickness, however, if it's special to the two of you stock the bathrooms with dramamine and go for it!

    Have you and your DF talked about what your ideal party would be? Go from there!
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    We had 30 guests and rented a historic B&B.  Best part is that there were just enough rooms for our immediate families to stay there with us.
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    http://www.intimateweddings.com/

    this site is TOTALLY for you- I was just at a wedding of 20 and the bride told me this site saved her butt
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    We're having about 30 people. We're not the standard dinner/drinks/dancing type of people. The idea of doing a traditional wedding was just stressing us both right the hell out, so at the end of a very long day, all I did was ask him what we could change to make it something he was looking forward to rather than something we were both dreading. What would be *fun.* And we decided that what would make it fun would be watching movies with a bunch of people we love, lots of photography, and playng the new Rock Band. So we're renting a house that my family can stay at, playing wii games, and watching movies. We're getting fajitas brought in from a local company, served buffet style. And it's gone from something that, every day, I was considering ditching in favour of an elopement, to something that I absolutely can't wait to do.

    Figure out what would be *fun* for you, and for your guests, and go from there.

    (Caveat: I am able to get away with this because, in general, all of my family and all of our friends have been completely awesome. There has been no pressure from anyone to invite people we don't want to invite, no pressure to keep up with any tradition we don't personally care for. The *fantastic* thing is that it's ended up being far, far less expensive than any other idea we'd come up with.)
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    We are doing something pretty close to a dinner only reception. We rented a historical mansion..perfect size. Then will have a cake cutting and first dance, background music, and dinner. We won't be having a dj, throwing anything at anyone, limos or a bridal party. If ppl want to dance they can but it won't be a wedding focused on it...mainly focusing on mingling with each other. We are having roughly 55 guests.
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