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Return of Groom & Bride - Mini reception tomorrow. Really need help!

Hi ladies,

My husband and I got married outside of the country with our family and friends back in August. Now we are back in our city and we planned a mini reception with our friends here. The reception is not intended to be a second wedding, it is more a "our first real introduction as husband and wife".
We planned the reception to start at 6:30PM and end at 1:00AM. It will be very informal: stand-up buffet dinner (but with starter, entree, desert and 2 drinks for free per person; then it will be cash bar).
Our friends come from different places (University, friends-of-friends, work, French community etc...) so they all dont know one another.
I'm getting stressed out about tomorrow:
- how can we get people talking to one another and not only the ones they know
- how to have people mingled instead of staying on each side of the room?
- how can we get people entertained? I dont want people to get bored at this party. Games or not?
- how are we going to introduce the time to dance?
- since no one came to our wedding, do we need to get them a wedding favour to remind them of the day of our real wedding?

Thanks ladies!!!!
Mary L.

Re: Return of Groom & Bride - Mini reception tomorrow. Really need help!

  • Hi ladies,

    My husband and I got married outside of the country with our family and friends back in August. Now we are back in our city and we planned a mini reception with our friends here. The reception is not intended to be a second wedding, it is more a "our first real introduction as husband and wife".
    We planned the reception to start at 6:30PM and end at 1:00AM. It will be very informal: stand-up buffet dinner (but with starter, entree, desert and 2 drinks for free per person; then it will be cash bar).
    Our friends come from different places (University, friends-of-friends, work, French community etc...) so they all dont know one another.
    I'm getting stressed out about tomorrow:
    - how can we get people talking to one another and not only the ones they know
    - how to have people mingled instead of staying on each side of the room?
    - how can we get people entertained? I dont want people to get bored at this party. Games or not?
    - how are we going to introduce the time to dance?
    - since no one came to our wedding, do we need to get them a wedding favour to remind them of the day of our real wedding?

    Thanks ladies!!!!
    I'm sure your guests will talk to each other plenty - the only problem is that they will do so because they'll be complaining about your lack of preparation, cash bar, and nowhere to sit while they eat.

    Good luck.  

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    itzMSdoeydoCLoGreenEyes
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    1.  This is something I wouldn't worry about.  It's up to everyone whom they decide to talk to.  As long as nobody feels like they have no one to talk to, let it go.

    2.  Same as 1.  It's just not something you can do anyone about.

    3.  Just let them talk and mingle amongst themselves as they see fit.  You don't need games or ice-breakers (and many people don't like them anyway).

    4.  Have whoever is acting as DJ start playing dance music.

    5.  No, you don't need to do this.
  • what do you mean lack of preparation?
    I did not want to prepare anything because it's actually just a simple party. That's why I didnt want to have chairs around (too formal for this type of reception).
    What would be the issue with the cash bar? They will eat on standing tables.
    Mary L.
  • Thanks for your answers! :) It's just that all of those questions came up to mind ... even though I think everything should go according to the plan tmr. It's something very simple and I think we are already nice enough to have a party in our city too, to include those people.
    Mary L.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    what do you mean lack of preparation?
    I did not want to prepare anything because it's actually just a simple party. That's why I didnt want to have chairs around (too formal for this type of reception).
    What would be the issue with the cash bar? They will eat on standing tables.
    Sorry, but these are both serious issues that would make people side-eye you as a bad host.

    First, every butt needs a place to sit.  That is a basic of any type of hosting.  Informality is not an excuse for this.

    Second, cash bars are totally not appropriate at a hosted event.  If you don't want to pay for liquor, then don't provide it-even if your guests want it.  There's a great sticky about this in the Etiquette folder.  Your guests should never be expected to open their wallets.
    doeydoSKPM
  • What @Jen4948 said.  "Lack of preparation" = not planning ahead for how you want your event to go, which is clearly the case here.  You have nowhere for guests to sit and you haven't planned ahead for how you will entertain them.  It was avoidable but now it's the day before and I doubt you'll be able to fix it at this point.

    Call up some rental companies and see if you can get seating at the last minute.  Play some music on an iPod/stereo.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    SKPM
  • Well, there will be chairs around but none around tables as they will be standing tables.
    As for the fact that it is a standing party, we are considering this as a cocktail. During our wedding cocktail hours, there was no seat and we havent heard any complains about that though ... now you get me thinking about people taking it the wrong way.
    As for the cash bar, we listened to what our friends said: don't bother paying for us, you guys already spent a lot on your wedding. So I assume that we already nice enough to give 2 free drinks to people. Back in France, I would have never done a cash bar as it's not polite at all to invite people and let them pay for their drinks. However back in Canada (where we live), it seems that people don't mind and if the venue offered it, well it means that people take that option too.
    This reception could have been done at our place, it's just that I didnt want to have to do the cleaning after and it's a bit bigger over there.
    I really did not think that all of my questions were going to be answered in this way :( I assume that we took an extra time and effort to have a little gathering with our friends and that they should not expect this to be a second wedding or anything close to it.
    Mary L.
  • So I'm expected to stand in heels to eat, dance, stand some more and pay for my own drinks?

    I'd probably come and eat, drink my two drinks during dinner, make a point to congratulate you and then leave.  No way I'm hanging out to eat/dance/mingle for 7 hours without a place to sit.
    Formerly known as flutterbride2b
    image
    itzMSgrumbledoreDreamergirl8812
  • I said that there will be chairs around ... so people can sit if they want
    Mary L.
  • Thanks for your insights though :)
    Mary L.
  • We will have chairs around so people can sit. As for the music we already have "planned" that.
    Mary L.
  • Well, there will be chairs around but none around tables as they will be standing tables.
    As for the fact that it is a standing party, we are considering this as a cocktail. During our wedding cocktail hours, there was no seat and we havent heard any complains about that though ... now you get me thinking about people taking it the wrong way. 

    As for the cash bar, we listened to what our friends said: don't bother paying for us, you guys already spent a lot on your wedding. So I assume that we already nice enough to give 2 free drinks to people. Back in France, I would have never done a cash bar as it's not polite at all to invite people and let them pay for their drinks. However back in Canada (where we live), it seems that people don't mind and if the venue offered it, well it means that people take that option too. Just because it's common in Canada doesn't mean it isn't against etiquette. If you can't afford to offer alcohol, just don't offer it. It's no big deal to have a dry party. If you DO want to offer alcohol, then host it.

    This reception could have been done at our place, it's just that I didnt want to have to do the cleaning after and it's a bit bigger over there. Definitely a perk of renting some place else out.

    I really did not think that all of my questions were going to be answered in this way :( I assume that we took an extra time and effort to have a little gathering with our friends and that they should not expect this to be a second wedding or anything close to it. A second wedding would mean you get married. I'm sure they don't expect that at all and it sounds like you're not planning that, so you should be fine.
    If you're hosting a party for friends to celebrate your recent marriage, you should host it (meaning don't make your guests pay for things that you offer). I think the cocktail style party is perfectly fine as long as you have places for people to sit if they want to - it sounds like you do so you're good there. As for your other questions...:
    Hi ladies,

    My husband and I got married outside of the country with our family and friends back in August. Now we are back in our city and we planned a mini reception with our friends here. The reception is not intended to be a second wedding, it is more a "our first real introduction as husband and wife".
    We planned the reception to start at 6:30PM and end at 1:00AM. It will be very informal: stand-up buffet dinner (but with starter, entree, desert and 2 drinks for free per person; then it will be cash bar).
    Our friends come from different places (University, friends-of-friends, work, French community etc...) so they all dont know one another.
    I'm getting stressed out about tomorrow:
    - how can we get people talking to one another and not only the ones they know Don't worry about this. Adults at a cocktail style reception can manage just fine.
    - how to have people mingled instead of staying on each side of the room? see answer above
    - how can we get people entertained? I dont want people to get bored at this party. Games or not? No games. Adults can entertain themselves. I would have a plan for music or a band. As long as you have that, that's all you need.
    - how are we going to introduce the time to dance? If you have a dance floor, people will dance if they hear a song they like. Often if the hosts are out on the dance floor, it lets the guests know it's time to dance.
    - since no one came to our wedding, do we need to get them a wedding favour to remind them of the day of our real wedding? Favors are never necessary. You may want to make an opening toast to your guests to thank them for attending. 

    Thanks ladies!!!!

    *********************************************************************************

    image
  • Thanks a lot for your answers. I really appreciate them. I even know myself it's not appropriate to have cash bars, like I mentioned earlier ... back in France I would have never done that. But since a couple of our friends actually introduced us to that idea, we went for it.
    Mary L.
  • I can't believe you're expecting people to stand up to eat and drink or sit at a chair off to the side with their plate on their lap. I just can't....

  • Well look at it, as a big birthday bash. People don't need to sit at around round tables .... This is not a formal reception ...
    Mary L.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited September 2013
    Well look at it, as a big birthday bash. People don't need to sit at around round tables .... This is not a formal reception ...
    Lack of formality is not a factor here.   The needs and comfort of your guests should take priority whenever you host, whatever the occasion-even at a big birthday bash.  Simply because no one speaks up doesn't mean that lack of tables and chairs for everyone isn't being side-eyed.  So we urge you to plan accordingly for their comfort.
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It shouldn't be too late to get rid of the drink tickets and host the bar.
    southernbelle0915grumbledore
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Well look at it, as a big birthday bash. People don't need to sit at around round tables .... This is not a formal reception ...


    Since when does a table make something formal?  What do you eat dinner on at home?

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Thanks a lot for your answers. I really appreciate them. I even know myself it's not appropriate to have cash bars, like I mentioned earlier ... back in France I would have never done that. But since a couple of our friends actually introduced us to that idea, we went for it.

    I actually find it more offensive that you are selectively rude and ill mannered versus completely clueless.
    grumbledore
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    You and your husband are throwing a party, calling it a reception, and therefor are hosting your guests.  Regardless of formality, cash bars are rude.  You and your husband, as hosts, should be providing everything your guests need, such as refreshments and chairs.  If it is a matter of budget, water, juice, lemonade, pop, or whatever is perfectly fine.  
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    grumbledore
  • Dreamergirl8812Dreamergirl8812 your closet member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    You should do whatever you can at this point to make this a properly hosted reception (or party, if you like). You risk being perceived as "Well, you're lucky I am blessing you with our presence so I can't be bothered to buy you drinks."



    Anniversary
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    image
    doeydo
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    How many chairs do you have, exactly?



  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Thanks a lot for your answers. I really appreciate them. I even know myself it's not appropriate to have cash bars, like I mentioned earlier ... back in France I would have never done that. But since a couple of our friends actually introduced us to that idea, we went for it.
    So you know full well that it's rude, and you're doing it anyway?  These are your friends.  You should want to treat them better than that.  If you care so little for them that you're ok with being rude, you shouldn't be inviting them to a party at all.  

    You need to arrange proper seating and host the bar.  Otherwise, everyone will socialize while they discuss what a rude event you are hosting, before they head for the door after an hour.  
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