Wedding Etiquette Forum

mingling reception??

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Re: mingling reception??

  • missnc77 said:
    That's what I'm saying though - this sort of reception doesn't have a chair for every guest. I know, it's a little mind blowing. Just read the article/blog I linked to with the pros and cons. They are very strategic about the flow of the reception - venues in New Orleans have been doing it for ages. Some people eat, some mingle and grab a few drinks, some hang out by the tall boys listening to the band. I know it sounds crazy, but it does work when done right. It still may not be your cup of tea, but it's pretty standard for wedding in New Orleans, and people love it. It's one big party. There's always a seat open, it works itself out.


    People in New Orleans must just party differently, because i have been to two such weddings, and had to stand up while eating my dinner at both of them.  And i wasn't impressed either time.  It should be said though that at these weddings the guest list was probably 1/3 friends of the bride and groom and 2/3 family and friends of the parents of the bride and groom...many of the older people weren't interest in mingling or dancing...they were interested in sitting down all night and not getting up so that someone else could sit and eat. 

     

    i guess you really have to know your crowd if you plan to do this.  And honestly I'd still discourage it.  How hard is it to provide ample seating?  I'd rather have a definite seat than have to stand up and stare at opulant centerpieces or decorations or fancy lighting...i mean there are a lot of ways to cut your costs enough to be able to afford a seat for every butt in attendance.  just do it.

    PrettyGirlLost
  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    missnc77 said:
    That's what I'm saying though - this sort of reception doesn't have a chair for every guest. I know, it's a little mind blowing. Just read the article/blog I linked to with the pros and cons. They are very strategic about the flow of the reception - venues in New Orleans have been doing it for ages. Some people eat, some mingle and grab a few drinks, some hang out by the tall boys listening to the band. I know it sounds crazy, but it does work when done right. It still may not be your cup of tea, but it's pretty standard for wedding in New Orleans, and people love it. It's one big party. There's always a seat open, it works itself out.
    I honestly don't care what that wedding planner has to say (she is a vendor would say anything to get $$$) I am 38 and I have been to more weddings in my life than most people have. I can tell you that if a wedding does NOT have enough seats, than it's wrong. I have been to those and no one wanders around or hangs out by the tall boys. They either sat in their seats the whole night or if they did get up to go to the bar/bathroom/dance, they always saved their seats with a coat or a purse. Trust me when I tell you that not having enough seats is torturous on the guests (especially those with heels) and they leave early.
    PrettyGirlLostAmyzen83
  • edited December 2013
    missnc77 said:
    That's what I'm saying though - this sort of reception doesn't have a chair for every guest. I know, it's a little mind blowing. Just read the article/blog I linked to with the pros and cons. They are very strategic about the flow of the reception - venues in New Orleans have been doing it for ages. Some people eat, some mingle and grab a few drinks, some hang out by the tall boys listening to the band. I know it sounds crazy, but it does work when done right. It still may not be your cup of tea, but it's pretty standard for wedding in New Orleans, and people love it. It's one big party. There's always a seat open, it works itself out.
    Ok as someone who did a strolling dinner, I don't agree with Ms. Sapphire (whatever) or her NOLA wedding planning tips. 

    Unless every single person is from NOLA, has been to this style of reception, AND you can guarantee that every single person won't be hungry at the same time or want to sit down at the same time, this isn't a good idea. So basically, this is never a good idea because the stars aligning to create a scenario like that are basically.. yea. It's not going to happen. 

    We actually did a strolling dinner and I can tell you that you (general you) should have more than enough seating and more than enough food. If people don't use the extra seats or eat all the food - fine. But it needs to be there. These types of receptions should be MORE expensive because you have extra chairs, extra tables, extra centerpieces, extra food, cocktail tables, a large amount of space, etc. If anything, it's in excess and is not a way to save money. We spent a hell of a lot more to do this style because we wanted to but we also wanted to host it properly which meant more of everything - not less. If hosts can't do all that, they shouldn't have a reception like this and should stick to the cheaper traditional style. Guest comfort is Numero Uno no matter what style the reception is - people need to be comfortable, fed, and beveraged (doesn't have to be booze, but I'll never complain if it is). 

    ETA: My sister lives in NOLA, got married there, and we've been to a few weddings there. The only ones like this I've ever been to that are successful have extra of everything, not less. The ones that have less have grumbling guests.
    *********************************************************************************

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    PrettyGirlLostAmyzen83
  • missnc77missnc77 member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2013
    I'm 30 and pretty much the last of my high-school and sorority to get married, so I've been to a lot as well. I've been a guest at these type of events, and maybe I've just been lucky. It's not about cutting costs for most, it's just the traditional New Orleans way. I realize I'm not changing anyone's opinion here, and that's fine. I'm just giving another perspective.
  • delujm0 said:
     

    i guess you really have to know your crowd if you plan to do this. 

    I think this is the key. Nail on the head. For us, we have larger friend groups and not a lot of older people attending the wedding. We're in our 30s, and our living grandparents aren't well enough to attend. My guests and his guests may not know each other well, but everyone within our own groups knows each other. They love to drink and dance, so it'll balance out with the people who would rather sit and watch the action. If everyone were a wall flower that hated a live band, we'd have an entirely different wedding. This fits us and our friends - lots of food, flowing booze, and a live band. Plus, you do have reserved tables for the older family members. They'll be good to go.
  • You have people here telling you that they would NOT like having to stand while holding their purse, drink, coat, and plate of food.  

    How can you say "Oh it works when done right."  That's like basically telling us, "No, don't worry, you would actually really like standing all night in your high heels holding all that crap".

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    PrettyGirlLostRebeccaB88
  • missnc77 said:
    I'm 30 and pretty much the last of my high-school and sorority to get married, so I've been to a lot as well. I've been a guest at these type of events, and maybe I've just been lucky. It's not about cutting costs for most, it's just the traditional New Orleans way. I realize I'm not changing anyone's opinion here, and that's fine. I'm just giving another perspective.
    I was born and raised in New Orleans, and I have a HUGE family and large circle of friends.  I've been to many, many weddings (some strolling and some sit down) and never ever have I been to a strolling reception without a seat for EVERY single butt. In fact, not having proper seating is poor form and will likely get you talked about over coffee the next day.

    I had a strolling reception when I got married this past March. We had a seat for every butt (all 250 of them), a fully hosted bar, food that didn't run out at all and everyone managed to eat, dance and mingle since no one was worried about having a place to sit down and catch their breath. 
    PrettyGirlLostSKPMsouthernbelle0915
  • I just don't get it at all.  What's the point?

    People mingle plenty when you have enough seats (or better--provide extra seating!)

    People moved all around our wedding.

    Why not provide enough seats?  Is it just to save money?  If so, that's the worst reason ever.

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    PrettyGirlLostKeptInStitches
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2013
    I see no issue with a strolling reception/ cocktail reception, provided there are enough seats and enough food. But that follows for any reception.

    I don't even care if all that is served is apps over a meal time- as long as there is enough food for a "meals worth". 


    PrettyGirlLostAmyzen83southernbelle0915
  • csuavecsuave member
    500 Comments Third Anniversary 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2013

    I agree that there should be a seat for every person and that this may be a know your crowd thing.

    This would not have worked for our wedding.  Weddings follow a typical formula if you will in my circle.  It is expected that when the reception starts people go to their assigned table to sit by people they want to talk to.  For the random guests that don't know many people they are relieved with being assigned to a table so they don't have to search for one and possibly get the response "sorry seats are saved for other people, keep looking."  Food is served (could be buffet, sit down, stations, etc.) and everyone eats at the same time and wants to be sitting down to do so.  Then people have loosened up and there is some moving around of tables, mingling and dancing but everyone has a "home base" for their stuff.  Some people remain in their seats most of the night.  Taking away that first, most familiar and expected part would make people in my circle uncomfortable (even if there were enough seats). 

    I don't think there is anything wrong with a mingling reception or the idea of unassigned tables if they are done properly, I just know my crowd would prefer what they are used to because it is much easier/more comfortable for them. 

    Personally, when I am at a networking event, happy hour or charity party that is done in this style I usually don't have a circle of friends there and I don't mind mingling and striking up conversations with strangers.  I also don't stay nearly as long as a typical reception lasts. 

    I also personally have no issue as a guest when the cocktail hour before the reception does not have enough chairs for everyone and is set up for mingling.  But I would hope there are enough seats at that cocktail hour for everyone that wants one and that after standing for one hour I have a seat to immediately sit in and park my stuff at the reception.

  • csuave said: 

    I also personally have no issue as a guest when the cocktail hour before the reception does not have enough chairs for everyone and is set up for mingling.  But I would hope there are enough seats at that cocktail hour for everyone that wants one and that after standing for one hour I have a seat to immediately sit in and park my stuff at the reception.

    This is a really good point.  We are just going to have high cocktail tables at our cocktail hour, with a small "reserved" lounge seating area for our elderly guests who can't stand up for long.  So, when the reception starts, I assume everyone will want to sit.  This is how most wedding I've been to go - cocktail hour is standing and then evryone goes into the reception, locates their assigned table, sits down, and immediately eats (whether it's a buffet, or stations, or a seated dinner - everyone always wants to eat right away).

     

    The issue with not having enough chairs is that no matter how much you assume it not to be the case, if your reception starts at 7 or later, everyone will want to eat immediately.  that is dinner time and they will be hungry.  Which is why at the two "mingling" receptions I've been to where there aren't enough chairs for everyone I've had to eat standing up.  Terrible plan. 

     

    A mingling reception with unassigned seating is totally fine - but there should still be enough seats for EVERYONE.  It's like how everyone tells you to assume you'll have 100% attendance when you do your guest list and budget.  Assume 100% of your guests will want to sit at the same time.  It could easily (and likely will) happen.

    Amyzen83PrettyGirlLost
  • Totally agree with this statement! I'm totally cool with a heavy hors de ovres reception, where there's drinking, and mingling, whatever. I don't expect $100 meals, but I do expect to have a place to put my sh--t, so I'm not spilling drink and food all over the place because there's no place to put everything. I'm still young, but I'm most likely wearing heals to a wedding, and it's nice to be able to sit down and rest after some heavy duty dancing and partying. I also like to sit down when I eat.
    delujm0 said:
    csuave said: 

    I also personally have no issue as a guest when the cocktail hour before the reception does not have enough chairs for everyone and is set up for mingling.  But I would hope there are enough seats at that cocktail hour for everyone that wants one and that after standing for one hour I have a seat to immediately sit in and park my stuff at the reception.

    This is a really good point.  We are just going to have high cocktail tables at our cocktail hour, with a small "reserved" lounge seating area for our elderly guests who can't stand up for long.  So, when the reception starts, I assume everyone will want to sit.  This is how most wedding I've been to go - cocktail hour is standing and then evryone goes into the reception, locates their assigned table, sits down, and immediately eats (whether it's a buffet, or stations, or a seated dinner - everyone always wants to eat right away).

     

    The issue with not having enough chairs is that no matter how much you assume it not to be the case, if your reception starts at 7 or later, everyone will want to eat immediately.  that is dinner time and they will be hungry.  Which is why at the two "mingling" receptions I've been to where there aren't enough chairs for everyone I've had to eat standing up.  Terrible plan. 

     

    A mingling reception with unassigned seating is totally fine - but there should still be enough seats for EVERYONE.  It's like how everyone tells you to assume you'll have 100% attendance when you do your guest list and budget.  Assume 100% of your guests will want to sit at the same time.  It could easily (and likely will) happen.


    PrettyGirlLost
  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer

    missnc77 said:
    delujm0 said:
     

    i guess you really have to know your crowd if you plan to do this. 

    I think this is the key. Nail on the head. For us, we have larger friend groups and not a lot of older people attending the wedding. We're in our 30s, and our living grandparents aren't well enough to attend. My guests and his guests may not know each other well, but everyone within our own groups knows each other. They love to drink and dance, so it'll balance out with the people who would rather sit and watch the action. If everyone were a wall flower that hated a live band, we'd have an entirely different wedding. This fits us and our friends - lots of food, flowing booze, and a live band. Plus, you do have reserved tables for the older family members. They'll be good to go.

    I'm 33
    I love to drink 
    I love to dance 
    I love to party 

    I also love to be able sit the fuck down. Have a damn seat for me or I'll be pissed. And this would go for all of my friends, who range from 30 to 40. Just because you like to drink and dance doesn't mean you're fine standing for an entire event. 
    ^That.  I'm 25 and I like to sit down. I've been a dancer for 20 years and my knees are shot, so standing for over an hour makes my joints sad.

    It's hard to predict how many people will want to stand and mingle. I would have a seat available for every butt, just to be on the safe side.
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    Amyzen83PrettyGirlLost
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    A chair for every butt. Period. Every single guest at your reception deserves the ability to be able to park their butt in a chair at any time they wish, and they ONLY way to ensure there are absolutely NO problems making that happen is to have a chair for every guest. Why is this even a question?


    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • csuave said:

    I agree that there should be a seat for every person and that this may be a know your crowd thing.

    This would not have worked for our wedding.  Weddings follow a typical formula if you will in my circle.  It is expected that when the reception starts people go to their assigned table to sit by people they want to talk to.  For the random guests that don't know many people they are relieved with being assigned to a table so they don't have to search for one and possibly get the response "sorry seats are saved for other people, keep looking."  Food is served (could be buffet, sit down, stations, etc.) and everyone eats at the same time and wants to be sitting down to do so.  Then people have loosened up and there is some moving around of tables, mingling and dancing but everyone has a "home base" for their stuff.  Some people remain in their seats most of the night.  Taking away that first, most familiar and expected part would make people in my circle uncomfortable (even if there were enough seats). 

    I don't think there is anything wrong with a mingling reception or the idea of unassigned tables if they are done properly, I just know my crowd would prefer what they are used to because it is much easier/more comfortable for them. 

    Personally, when I am at a networking event, happy hour or charity party that is done in this style I usually don't have a circle of friends there and I don't mind mingling and striking up conversations with strangers.  I also don't stay nearly as long as a typical reception lasts. 

    I also personally have no issue as a guest when the cocktail hour before the reception does not have enough chairs for everyone and is set up for mingling.  But I would hope there are enough seats at that cocktail hour for everyone that wants one and that after standing for one hour I have a seat to immediately sit in and park my stuff at the reception.

    This 1000%!  Well said.

    This is how I see it - I would have no problem with a "cocktail party" type wedding reception IF it was somewhat short (less than 2 hours), all food and drink could be easily consumed standing up (aka small appetizers on small plates), and a seat would be easily found if I wanted to take a quick break off my feet.

    If a wedding reception is long and the meal requires dinner plates and utensils, there absolutely, positively needs to be enough seating and then some for every single butt in the place!
  • kaos16 said:

    Please tell me this isn't a real thing.  I was just informed about a "mingling reception."  The way it was described to me was that it's ok to over-invite for your space because not everyone likes to eat or even sit at a wedding. . . some people just want to mingle and dance.  The premise, as I understood it, was to have tables for about 2/3 of the guests. . . . it also seemed like there would be limited food at stations around the room.  If someone was hungry they could get a plate, sit and eat.  There would be no seating assignments or anything, just people coming and going.  I almost choked on my dinner!  Please tell me this isn't popular now.

    The only good suggestion, IMO, was having beer and soft drinks in metal tubs around the room for people who just wanted to grab a drink and not have to wait on the bar line.  That could be fun if it goes with the atmosphere of the wedding.

    This sounds exactly what we did for our 30th high school reunion (minus the beer/pop in tubs).....

    I would not ever do this, at least not for a wedding!!!
  • missnc77missnc77 member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2013

    I think y'all make some very valid points (some more nicely than others), the biggest being that if you can afford it, why not just make sure everyone has a seat. Honestly, this point of view has been in the back of my mind. Fact of the matter is, we can afford it. We just initially had good experiences with this type of reception and thought it fit the New Orleans vibe. I guess it really doesn't take away from the vibe to add in extra tables even if it works out to where not everyone is seated at once. It would certainly make me less nervous.

    southernbelle0915SKPMKeptInStitchesPrettyGirlLost
  • I've been to a wedding like this.  It was awful.  First, no one was informed of the format, so it was very confusing.  Second, regardless of whether you have stations, people all expect/want to eat when the food comes out, so everyone ends up wanting to sit at the same time.  It was terrible.  Older aunts/uncles ended up standing to eat.  

    It reminds me of the Friends episode when they have to eat steak standing up at Ross' wedding to Emily.  Terrible TERRIBLE idea.  
    Amyzen83PrettyGirlLostmonkeysip
  • I went to a wedding like this 48 hours after giving birth to my second child.  Not enough seats for everyone.  You would think SOMEONE would give up their seat for a new mom right??  NOPE!!  Like PP said, when there isn't enough seats, once people find a seat, they stay in it all night.  Majority of the guests left right after dinner, part of them left during dinner.  This is a terrible idea.  Please make sure their is a seat for every butt!!!
    PhoneCardLady
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    missnc77 said:
    delujm0 said:
     

    i guess you really have to know your crowd if you plan to do this. 

    I think this is the key. Nail on the head. For us, we have larger friend groups and not a lot of older people attending the wedding. We're in our 30s, and our living grandparents aren't well enough to attend. My guests and his guests may not know each other well, but everyone within our own groups knows each other. They love to drink and dance, so it'll balance out with the people who would rather sit and watch the action. If everyone were a wall flower that hated a live band, we'd have an entirely different wedding. This fits us and our friends - lots of food, flowing booze, and a live band. Plus, you do have reserved tables for the older family members. They'll be good to go.

    I'm 33
    I love to drink 
    I love to dance 
    I love to party 

    I also love to be able sit the fuck down. Have a damn seat for me or I'll be pissed. And this would go for all of my friends, who range from 30 to 40. Just because you like to drink and dance doesn't mean you're fine standing for an entire event. 
    AMEN!!!!

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


  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm way more likely to stay longer and really enjoy myself if I know I will have a seat to return to. I'll even mingle MORE if I know that. So it's a good idea. Besides, New Orleans is a seat of classic southern hospitality. I'd definitely expect more than enough seating at an event there. If I didn't see it I'd be more likely to blame the hosts than the venue, etc, for not insisting on proper hosting, because I'd expect NO to automatically know how to do it right. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how things go if you go with the extra seating. You will get your mingling once people are satisfied with awesome food and drinks, and the atmosphere you want, because they are relaxed and don't feel they have to guard their seat or move along quickly to make room for others.
    Amyzen83PrettyGirlLost
  • I'm way more likely to stay longer and really enjoy myself if I know I will have a seat to return to. I'll even mingle MORE if I know that. So it's a good idea. Besides, New Orleans is a seat of classic southern hospitality. I'd definitely expect more than enough seating at an event there. If I didn't see it I'd be more likely to blame the hosts than the venue, etc, for not insisting on proper hosting, because I'd expect NO to automatically know how to do it right. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how things go if you go with the extra seating. You will get your mingling once people are satisfied with awesome food and drinks, and the atmosphere you want, because they are relaxed and don't feel they have to guard their seat or move along quickly to make room for others.

    Same here! People are way more relaxed if they know they can get food and a place to sit at anytime
  • Amyzen83 said:
    I'm way more likely to stay longer and really enjoy myself if I know I will have a seat to return to. I'll even mingle MORE if I know that. So it's a good idea. Besides, New Orleans is a seat of classic southern hospitality. I'd definitely expect more than enough seating at an event there. If I didn't see it I'd be more likely to blame the hosts than the venue, etc, for not insisting on proper hosting, because I'd expect NO to automatically know how to do it right. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how things go if you go with the extra seating. You will get your mingling once people are satisfied with awesome food and drinks, and the atmosphere you want, because they are relaxed and don't feel they have to guard their seat or move along quickly to make room for others.
    Same here! People are way more relaxed if they know they can get food and a place to sit at anytime
    I was really worried that my friends/family wouldn't mingle with H's friends/family since they didn't know each other before the wedding.

    We had a few extra seats in the reception hall, plus several tables/chairs outside on the deck.  EVERYONE was mingling with EVERYONE.  It was amazing.  Even the friends of my Dad who flew in from Asia and barely spoke English.  You provide a fun atmosphere, food, DRINKS (if you can afford it), and some extra seating, and you're all set.

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  • Either every sits, or everyone stands, not half and half
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Anaelsea said:
    Either every sits, or everyone stands, not half and half
    What?



  • Nobody should have to stand for the entire reception or wedding period! Everyone should be able to sit down. I know if I had to stand for an entire reception, I wouldn't be there for very long because most likely I'll be wearing heals and most likely my feet will be killing me.
    PrettyGirlLost
  • arrippaarrippa Sam Adams Craft Commonwealth member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Anaelsea said:
    Either every sits, or everyone stands, not half and half

    ???

    No one should stand. There should be enough chairs for everyone.

    PrettyGirlLostKeptInStitchesAmyzen83
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