Reception Ideas

Fun that isn't just dancing?

kinney0515kinney0515
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edited December 2014 in Reception Ideas
We are planning a small family wedding of just about 50 people- 25 or so on each side. My family is very laid back- and my future in-laws are WAY more laid back.... to the point where I am crossing my fingers they remember to wear something besides jeans to the wedding ;)  Very nice group though between everyone- so that's what matters most.

This might sound a bit hokey- but has anyone come up with fun things to do at weddings that isn't just dancing?  Perhaps like.... games or ice-breakers that give the wedding a fun, laid-back semi-untraditional feel without it being insanely, insanely tacky? (Semi tacky is fine by me).  The two sides of family will have never really met and I think some things besides just eating, standing around talking, etc. might be helpful- esp. if we end up doing day time vs. night.  

Thanks in advance! 
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Re: Fun that isn't just dancing?

  • Tacky is trying to do much (showing off) with too little.  Your wedding will be non-traditional, not tacky.  Personally, I am in favor of good conversation.  I hate weddings where the music is too loud.  If you choose to do something else, just be mindful that there might be people who choose to not participate in games, or whatever.
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
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    We are planning a small family wedding of just about 50 people- 25 or so on each side. My family is very laid back- and my future in-laws are WAY more laid back.... to the point where I am crossing my fingers they remember to wear something besides jeans to the wedding ;)  Very nice group though between everyone- so that's what matters most.

    This might sound a bit hokey- but has anyone come up with fun things to do at weddings that isn't just dancing?  Perhaps like.... games or ice-breakers that give the wedding a fun, laid-back semi-untraditional feel without it being insanely, insanely tacky? (Semi tacky is fine by me).  The two sides of family will have never really met and I think some things besides just eating, standing around talking, etc. might be helpful- esp. if we end up doing day time vs. night.  

    Thanks in advance! 
    Eating and talking are my favorite things to do at a wedding!  I don't want to play games. Even if you don't want dancing, I'd at least have some background music.  

    And I'll be honest, I usually have zero interest in talking to any of the family members from the "other" side.  As a guest/relative, I will probably have no interaction with them again in the future.  I'd much rather catch up with family and friends from "my" side.
    wrigleyvilledoeydoatlastmrsgPrettyGirlLost
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    People do not need games, ice breakers, activities, etc at weddings. Food, music, and conversation will suffice. I got married during the day, with no dancing, and didn't need to include anything else for guests to have a good time.
    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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    PrettyGirlLost
  • I'm not saying that's for everyone- but all people are not the same.  Every group is different.  The neat thing about each having large families and doing a family only wedding (max of 50) is you genuinely know what your guests mostly enjoy vs. don't enjoy.  At my cousins wedding in May the most common comment that went around the wedding was everyone was bored to tears.  Not saying that, again, this is for most people- but that's the beauty in creating your own wedding. You can do something out of the box if you feel it suits you and your FI- and the small crew attending- I think at least.
  • Ps. Sounds like your wedding was perfectly suited for your guests and was fully enjoyed!  
  • Good to hear your guys feedback- but if anyone DOES have any ideas- it would be greatly appreciated as that's what I'm mainly looking for- ideas.

    Thanks! 
  • Realized this might be best for the "offbeat weddings" forum- as we're definitely not going for traditional! :) Will check that forum out for more ideas.  
  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago
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    Realized this might be best for the "offbeat weddings" forum- as we're definitely not going for traditional! :) Will check that forum out for more ideas.  
    If you are replying to someone, it's helpful to click "quote" before doing so; otherwise, we don't know who you're addressing.

    Also, you aren't the first person to come up with these ideas. It's not as "offbeat" as you think. Games at receptions are becoming more and more common, which is why people are giving you feedback about them. Personally, I'd rather talk and listen to music than play games. Games are corny (I even hate games at showers).

    If people are bored, they'll leave after cake, and that's okay. It's not your fault if they're bored and stick around for another two hours. It isn't up to you to entertain them. Don't put that kind of stress on yourself. Music, food, drinks, conversation - that's plenty.

    PrettyGirlLosttheartistformerlyknownas
  • How creative are you? If you can make a theme look nice and not tacky, you might want to go with a casino idea.  Do the family members like to play poker, black jack, other games?  Given the opportunity, my son and son-in-law would play table tennis (ping pong) all night, yes have even done so at black tie events.  
  • Thanks everyone!  After much soul searching after the last 2 days with my FI once we started to narrow down venues- we've decided to do it on our own farm.  It will mean some extra travel for family- but we're going to help pay for the travel and do a really laid back, backyard type wedding that is all about the two families coming together and a fun day together. We'll probably do lawn games that will go on throughout the day whenever people want to partake- that's what I've discovered seems to fit our vision best. Thanks for the help everyone- I think we've settled on a complete vision and flow of events! 
    [Deleted User]
  • My boss had poker and blackjack dealers at her wedding.  It was a blast and probably the most fun wedding I've ever attended.  I hate dancing and if I don't know many people, talking with complete strangers can become a challenge at times...so the poker & blackjack was a pleasant change of pace.


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  • wrigleyvillewrigleyville Chicago
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    Thanks everyone!  After much soul searching after the last 2 days with my FI once we started to narrow down venues- we've decided to do it on our own farm.  It will mean some extra travel for family- but we're going to help pay for the travel and do a really laid back, backyard type wedding that is all about the two families coming together and a fun day together. We'll probably do lawn games that will go on throughout the day whenever people want to partake- that's what I've discovered seems to fit our vision best. Thanks for the help everyone- I think we've settled on a complete vision and flow of events! 
    I think that sounds nice. It will be like a big, family party. We like to play lawn games when we get together too.

    kinney0515PrettyGirlLost
  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD
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    We set out card games and a board game or two for our guests to play, but almost all of our friends play games.

    Lawn games sound like they will work for you
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  • kinney0515kinney0515
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    edited December 2014
    Thanks guys! :) Yes due to the 7 hours or so between both families- and fiancés family not really being travelers- this will be really the only chance for the whole family to bond- at least for awhile. We're both close with about 25 people on each side- and doing family only- so I think a more laid-back, upscale, bbq type vibe would be best.... in a less southern way since BBQ in New England is very different than it is for most in in the south.  Looking into some neat options like giant Jenga and stuff like that.  Thanks for all the help in figuring it out!   I think the laid-back vibe will mesh really well for our crowd coming and our personalities.  
  • Don't make them play games.  They're adults--they'll figure out how to socialize with people they haven't met if they want to.  Some people would rather hang with family and friends and not be forced to mingle.  

    Although alcohol does tend to help socializing and dancing.  Consider having a beer/wine open bar if you weren't planning on some sort of bar.  It doesn't have to be a full bar if budgeting for it is a concern.
    weddingcactusPrettyGirlLost
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots
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    Glad you figured it out, that sounds really nice. My family loves playing bocce and we always play a game where my grandfather puts golf tees or something into a jar and we all write a guess down on paper and the winner gets money. Might be a little hokey to have a wedding but it's fun and gets people engaged while they are all like "How many did you guess?! No way, too many!" I like stuff like that because it's optional. I never enjoy things that are forced like the bride and groom shoe game.

    We didn't have dancing, just immediate family and a handful of friends (23 people) at a restaurant. It went great, everyone just socialized and chatted and no one seemed bored at all. They actually would have stayed later but I was the one who was like "ok I'm tired people, head out!"

                                                                     

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    weddingcactus
  • I'm sure other people have told you this but whatever the couple is doing everyone else will join. At a friend's wedding the couple took pictures on the side of the venue for most of the reception which left people watching the couple or sitting and drinking. At my wedding my husband and I spent most of the time dancing which meant most people were dancing too. Whatever you decide just be sure to try and have fun and people will follow. After all, everyone is there for y'all. 
  • I don't think there is anything wrong with games... I plan on having a giant jenga and a bean toss during my reception and my friends are really excited about it.. It depends on your crowd, some people don't want to make conversation the whole time... Do what you feel is best!
    [Deleted User]
  • You may want to mention by word of mouth that you plan to include lawn games. As a guest, I would wear different shoes if I knew I'd be playing games rather than just sitting and talking most of the time. :)
    MandyMostjaprincess24
  • I read about someone recently who is having jumbo jenga at her wedding.  Someone on etsy is making it for her and people can play.  I thought that was really unique and fun! 
  • It's one thing to have stuff AVAILABLE for people. Such as a backyard wedding with lawn games out. Or a wedding in a museum where people can see some exhibits during cocktail hour if they want. Or a nice band playing that you can sit and watch.

    It's a totally different beast if you are forcing your guests to be an audience by having organized entertainment....such as any type of bride and groom trivia game, or showing a video, or having an announced singer/entertainment. 

    The former is fine, the latter is not. These people are your guests, not your audience. 
    [Deleted User]PrettyGirlLost
  • I am thinking of having a game table with decks of cards, connect four, checkers, etc. Also, we are setting up cornhole boards outside. That way people can choose to play games if they want to. We will have a few activities involving all guests, but it at least gives them a choice to enjoy themselves if they didn't want to dance.
  • I am thinking of having a game table with decks of cards, connect four, checkers, etc. Also, we are setting up cornhole boards outside. That way people can choose to play games if they want to. We will have a few activities involving all guests, but it at least gives them a choice to enjoy themselves if they didn't want to dance.
    Wait.  What?  If you assign me to your whiffle ball team because it's an activity that "involves all guests", I'm going to be super peeved.  Definitely make things available, but don't go out of your way to "involve" people.  All I want to do at a wedding is eat, drink, and talk.  I don't dance.  And maybe I'll play cornhole, but I will NOT be in a tournament.
    ShesSoColdsouthernbelle0915lovegood90PrettyGirlLost
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    adk19 said:
    I am thinking of having a game table with decks of cards, connect four, checkers, etc. Also, we are setting up cornhole boards outside. That way people can choose to play games if they want to. We will have a few activities involving all guests, but it at least gives them a choice to enjoy themselves if they didn't want to dance.
    Wait.  What?  If you assign me to your whiffle ball team because it's an activity that "involves all guests", I'm going to be super peeved.  Definitely make things available, but don't go out of your way to "involve" people.  All I want to do at a wedding is eat, drink, and talk.  I don't dance.  And maybe I'll play cornhole, but I will NOT be in a tournament.
    This. A wedding isn't preschool. Adults don't need "activities". 

    My wedding guest list was almost identical to OP's - 50 total invited (33 guests came) and the families didn't know each other well. We don't  dance and didn't have a DJ. Everyone ate, drank and talked to the family they knew and people they didn't. It was NBD and it everyone had a great time. 
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • No most of our friends are ball players anyways, but it's a sign up list and draw teams as the games are played. Its all choices for people. But one game will be B and BM against G and GM. Its a way for kids to play too since whiffle ball doesn't require a glove.
  • No most of our friends are ball players anyways, but it's a sign up list and draw teams as the games are played. Its all choices for people. But one game will be B and BM against G and GM. Its a way for kids to play too since whiffle ball doesn't require a glove.
    This sounds like my Fun & Field Day from elementary school. 
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • A lot of the older people in my family like to play rook, or euchre...so it's just nice to have options available for people to do if the grandparents don't want to get up and dance. The biggest thing is just knowing your guests and since we plan on having 200 ish, options are good. i want people to enjoy themselves and spend as much time with them as possible since some are out of town that I don't see often. The biggest thing is just knowing your guests and what activities they may like if anyone decides to have activities.
  • AddieCake said:
    People do not need games, ice breakers, activities, etc at weddings. Food, music, and conversation will suffice. I got married during the day, with no dancing, and didn't need to include anything else for guests to have a good time.
    Thank you so much for this. I just saw my room diagram - no space for dance floor and was worried. I'll have ambiance music, but I too am having a day wedding.
  • MadHops21MadHops21 Buried in blankets
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    I hate talking to people I don't know, it pains me to small talk or engage in a conversation with new people that I'll never see again. I just tend to dislike socializing and dancing, but I enjoy listening to music and eating food. To the only 2 weddings I've been to, I've stayed with my FI and sat at the table, then did the photo booth a ton by ourselves. I love photo booths. 

    Mandatory games are just awful for people like me. That means I have to engage in socializing with people I don't know. That would make me leave or just keep eating cake. 
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