Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

To Dance? Or Not to Dance?

Hey everyone,

Per the suggestion of my father, who says that he & mom had a simple finger sandwich & punch reception when they got married (mostly due to budget) and that nobody is going to want to dance at 1pm on a Saturday, FI and I have agreed to skip the DJ and dancing part of the reception. (This, and also because we are planning to make the 6 hr drive to Orlando as soon as we leave the reception so we can spend our first night together at Disney AND wake up at Disney on Valentine's Day!) So... we're planning to have a 1 1/2 to 2-hr reception and be on our way.

FI still wants to have our first dance, and he has it in his head that he'd love to waltz (which we don't know how to do) to "10 Minutes Ago" from Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Now... he did re-write the lyrics to that song and had it performed live while we attempted to "waltz" (he'd had a crash course and I didn't have a clue) when he proposed to me... but the song made sense then. The original, which he'd like us to dance to, doesn't... we didn't meet 10 minutes ago, obviously!

Anyway... we can negotiate on the song and I've already pointed out that a waltz may not be the most interesting thing to watch... and we don't want to bring the mood down at the start of our reception. But... is it weird to have our 1st dance but then there be no dancing after that?

And what about father/daughter and mother/son dances? I suppose we could do a shortened version... but I have mixed feelings. Part of me is that little girl that is DYING to do this special dance with my dad... and the other part thinks it'd be weird to have even just those 2 "spotlight" dances but then no other dancing. And... I've never ever seen my dad dance... I don't think it's his "thing." So I think he'd do it for me, but possibly reluctantly?

Advice please? Skip dancing altogether? Just do FI and myself? Show the video of the proposal "dance" (which was more awkward and nervous swaying than anything...) instead?

Not sure what to do.
leroweb

Re: To Dance? Or Not to Dance?

  • Do your "first dance" together like at Disney to music from your iPhone or at a restaurant of parade or something.
  • Ceremony is at 1pm, reception will likely start at about 1:30, so no... it's not during a meal time. We have some generous family members that will be bringing family favorite finger foods and hors d'oeuvres, and of course there will be soft drinks and cake. (Neither of us drink, and again... mid-day, so we're having a dry wedding.)

    I wasn't really serious about showing the engagement video. We may do a looped photo slide-show (not set to any specific music, just whatever playlist we decide to play for atmosphere during the reception)... but that's about it for that. Just trying to work out whatever ideas pop into my head, good or bad. I realize they're not all great ones.

  • Ceremony is at 1pm, reception will likely start at about 1:30, so no... it's not during a meal time. We have some generous family members that will be bringing family favorite finger foods and hors d'oeuvres, and of course there will be soft drinks and cake. (Neither of us drink, and again... mid-day, so we're having a dry wedding.)

    I wasn't really serious about showing the engagement video. We may do a looped photo slide-show (not set to any specific music, just whatever playlist we decide to play for atmosphere during the reception)... but that's about it for that. Just trying to work out whatever ideas pop into my head, good or bad. I realize they're not all great ones.
    General consensus is that slideshows off to the side where people can watch if they please to are fine, slideshows that you request a captive audiance for are not. 
    image

  • 1pm is absolutely meal time. Push the ceremony to 2 or 3 or serve lunch. Think about it. People will be getting ready, so they will not get a chance to eat lunch before the ceremony! Thus they will be hungry and need a meal.
    Agreed. 

    OP, really work your way backwards from your start and think about what people have to do to show up to your wedding.  They aren't going to eat lunch at 12:30 and just magically teleport themselves to your wedding. 

    Most people are going to make sure they are about 10-15 minutes early to get themselves situated and not risk running late.  That's 12:45.  Let's say for local guests it's about 20 minutes to get there.  That's 12:25.  I'm probably not going to make myself lunch and eat while fully attired and risk spilling on myself or have to brush my teeth and reapply my lipstick after lunch, so I'm really probably getting ready immediately before your wedding.  So let's say 15 minutes to shower (I'm probably going to need it cause I'll have been working out earlier in the morning most likely - could be more could be less depending on whether I need to shave).  15 minutes to do my hair.  15 minutes to do my make-up.  15 minutes to get dressed and accessorized.  Again, averages - I have short hair, but make-up might take me longer and it depends on if I've picked out my stuff ahead of time.  So that's 11:25.  Let's say 30 minutes to make and eat lunch (and clean up) and you're asking me to start lunch about 10:55 a.m., when the reality is on a weekend I probably slept in until 8 and had breakfast around 8:30.  Now also imagine that I am driving a longer distance to get to your wedding or my whole family and I had to get kids ready in addition to myself.

    I'd push everything by at least an hour or hour an a half if you don't want to serve lunch.  There's nothing wrong with a cake and punch reception, but there's an appropriate time of day to do that.  Start about 2:30 or 3:00, reception can start 3:00 or 3:30, and you're done by 4:30 or 5:00 and people can stop for dinner on their way home or have a reasonable amount of time to be back and get started cooking.
    PupatellaMairePoppyPrettyGirlLost
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    You need to push the start time back. If I have to be at your ceremony at 1, that means I'm getting ready before lunch, maybe earlier if there's travel time involved.
    Pupatellalc07InLoveInQueensPrettyGirlLost
  • Ceremony is at 1pm, reception will likely start at about 1:30, so no... it's not during a meal time. We have some generous family members that will be bringing family favorite finger foods and hors d'oeuvres, and of course there will be soft drinks and cake. (Neither of us drink, and again... mid-day, so we're having a dry wedding.)

    Yeah, 1pm is definitely meal time. Even if I just had a late breakfast before I started getting ready for a 1pm ceremony, you are looking at me having eaten at 10:30 ish. I'm going to want to eat again before 4pm.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    InLoveInQueensPrettyGirlLost
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited September 2015

    Ceremony is at 1pm, reception will likely start at about 1:30, so no... it's not during a meal time. We have some generous family members that will be bringing family favorite finger foods and hors d'oeuvres, and of course there will be soft drinks and cake. (Neither of us drink, and again... mid-day, so we're having a dry wedding.)


    I wasn't really serious about showing the engagement video. We may do a looped photo slide-show (not set to any specific music, just whatever playlist we decide to play for atmosphere during the reception)... but that's about it for that. Just trying to work out whatever ideas pop into my head, good or bad. I realize they're not all great ones.
    Yes, 1pm is during a meal time, so finger foods won't suffice unless you serve enough of them to constitute the equivalent of a full meal.
    InLoveInQueensMairePoppyPrettyGirlLost
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Ceremony is at 1pm, reception will likely start at about 1:30, so no... it's not during a meal time. We have some generous family members that will be bringing family favorite finger foods and hors d'oeuvres, and of course there will be soft drinks and cake. (Neither of us drink, and again... mid-day, so we're having a dry wedding.)

    I wasn't really serious about showing the engagement video. We may do a looped photo slide-show (not set to any specific music, just whatever playlist we decide to play for atmosphere during the reception)... but that's about it for that. Just trying to work out whatever ideas pop into my head, good or bad. I realize they're not all great ones.
    Is this a potluck reception?

    1. You, not your guests, should be providing the refreshments for your reception. 

    2. How will you know that you have enough food and that it has been properly handled? 

    3. One o'clock is lunch time. 


                       
    InLoveInQueensPrettyGirlLost
  • Wow... it started about dancing and became all about the food. Yes, it will be a potluck. And - shocker- someone in the family is making our wedding cake and said she'd be honored to do it for us! She does beautiful work.

    Potlucks are how this family does things. FI's mom and my stepmom are coordinating everything. We don't have time, space and budget for a fancy sit-down meal. But there will be plenty... there always is. I understand that my/his family may be a little different then yours.

    We WILL be taking care of a simple rehearsal dinner... but even so, being careful of a budget. $15/person just isn't possible for us. If we can manage $5-6/person, we'll be fine. For us, it's more about the time spent with the people than a luxurious party.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Wow... it started about dancing and became all about the food. Yes, it will be a potluck. And - shocker- someone in the family is making our wedding cake and said she'd be honored to do it for us! She does beautiful work.

    Potlucks are how this family does things. FI's mom and my stepmom are coordinating everything. We don't have time, space and budget for a fancy sit-down meal. But there will be plenty... there always is. I understand that my/his family may be a little different then yours.

    Shocker for you: Regardless of "how this family does things," potlucks are NOT appropriate for wedding receptions.  The reception is supposed to be a thank-you to your guests for attending your wedding, and they are NOT supposed to be expected to pay for or prepare it.  As soon as they brought it up, you should have shot it down.  What about your family and friends-are they supposed to bring their own thank-yous too?

    We WILL be taking care of a simple rehearsal dinner... but even so, being careful of a budget. $15/person just isn't possible for us. If we can manage $5-6/person, we'll be fine. For us, it's more about the time spent with the people than a luxurious party.

    Simple rehearsal dinners with low budgets are just fine, provided there is enough food for everyone.  Sandwiches, pizza, etc. are perfectly legitimate provisions for rehearsal dinners.  No need to get defensive about the budget!

    MairePoppyInLoveInQueensShesSoColdHeffalump
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 2015
    Well...Shocker -  No one is suggesting that a 'fancy sit down dinner' or 'luxurious party' is required.  And there's nothing wrong with a home made cake. But the reception is a thank you to the guests for attending the ceremony. It seems like the guests are providing their own thank you. 

    To answer the dancing question - no, you should not have a spotlight dance if your guests aren't going to be dancing. Since you want to limit your reception to two hours or less, you'll have enough time to thank each guest for attending and serve the wedding cake.

    Wow... it started about dancing and became all about the food. Yes, it will be a potluck. And - shocker- someone in the family is making our wedding cake and said she'd be honored to do it for us! She does beautiful work.

    Potlucks are how this family does things. FI's mom and my stepmom are coordinating everything. We don't have time, space and budget for a fancy sit-down meal. But there will be plenty... there always is. I understand that my/his family may be a little different then yours.

    We WILL be taking care of a simple rehearsal dinner... but even so, being careful of a budget. $15/person just isn't possible for us. If we can manage $5-6/person, we'll be fine. For us, it's more about the time spent with the people than a luxurious party.





                       
  • Wow... it started about dancing and became all about the food. Yes, it will be a potluck. And - shocker- someone in the family is making our wedding cake and said she'd be honored to do it for us! She does beautiful work.

    Potlucks are how this family does things. FI's mom and my stepmom are coordinating everything. We don't have time, space and budget for a fancy sit-down meal. But there will be plenty... there always is. I understand that my/his family may be a little different then yours.

    We WILL be taking care of a simple rehearsal dinner... but even so, being careful of a budget. $15/person just isn't possible for us. If we can manage $5-6/person, we'll be fine. For us, it's more about the time spent with the people than a luxurious party.


    Question that may help clear things up. You said that you have some very generous family members who are bringing food. I read that as you have family that out of the goodness of their hearts have asked what they can do to help out & that your FMIL & FSMIL are coordinating that so that you don't end up with nothing but brownies.  To me that isn't a pot luck, that just having a wonderful family. Now if you are asking all your guests to bring something to share or go "Hey Aunt Jane, I just love your apple pie, would you mind making enough of those to fee xx number of people at my wedding then that's where I agree with the other posters. If it's the first part, you are very lucky to be marrying into such a loving family.

    wink0erin
  • Oh, no... we're not asking everyone to bring something... or expecting one person to make a TON of something. We just have family members that show love this way... they make food. Both sides of the family, really. So yes, it'll be coordinated and we've been asked to make a "wish list" of our favorites to be included... but that's a gift from them to us. And we will definitely make sure they know how thankful we are!
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    How are you going to serve all of this food? How will it be kept at proper temperatures? What about people with food allergies? How will they know what foods to avoid? Does your family have experience feeding 200 people? Are you sure you will have enough food?

    If you a throwing a celebration like a wedding reception, you should be hosting it and footing the bill, not relying on your guests to purchase and make food. This is incredibly rude.
    Jen4948kimmiinthemittenPrettyGirlLost
  • I'm going to share what my FI and I are doing - wether it works or not most people in our families seem receptive

    We are getting married at 11 am (site time is controlled). Following that we are doing family portraits, and then a small reception. Reception will have finger food, deserts, cake, passed hor d'oeuvres and a wine toast.

    We are planning: 
    - A bridal party dance (Gay Gordans - a scottish dance) 
    - Bride/groom dance
    - Couple's dance. 

    After that we are just playing old crooner music through the facility sound system (dean martin etc) while people talk and eat. Its nice to dance to. But no DJ, and no other kinds of music EXCEPT that we each have a song for a dance with parents that will place at some point - but won't be announced. 

    I'm from a small town with many receptions that arent full meals but almost everyone gets their first married couple dance. Did you parents do one? Do you have that precedent to refer people to? 
  • wink0erinwink0erin member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited October 2015

    Potlucks are common where I'm from too, especially if the post-wedding event is held at someone's house or a small casual non-weddingy venue. It is a good idea to consider order/catering a staple item though, like BBQ for sandwiches or pizza or something, that way there's not too much strain on the family members who have offered to make finger foods and everyone gets to eat a lunch sized meal I wanted. I wouldn't have a potluck myself because I'd worry too much about keeping food warm/cold, and I'm not really a fan of attending such events, but you know your family/friends/community better than I do.

    The events I've been to like that didn't have DJs or official dancing, but often had some sort of music playing in the background and at least some sort of open space so if people want to dance they can. At these events the bridal party/bride and groom weren't announced by anyone, they just showed up, and if they did spotlight dances it just casually occurred without announcement before they sat down to eat.  

    I like slide shows, as long as they are off to the side on repeat. Making everyone watch one is a bit boring.

    EDIT: Just realized this was an old post brought back from the dead. :\

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

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    wink0erin said:

    Potlucks are common where I'm from too, especially if the post-wedding event is held at someone's house or a small casual non-weddingy venue. It is a good idea to consider order/catering a staple item though, like BBQ for sandwiches or pizza or something, that way there's not too much strain on the family members who have offered to make finger foods and everyone gets to eat a lunch sized meal I wanted. I wouldn't have a potluck myself because I'd worry too much about keeping food warm/cold, and I'm not really a fan of attending such events, but you know your family/friends/community better than I do.

    Even though potlucks are "common" where you are, they're not appropriate for receptions, because receptions are supposed to be to thank your guests for attending your wedding.  It's not appropriate to thank them by asking them to bring their own provisions.  Nor is it practical to ask out-of-town guests to do a potluck, because they have no place to cook or store food.

    The events I've been to like that didn't have DJs or official dancing, but often had some sort of music playing in the background and at least some sort of open space so if people want to dance they can. At these events the bridal party/bride and groom weren't announced by anyone, they just showed up, and if they did spotlight dances it just casually occurred without announcement before they sat down to eat.  

    I like slide shows, as long as they are off to the side on repeat. Making everyone watch one is a bit boring.

    More than "a bit" boring for many people, including me.

    EDIT: Just realized this was an old post brought back from the dead. :\


    InLoveInQueens
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    OP, to the dancing question. 

    Feel free to just skip the dancing. That goes for an afternoon wedding and for weddings at any time of day. It's not necessary.

    I went to two weddings that were only dinner with some background ambient music. The dancing was not missed. 
    ________________________________


    CMGragain
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