Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ideas for Wedding Reception Activities

Not only was I unsure of a wedding venue, I wasn’t sure what I wanted for a reception.  I thought of a wedding reception as a dinner followed by dancing.  I don’t really like dances so much; I mean, I’d love to slow dance with Adam, but after that, it would be hours of loud music.  Adam likes dancing even less.  And because it’s a small wedding, I know most of the people invited are unattached, so we’d be the only ones slow dancing.  No, this wouldn’t work.  I needed ideas for other wedding reception activities. 

So I spent some time Googling around for wedding reception activities instead of dancing.  I searched for: “wedding reception no dancing.”  And I actually found ideas on lots of different wedding websites that I noted as alternatives to dinner + dancing = reception: 

Rejects from various wedding websites:
  • Boat: Good chance Adam and I will already be queasy with nerves, no sense adding seasickness to the mix
  • Clam bake: Too casual
  • Barbeque: Too casual.  Also, barbeque sauce + expensive white gown?  I think not.
My kind of wedding reception activities:
  • Brunch
  • Croquet, bocce ball, badminton or horseshoes
  • Lunch at a nice restaurant with a good view
  • Cards and board games
  • Swimming/hot tub
That’s IT!  All these wedding reception activities are really homey.  Not MY home, not mom’s home, but a vacation home could have any of these amenities!  I think this is the way to go!  We could get married outside, and then have people all over the house for the reception instead of all in the same room with us.  I could decorate prior, and set up activities.  I could have maps with the locations of each of the wedding reception activities for the guests.  I’d set up the brunch so they get the maps at beginning of the table.  It would all be homey and comfortable.  No driving from one thing to the other.  Maybe we could even have some computer games in one room, like Wii bowling.  Cape Cod would have really nice ocean side vacation homes.  We could have our honeymoon in the same house or take a limo to nearby hotel.  If I rent it for the week I’ll have time to set up whatever I want, or 2 days might be more economical.  Things were really falling into place!

Then I saw another tidbit on one of the wedding websites I found.  Someone mentioned that the entertainment should be “undanceable.”  So instead of hiring a band, have instruments, such as a string quartet.


Adam and I both love classical music, and that would make a perfect backdrop to all the low key wedding reception activities going on!

Then I had a third revelation:  Adam’s family can stay in the house instead of a hotel!  They should come the week before so I can entertain them!  Then we can have a rehearsal dinner, they can enjoy the house for a few days, then they leave the day after the wedding since Adam and I will go on honeymoon.  My mom and brother could get them to the airport, probably.  Wow, it would be amazing to be able to return the hospitality that his family gave me when Adam first met, and the following summer.  Cooking for them in a beautiful house would be so much nicer than having them stuck in hotel rooms for the duration.  This would be cozier and probably more economical than renting an over-sized function hall for a day.

This created a lot of questions in my mind, though. 
  • Should I get en extra bedroom so I could stay there with them, or drive in every day? 
  • Would his parents be comfortable staying in the same house since they’re fairly recently divorced?
  • Where would they like to visit once they’re here?
  • How does the breaking down of the wedding/cleanup happen?  Do I hire a wedding coordinator just for that even if I do all the booking and designing myself?
  • What “stuff” do I need since this isn’t the typical all inclusive wedding venue?
I really hope I’m not setting myself up for more stress with this idea, because it really does seem perfect for what I need.


  1. I think it would be nice if you could find two houses next to each other. I photographed a wedding last year where two families who had neighboring vacation homes split the family events and rooms between the two homes. Of course, if you find a large enough house with other hotel, carriage house, or guest house options nearby, you may only need one estate.

    Definitely talk to your mom and dad how they feel about staying in the same home, and how they would envision a pleasant weekend experience.

    If you're on Cape Cod in the summer, you'll have plenty of visiting options nearby.

    Definitely hire a wedding coordinator! I can give you recommendations if you need them. Planning a wedding with a lot of DIY elements requires one person to be fully dedicated to making all of those little things come together while you're busy getting ready and relaxing before your huge commitment. You do NOT want to be the person everyone has to go to for questions on your wedding day. You want to be a guest at your own party so that you can enjoy the company of your guests who have come to celebrate with you, you do NOT want to be running around in your wedding dress behind the scenes making things work.

    If you plan to have more people than a typical dinner party (8-10), your best bet is to hire a caterer. A caterer and/or wedding planner will be able to provide everything you need from a tent to tables to linens to silverware, to electrical outlets and generators for commercial cooking. While there are many things you can DIY before your wedding, cooking for your guests is NOT something you should be doing unless you're planning to have cold sandwiches and punch that can all be made well in advance before you get into your wedding attire.

    I love home weddings... and the best ones happen flawlessly and stress-free when they have professionals making it all happen.

  2. Wow, thank you for all your insight!

    We do plan to talk to Adam's parents about what they prefer for accommodations. Of course it will be tricky having 2 houses unless the houses are REALLY close to each other since they can't drive at all in this country. Getting them out and about for the week would be all on me.

    As for leaving things to the professionals, I do plan to hire a caterer (I have one in mind) and I wasn't sure they tend to take care of linens and silverware, and I am REALLY surprised to hear they could provide a tent! That was the bulk of my worry right there. I'll ask her about that now that I know it's not an unreasonable question :)

    I'd love to hear your recommendations for coordinators as well though. Right now I'm trying to gather as much information as possible. I have over a year to process it all. Until Adam's visa is approved, that's all I can do; I can't set anything into motion until then.

    Thanks again for your help!

  3. Start with these two coordinators...

  4. Oh wow, those prices are more reasonable than I was expecting. Thanks again!


I love comments, so please let me know what you think of my finds, or if you have any additional wedding tips for me!

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