As a wedding DJ, I have noticed far too many couples that seem to, well, hate dancing that throw a dance party after their wedding dinner. There are many alternatives to celebrating your wedding reception without dancing if you’re not into cutting the matrimonial rug.
1. Set up a lounge area – I can not stress this one enough. Away from the eating tables/dinner area, create a “hang out” space where guests can go after the meal to mingle. Think about when you host a dinner party…you don’t sit around the table after you finish the meal. Everyone moves to the living room, right?
2. Have your DJ play good conversation or drinking music at a volume that your guests can talk over comfortably. Live music is another great option. You might opt for bluegrass or acoustic guitar over a sing-along cover band.
3. Lighting is everything! Set the dial to “romantic restaurant” rather than “night club.” Replace the disco ball with votive candles, LED uplighting, illuminated bar tables, lava lamps, or paper lanterns.
4. Get married during the day rather than at night, preferably outdoors. Not only will you save a bundle booking your venue and vendors for Saturday morning rather than Saturday night, but your guests are not going to expect forced dancing at a brunch wedding.
5. Serve coffee or wine. If you’re having a Winter wedding, how about hot-buttered rum, Bailey’s, or egg nog? Additionally, you can opt out of the entire meal and just have appetizers throughout the event. Again, appetizers are cheaper, but they also keep the mood going as guests wait to see what’ll be next out of the kitchen. All of the appetizer-only receptions I’ve been to were always a ton of fun.
6. For outdoor weddings, a bonfire or fire pit would be a must.
7. If you still feel the need to entertain your guests above and beyond this, have chess boards, small photo albums of the bride and groom to pass around, play bride and groom trivia, get a photo booth, or show a slide show. If you and your fiance love bowling, rent out the bowling alley for your reception. If you two love art, have the reception at an art gallery. Hire a tarot reader. Have an entertainment “pot luck” by asking guests to each bring or do one thing for entertainment, such as reading a poem they wrote, bringing cookies they made, or playing the bag pipes for you. How about “bride and groom” show and tell? Each guest brings something having to do with the bride or groom and shares it with the group.
In my experience, when the bride and groom don’t dance at the reception, the guests dance far less (honestly, they spend all night walking around asking, “Have you seen the bride?”). If you have no intention of dancing at your dance party, why are you having it? Yes, you sort of owe your guests the right to celebrate with you, but there are a million and a half ways to do that. Most couples that don’t dance still love music—often more so than other couples. So why not keep your favorite indie jams without having to worry about how you’ll get grandma and your bridesmaid to dance to them? Keep the music and skip the dancing. Really, it’s OK.
(Top image via this post)