Wedding Reception Alternatives to Dancing

Wedding Reception Alternatives to Dancing

When I speak to couples about planning their wedding reception, most assume that the night must play out like a great night at a dance club. A lot of the couples I speak to don’t even want the dancing to go on all night, but don’t believe there is an alternative. I think this mind set comes from multiple reasons, the 2 main ones being:

1. The couples is afraid to stray from tradition.

2. The couple doesn't know how else to entertain their guest.

If a couple mentions that they don't think they'll have a traditional reception, they are then overwhelmed by the number of gasps from friends & family who think no dancing at a wedding is the worse decision the couple can make. And so the couple plans a wedding, with dancing, even though they hate to dance and will feel forced to dance the day-of since after all, it is their wedding day. 

There are two types of guest at a wedding reception: the Macarena-Moonwalking-Wiggling guests and the “there is no amount of money that can get me on the dance floor” guests. I’ll admit that I am part of the second group I mentioned. It’s not that I’m not a bad dancer or that I don't think it's fun ... it's just that the act of dancing, mostly in front of others, is simply something I dread. I guess you can say I’m a “silly dancer” - you know, when a song I like comes on, I’ll do a little shake. I do appreciate dance as an art form (my best friend is a dancer!) and I truly admire people with slick moves, but it’s not something I look forward to.

So, in honour of all fellow non-dancing couples, I’ve compiled a list of ways to take out the dancing at your wedding reception, but still have a great wedding that's fun for all (I apologize to all traditional wedding reception lovers in advance, xoxo):

#1. The Lounge
Set up the dance floor with cocktail tables and comfy seating. Hire a musician to play Jazz tunes while people mingle. You could even rent a foosball and air hockey table. Dedicate a section of the night to show a slide show or a "short film" that focuses on your relationship, as well as friends and family. you could also arrange your venue to have an area for the first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, and cake cutting. An evening wedding would be perfect here. Similar to Keri & Dave's wedding we did back in July of this year (see photos below!);"I do" strictly at sunset ... fireworks to follow. 

#2. Board Game Wedding
If you’ve ever been to Snakes & Lattes in Toronto, you know that even those who are not familiar with the fun and intensity that comes with playing a board game, can get insanely into it. You can set up benches or long tables with specific games around your venue, or have a giant game of trivial pursuit with each table number as a team. The beauty of this idea is that you can still have a dance reception for those who love dancing. You'll be catering to the "two types of guests" I mentioned earlier in this post. If you're curious about this idea, but aren't sure how it will play out, go downtown with your partner and friends and test it out. This is also a great idea for those of you having a second reception because your wedding was strictly family & close friends. 

#3. Karaoke Night
This one can be tricky as some people hate singing as much as others hate dancing. However, if you know that the majority of your guest love karaoke then go for it! You can set up a stage and allow guest to sing their hearts out. Some guest might need a shot or two before they do this so start out the night with a shot toast instead of a champagne toast! I would suggest that you and your partner start the show. You can wing it or rehearse something fun & special. also, you can give out prizes and throw in a photo booth to help add to the mood. 

#4. Formal Brunch/Dinner
There’s nothing wrong with simply having a nice meal with friends and family for your wedding reception. Some couples are extreme "foodies" (a term I learned teaching high school students, haha) who say that the food they serve at their wedding is the most important aspect of the reception. You can do a brunch buffet or a 5 course dinner with a menu that you & your partner designed. Allow time for funny and loving speeches. It's also a good idea to set up tables in an intimate way, such as a “U” shape or rectangles, so that everyone feels included. 

#5. Unique Venue
Think about a pastime or subject that you & your partner love, then work your wedding reception around it! You could rent out a bowling ally, the aquarium or zoo, take your guest to a chocolate-making workshop or a paint nite

I hope you find these ideas helpful. I hate seeing couples stressing out about having to dance at their reception (it happens more often than you think!). Remember, if you are taking a spin on the traditional reception make sure to notify your guest. Work with your wedding planner to come up with a creative timeline of events. the possibilities of your wedding reception are endless. There no "real rules" other than enjoying yourself and celebrating your marriage.