We know the story: ceremony, breakfast, evening reception, rinse and repeat. For couples looking to do something a little different, this structure can be somewhat restrictive. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. If you’re not too fussed about hosting a wedding reception or have absolutely no intention of going through the stress of planning one, you’ve come to the right place.
Planning a wedding is hard. Seriously, have you seen how long the to-do list is? And those are just tasks to check off. Add in the emotions, personal interactions, and potentially difficult situations you’ll encounter along the way, and having a guide to help you through it is downright necessary. That’s where we come in.
A reception is a celebration that follows the wedding ceremony. Receptions include many rituals and traditions, but they most often include a meal, music, and dancing. This celebration is held as a welcome for those who attended the wedding.
But have you ever wondered why the party after a wedding is called a reception? The word “reception” means the action or process of receiving something. The couple receives their community, i.e. friends and family, for the first time as a newly married couple. Likewise, their friends and family receive the newlyweds as a married couple.
We’ve rounded up 10 all-too-common wedding etiquette mistakes that you might not even know you’re making, as well as how to avoid them. So, don’t do anything before you’ve read through this list (and share it with your engaged friends, too).
Exchange vows in the garden or out in the vineyards or up on the rooftop, then move on to the ballroom or barn or courtyard for cocktails and reception. While this sequence of events has become the wedding norm, many couples are still opting for two separate event venues—especially those that want a more specialized ceremony space!
If your wedding fantasy has always included saying “I do” in front of the crashing surf, or on a mountaintop, or in a soaring redwood forest, then your perfect all-in-one venue options will be more limited—and maybe even more costly. In this case, booking two different event venues may involve a bit more effort, but sometimes it’s the only way to get exactly what you want!
There are several reasons one can have a wedding without a reception. And trust me, weddings without receptions can be a wonderful experience for those looking for ways to cut costs. You can still have a great wedding celebration even without a reception, provided you have a small guest list, a really, very small guest list.
Of course, even when you don’t plan to host a reception, you will need to feed your guests. Believe you me, there are myriads of ways to have a unique wedding that doesn’t have to break the bank. For instance, you have to head out to a restaurant after the ceremony and enjoy your guests or cut it entirely out and save your money for a great honeymoon after the wedding. If you are also looking for a wedding without a reception, you need to read this post for sure. Here we are sharing with you some wonderful ideas to have an alternative to the reception or to host a completely no-reception wedding.
Table of Contents
- 1 Reception Origins
- 2 Wedding Receptions Today
- 3 But Why Wouldn’t You Want A Reception?
- 4 Do you legally need a reception?
- 5 Alternatives to the Reception
- 6 Can I Host An Alternative Wedding Reception?
- 7 Why Should You Have A Reception Anyway?
Weddings were not nearly as extravagant a century ago. In Western culture, up until World War II, wedding celebrations were typically held in the bride’s home, and the family’s financial standing dictated the style of the reception. A wealthier family might host a fancy ball, while a middle-class family might host an afternoon luncheon and tea.
During the 1950s, dance halls became more popular, and the guest lists began to grow, as the bride and groom were no longer limited by the number of people their homes could hold. These days, the average number of guests at an American wedding is 131.
Wherever the reception was held, guests were greeted with a receiving line in which the bride and groom, hosts, and parents would greet every single guest.
Wedding Receptions Today
Today wedding receptions commonly occur in banquet halls, hotel ballrooms, wedding venues, and church and community halls. Smaller wedding receptions might occur at a restaurant or in a backyard. Instead of holding the ceremony in a religious institution like a church, couples today often streamline the day by holding the ceremony and reception at the same place.
The receiving line, which can be time-consuming, has since faded in popularity. Today wedding parties are typically introduced with a grand entrance presented by the wedding band or DJ.
But Why Wouldn’t You Want A Reception?
Probably the most common time for couples to not have reception is if they elope. You might love the traditionalist values of marriage but dread the concept of being the centre of attention. As such, foreign weddings make the perfect excuse for skipping out on reception. Running off to a sunny beach destination to say your vows sounds perfect to us.
Moreover, if we’re completely honest, large family affairs are not always a dreamy occasion. A family feud or friend groups that don’t get on could make anyone want to avoid the whole thing! If you’re not a fan of family events in general, or particularly a party that is solely dedicated to you, these are certainly reasons to skip the reception.
Furthermore, let’s not forget, weddings are notoriously expensive events. It’s the reception that uses the majority of the budget, so skipping it will save lots of money! Take into consideration food, entertainment and decorations, on top of the cost for venue hire, and you can see why!
Do you legally need a reception?
Think of reception, including food, music and entertainment, as an after-party. Once you leave your ceremony, you are legally married. Because of this, there are no laws regarding what you can and cannot include. As a result, you certainly can skip out on the reception altogether!
That being said, individual venues will have their own set of rules. For example, some may ban fireworks or marquees, while others won’t allow certain types of decorations. Most importantly, keep an eye out for venues that charge you to hire for an entire day. While you don’t have to resort to a registry office, many licensed venues may restrict you if you choose not to have a reception and may charge you anyway!
Alternatives to the Reception
Host a party at a restaurant
Couples looking to cut cost can always plan an intricate wedding with just a few guests. As with fewer people, it becomes straightforward to manage the whole event, and the necessity for the reception can also be ruled out quickly. You can call your guests to some restaurant and have a wonderful post-wedding celebration instead of having a reception at some expensive venue. If you want you to even organize your party at some bar or disc or pub or club anywhere, you want to. See how beautiful the whole thing could be, especially for couples looking for some quirky celebrations.
Organizing a party at some restaurant or bar will come out to be an easy-going, cheap, fun, and relaxed alternative no reception wedding. The whole experience will be more like hanging out with friends rather than a typical wedding reception.
DIY your party in the backyard
Another alternative to reception is to organize a party in your backyard. Actually, with fewer guests, you can go to any extent of quirkiness. It won’t be wrong if we say that it gives you the privilege to plan an outside the box wedding party. Backyard parties have always been popular; if you want, you can organize your wedding party in your backyard or someone else’s backyard. It will save a lot of money and come out to be an excellent event for all you and your guests. You can always DIY a party in the backyard. All you will need to arrange is – décor, food, drinks, music, wedding guests’ favours, etc. And all these can easily be arranged by your family and close friends.
Believe it or not, a celebration just with your close people can make it really happening and a great event to cherish all your life. You and your guests will have a lot of fun at the event organized in your backyard.
Organize your party at some club
Another alternative to a no reception wedding is to organize it in some club. Club parties are similar to restaurant parties, wherein all you and your guests will need to do is – HAVE A LOT OF FUN, all in all. Club parties are also unique, inexpensive, fun, and relaxed alternatives. Your guests will have a lot of fun in the club. Music and everything will already be there, and you don’t need to pay for it separately. Isn’t it a great idea to have a lot of fun and enjoyment in just a tiny amount? I know you agree to it!!
Other Ideas Saving Money
Save on wedding favours: However, wedding favours have become very popular for the past few decades, but it never essential to spend a lot of money on wedding favours or buy only expensive gifts for your wedding guests. You can always DIY wedding favours or you can plan to buy some small wedding gifts for your guests to cut on cost. Just go online or to a nearby gift store and check out for an excellent discount wedding favours. Wedding favours are not about the cost of the gifts, and it’s about the love that you carry for people who make time for your wedding.
Organize your party during happy hours: Yeah, an excellent idea to save a lot of money on liquor. Of course, liquor is a pricey item at any wedding. If you are planning to organize your party at some bar or club, it would be great to organize your wedding party during happy hours. It will allow you to save a lot of money on liquor, and your guests would also be able to enjoy a variety of cocktails at the club or bar.
Organize your wedding party earlier in the day: This is again a wonderful alternative to no-reception weddings, where you cut on cost. When you invite guests in the early hours of the day, the chance of using liquor is also minimized. And as I told you, liquor is an expensive item at any wedding. Saving on liquor will help you save a lot of money as this can cut down on costs because less drinking at the party will eventually lead to cost-cutting. Besides, you will be able to save on décor as not lighting would be required for a day celebration.
Arrange for your own music: Of course, music is an essential component of a wedding celebration. And hiring a DJ or a band will only add to the cost, which is not wise when we are looking for cutting cost at the wedding. So, the best you can do is create your own playlist. Ask your close friend or family member to be in charge of the music at the party. All you have to do is set your MP3 Player (Yeah, use it, you don’t need to pay for expensive DJs), iPod, or any other device. And let the party GO ON!!
Chuck the cake and go for dessert bar: Undoubtedly, reception cakes are very expensive. And there is no point spending on such a massive cake with just a few guests. Instead, you can arrange for a dessert bar, where you can have and have cookies, pies, chocolates, and more. A dessert bar will really cost you less compared to the wedding cake.
DIY your party décor: If you are planning to organize your wedding party in the backyard, you do not need to spend on expensive décor, instead DIY it, and it will look mesmerizing. You can use paper lanterns, ribbons, balloons, original planters, empty beer bottles, fabric, etc., to create a wonderful ambience.
No receptions weddings are a great way to cut costs. The idea is to have a great wedding party in your pocket without going extravagant. And trust that these small affairs do make for a great time. The time that you are going to cherish all your life. So, go quirky and have a fantastic wedding without a reception.
Can I Host An Alternative Wedding Reception?
Many couples are now looking for something other than the dinner and a DJ format. For example, you could take your guests to a restaurant, have tea and cake in the village hall, even have a show! There are so many options to consider to make your after-wedding special for you as a couple and for your guests.
A reception needn’t be a big affair. Initially, the wedding breakfast was for the wedding party, while the bride and groom left at midday on holiday. An evening reception wasn’t a common thing until much later. Therefore, you could have a low-key reception instead of ignoring one completely. Have a picnic with your closest friends and family after the ceremony, or go back to your house and turn up the music. You could do something wholly original and go to the cinema to watch a film. There are no rules as to what your reception has to include, so do what you want to, and enjoy it.
Why Should You Have A Reception Anyway?
With that being said, consider your guests. Yes, it may be that you and your partner desperately want to have the legal side of a wedding and then call it quits. However, you cannot expect tens of people to dress up for your wedding and travel to your venue for just half an hour of vows. A reception is typically a thank you to your guests as much as anything. If you genuinely want the only family, this might be okay. If you have a small guest list, you can invite everyone to a restaurant afterwards, perhaps, or have a BBQ in your garden. But, if you intend to have a lavish ceremony without a reception, your guests might start to feel hard-done-by.
Remember that your guests will bring you gifts. This means that they are paying (in some way) for your wedding and life afterwards. Even if you request no presents, many guests will feel the need to bring them anyway. Furthermore, think about how much money each person has spent individually. They want to dress up and look nice for you and may have to pay for travel or accommodation, so don’t be rude and leave them out of any party afterwards.
If you do not want a reception, don’t invite any guests. By law, you must have at least two witnesses in the UK, but these could be people at the registry office. Otherwise, you could elope and marry with just the two of you and a registrar. As soon as you invite people, their needs are part of your big day.