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What can I do instead of a reception?

A wedding reception is not necessary for a number of reasons. And if you're wanting to minimise money, a wedding without a reception can be a lovely alternative. Having a modest, intimate wedding ceremony and celebration without a reception is still possible.

Even if you don't plan on having a reception, you still need to provide food for your guests. I assure you that there are countless options available that won't break the money but will still make your wedding day special and memorable. For instance, instead of spending money on an expensive reception, you could instead take your guests out to dinner after the wedding and split the bill. If you're interested in a wedding without the need for a reception, you should read this. Here, we'll provide you a few great options if you'd like to skip the reception altogether or find an alternative.

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The wedding day is all about the happy couple, so make it special whatever you both wish. A wedding followed by a huge party is a common tradition, and it's easy to get caught up in the routine. This can be really stressful to plan, and it can also cost a lot of money.

Instead, divide the wedding and celebration into two distinct days. Even while it may seem obvious, many individuals really confuse the two.

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Table of Contents

Why Would You Not Want a Reception?

If a couple decides to elope, they are much more likely to skip the reception than any other reason. Even if you deeply cherish marriage's conventional ideals, you may feel uncomfortable being the spotlight's focal point. This is why nuptials abroad are the ideal pretext for skipping the reception. We think it's wonderful that you're planning to escape to a tropical locale to exchange your vows.

Also, let's be real here: big family gatherings aren't usually a picture-perfect event. Anyone would prefer to stay away from a fight amongst family members or between friends if given the choice. These are all good reasons to forego the reception if you aren't a fan of either large family gatherings or parties that are focused on you specifically.

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Why Should You Have Reception Anyway?

Therefore, remember your visitors. It's possible that you and your fiancée only want to go through the motions of a wedding ceremony before calling it quits. You can't expect dozens of guests to make the effort to get dressed up and come to your wedding location if the ceremony itself will be less than an hour. Having a reception is a great way to show appreciation to your guests. This could be OK if having your own unique family is a priority for you. With a short guest list, you can opt to celebrate in a local eatery or host a backyard barbeque. If, however, you plan on having a magnificent ceremony but no reception, your guests may begin to feel shortchanged.

Don't forget to expect presents from your guests. This means they are (indirectly) footing the bill for your nuptials and post-wedding existence. Many guests will still feel obligated to provide a gift even if you specifically ask them not to. In addition, consider how much money everyone has spent. Don't be disrespectful and leave them out of the afterparty; they've probably gone to a lot of trouble to get ready and look great for you, and they may even have had to pay for travel or lodging.

Reception Alternatives

Dinner Party at a Restaurant

To minimise expenses, engaged couples can always host an intimate ceremony for only a small number of family and friends. Since fewer people are involved, everything is much simpler to organise, and the reception is unnecessary. Instead of spending tons of money on a reception hall, you might invite your guests to a local restaurant and have a fantastic party to celebrate the wedding's end. Furthermore, you can plan your party at any establishment of your choosing, be it a bar, disco, pub, or club. Witness the potential beauty of the situation, especially for unconventionally celebrating couples.

In place of a formal wedding reception, throwing a party at a local eatery or bar is a simple, inexpensive, entertaining, and carefree option. It will feel more like a party with good friends than a formal wedding reception.

DIY Party at the Backyard

A backyard party is an alternative to a formal reception. Actually, when you're hosting a smaller group of people, you have more freedom to be eccentric. It's safe to say that this opens up a lot of creative possibilities for your wedding reception. You can host your wedding reception in your own backyard, or in the backyard of a friend or family member if that's more convenient. I'm telling you, not only will you be able to save a lot of money, but the party will end up being a huge success for you and all of your guests. It's easy to throw a party by yourself in the garden. The only things left to plan are the finishing touches, including decorations, food, drinks, music, wedding favours, etc. and your loved ones can help you set all this up in no time.

Even if you don't think it's possible, a small party with your closest friends and family members can turn it into an unforgettable experience. Your outdoor party will be a blast for you and all your friends and family.

Throw a Party at a Club

Weddings without receptions can also be held in a club. All you and your guests need to do at a club party, just like at a restaurant party, is - HAVE A GREAT TIME. As an additional option, club parties are novel, low-cost, entertaining, and stress-free. Each and every one of your club's guests will have a fantastic time. There will also be no additional costs for the inclusion of music and the like. Don't you think it's fantastic that we can have so much pleasure and satisfaction while spending so little? Yes, I know you agree with me.

Ideas for Non-Standard Wedding Ceremonies

If you stay within your state's legal guidelines, though, you are free to alter any part of it you like.

If you're not into the whole wedding in the church and traditional reception thing, then keep on reading. Under "What to Do Instead of a Church Wedding," you can find ideas for your no-wedding wedding.

At the outset, allow me to offer a free suggestion. For those unfortunate visitors who would love to be present at your wedding but are unable to do so for any reason, consider live-streaming the ceremony.

  • Involve the kids in the wedding promise, and give everyone lots of embraces and kisses by making it a family wedding rather than just the couple's.
  • During the wedding ceremony, the parents of the bride and groom will each "let go" their child to the person who will become the newly wedded couple.
  • If you want to avoid the traditional "bride giving away," have both sets of parents "take in" the intended spouse.
  • Don't bother with flowers and instead bring ferns. The bouquets could also be made out of paper, buttons, or brooches.
  • You might also carry a photograph or some other personal valuables.
  • In replacement of having people throw grains seed or flowers at you as you leave the church, play an upbeat song and get everyone dancing.
  • Put away the hat and veil and go bareheaded.
  • If no one seems like a good fit to be the flower girl or ring bearer, don't have them.
  • During the ceremony, the bridal party should face the guests.

Non-Standard Wedding Attire

Choosing unique wedding clothes is just another method to set your big day apart. The blushing bride must put on white gowns as the usual custom. There will be bridesmaids dressed in the wedding's theme colour. Tuxedos of a muted hue worn by the groomsmen.

Ideas for Unconventional Weddings

  • If you don't want to wear a gown to your wedding, consider wearing wedding pants or another option.
  • The bridesmaids can wear white, but you should get a dress in your favourite colour for the big day.
  • Rather than having your bridesmaids wear dresses designed exclusively for bridesmaids, consider having them put on cocktail gowns that go after a colour or theme.
  • Instead of renting tuxedos, have the gentlemen dress in suits or shirt and suspenders.

Three things are required of every groom and bride at their wedding celebration, as dictated by custom. But what if you're not into being the one to cut the cake, lead the first dance, or toss the garter and bouquet? With these entertaining substitutes, you can still have a memorable party.

Check out some of Melbourne’s best Wedding Singers to help you celebrate on your special day.

Cutting the Cake

What It Means

Let's pause to recognise the evolution of wedding custom from shattering the cake over the bride's head to simply...cutting it. The first duty of a married couple is to cut the wedding cake and share a slice together as a symbol of their commitment to supporting one another in the years to come.

The Alternatives

Select an outing with your significant other in which you share food and drink as a homage to this tradition. For those of you who share our passion for sugary treats, we'll be stacking doughnuts, macarons, cookies, crepes, pies, and even setting up a chocolate fountain. You can skip the dessert course entirely by serving a signature drink or starting the celebration with a wine tower poured by you and your better half.

New Concept

A piata in the shape of a cake sounds like a great idea! This is a fun and creative way to thank your visitors and send them home with a delicious treat.

The Bouquet & Garter Toss

What It Means

Guests who are not married but wish to share the bride's good fortune are expected to steal either the bride's bouquet or an article of her apparel.

The Bouquet

You can give your bouquet to the oldest married pair, the person who introduced you to your spouse, or the couple who are about to get married if you don't know any single women or don't want to single anyone out. If you insist on having a flower toss, at least make it fun for everyone involved by releasing a breakaway bouquet or throwing a little posy with a pampering prise for the lucky catcher.

The Garter

You aren't eager to remove your garters and expose your legs, are you? Instead of throwing a bouquet of flowers, your groom can toss a boutonniere and trade it for a bottle of liquor. One more cool (and cheeky) idea is to give the fellas a "Little Black Book" with lottery tickets or a gift card inside.

New Concept

Consider putting together a fortunate door "present bouquet" of flowers, chocolates, and a movie pass to get everyone in on the action. Additionally, you might plan a candy toss for the youngsters so they feel included.

The Very First Waltz

What It Means

The tradition of having the guests of honour dance the opening dance at a formal ball dates back hundreds of years. You and your spouse can now take the initial of many steps together as a husband and wife and participate in this moment together.

The Alternatives

There's no need to rehearse a spectacular routine to get the after-dinner party started; if you'd rather not be the centre of attention, a band, disk jockey, silly entertainer, or sing-along station are all excellent alternatives. The order of activities can be inverted by having a "Last Dance" before the actual wedding. There will be no other concern than having a good time with you.

New Concept

Arrange a private area for you and your spouse to enjoy few drinks and appetizers before the reception so that you can spend some quality time together before everyone else arrives.

These traditions are essential to some people's idea of what a wedding should be like, while for others they are merely a taste of the amazing things you can do at a reception. If there is one thing you must accomplish, what is it? Don't be afraid to shake up your routine once in a while.

Do You Legally Need a Reception?

The reception is like an after party, complete with food, music, and entertainment. Once you walk out of the wedding, you are considered legally married. As a result, you are free to incorporate whatever you like without fear of violating any rules. Therefore, you can confidently avoid attending the reception.

Where Can I Host My Wedding Ceremony?

First, will it be a religious or civil ceremony? If you can't make up your mind between the two, read this article.

It's as easy as that if you're keen on getting married in a church or temple. You should know that alcohol is not permitted on church property (consult the minister), so popping bottles of champagne to celebrate your nuptials in the churchyard might not be possible.

It's also good to note that some churches require you or your partner to be a member of the parish. Be sure to check that out before setting your heart on the quaint little chapel in a neighbouring town.

Check out our post on What should I expect from a wedding DJ?

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Can I Hold a Non-Standard Wedding Reception?

The traditional wedding reception, which typically consists of dinner and a DJ, is no longer satisfying for many modern couples. Your options for entertaining guests include going out to eat, hosting a tea party at the local community centre, or even putting on a performance! There are a variety of ways you can make the time after your wedding memorable for both you and your guests.

It's not necessary to go all out for a reception. Traditionally, the wedding party would have breakfast together before the bride and husband left for their honeymoon around noon. It wasn't until much later that nighttime receptions became the norm. Therefore, instead of completely neglecting a reception, you may hold a low-key one. After the ceremony, you and your loved ones can either have a picnic in the park or party it up at your home. You may try something totally different and see a movie at a theatre. Do whatever you want with your reception; there are no requirements.

 

Conclusion

There is no reason why you can't have a small, personal wedding ceremony and celebration without a reception. You can save money on the reception by treating your guests to a nice meal after the ceremony. Elopement is the most common reason given for not attending a wedding reception. It's possible that you and your future spouse are solely interested in a formal wedding ceremony. You can demonstrate your appreciation to your guests by hosting a reception.

If you're only inviting a small number of people to your party, you'll have more flexibility in choosing where to have it. A backyard barbeque can replace the traditional formal reception. Hosts can be more creative and original while entertaining a smaller audience. When you're hosting the party by yourself, the garden is the perfect location. When attending a club party, the only requirement is that you and your guests ENJOY YOURSELVES. If you're having a wedding with ferns, pizza-flower bouquets, or tuxedos, you can ditch the headpiece and veil.

At a wedding, the bride and groom have three duties: to cut the cake, to lead the first dance, and to toss the garter. But what if you'd rather not be the one to serve as the ceremonial cake-cutter? Amusing alternatives to the responsibilities of a married pair are provided here. The reception is similar to an after party in that there is food, music, and sometimes even some entertainment. Do something different every so often; life gets boring otherwise.

Once the newlyweds exit the ceremony, they are officially married under law. You can comfortably skip the reception without feeling guilty. Is it OK if my wedding reception doesn't follow the norm? The week immediately following your wedding can be made special in many different ways. The reception does not require lavish preparations.

FAQS About Wedding Reception

The Newlyweds have finally arrived. After the newlyweds have completed taking pictures, their guests can choose to play a special song for them or just greet them with "Congratulations" as they enter the reception hall. Once the happy couple and their attendants have taken their seats, the reception often begins with the serving of cocktails and appetisers.

The primary distinction between the ceremony and the reception is the reason for holding each. The goal of the wedding ceremony is to formally join the couple together as husband and wife. On the other side, the reception is a gathering thrown to honour the newlyweds.

Wedding Reception Order of Events
  • Cocktail Hour.
  • Arrivals. 
  • Dinner. 
  • Toasts. 
  • First Dance. 
  • Dancing. 
  • Bouquets & Garter Tosses. 
  • Cake Cutting.
  • Picture taking
Wedding Reception Checklist: Things to Do
  • Pick the wedding date. 
  • Wedding Venue. Book and reserve a reception venue. 
  • Plan Your Wedding Reception Food and Beverages. Hire a caterer if needed. 
  • Wedding Cake. Hire a wedding cake vendor. 
  • Wedding Reception Music. 
  • Flowers. 
  • Photography and Videography. 
  • Rentals.

While the majority of newlyweds host supper parties to celebrate their nuptials, some choose to host a reception during the day. The reception's specifics, including its venue, are ultimately determined by the newlyweds themselves.

CONTENT SUMMARY

  • A wedding reception is not necessary for a number of reasons.
  • If you're wanting to minimise money, a wedding without a reception can be a lovely alternative.
  • Having a modest, intimate wedding ceremony and celebration without a reception is still possible.
  • Even if you don't plan on having a reception, you still need to provide food for your guests.
  • Here, we'll provide you a few great options if you'd like to skip the reception altogether or find an alternative.
  • Instead, divide the wedding and celebration into two distinct days.
  • This is why nuptials abroad are the ideal pretext for skipping the reception.
  • These are all good reasons to forego the reception if you aren't a fan of either large family gatherings or parties that are focused on you specifically.
  • Having a reception is a great way to show appreciation to your guests.
  • With a short guest list, you can opt to celebrate in a local eatery or host a backyard barbeque.
  • Don't forget to expect presents from your guests.
  • Instead of spending tons of money on a reception hall, you might invite your guests to a local restaurant and have a fantastic party to celebrate the wedding's end.
  • In place of a formal wedding reception, throwing a party at a local eatery or bar is a simple, inexpensive, entertaining, and carefree option.
  • A backyard party is an alternative to a formal reception.
  • You can host your wedding reception in your own backyard, or in the backyard of a friend or family member if that's more convenient.
  • It's easy to throw a party by yourself in the garden.
  • Weddings without receptions can also be held in a club.
  • All you and your guests need to do at a club party, just like at a restaurant party, is - HAVE A GREAT TIME.
  • The traditional wedding reception, which typically consists of dinner and a DJ, is no longer satisfying for many modern couples.
  • There are a variety of ways you can make the time after your wedding memorable for both you and your guests.
  • It's not necessary to go all out for a reception.
  • Instead of completely neglecting a reception, you may hold a low-key one.
  • After the ceremony, you and your loved ones can either have a picnic in the park or party it up at your home.
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