3 ways to have a dance-free wedding reception

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My fiance and I are having a bit of trouble (okay, a lot of trouble) figuring out how to entertain our guests during our reception.

The whole dinner and dancing thing really doesn't suit us, but when I've asked for advice from the “professionals” in our area, their eyes glaze over at the thought of not having a father-daughter dance, etc, etc.

What can we do at our reception if we want to avoid dancing?

If you don't like dancing, ug: there's nothing worse than hosting a miserable, requisite dance floor that you spend the whole night avoiding.

Luckily for you, there are lots of non-dancing options for your guests …

1. Brunch wedding


First off, the easiest way to avoid the expectation of dancing is to have your wedding earlier in the day — have a brunch wedding or afternoon reception.

No-one expects to cut a rug at 2pm. Your guests won't even notice the lack of dancing because you're breaking the whole “wedding, dinner, reception with dancing” template.

Brunch weddings are rad.

You get to serve mimosas!

2. Do lawn games instead!

Ring toss at wedding

If you're going for a backyard or garden wedding in the afternoon, you can keep your guests entertained with lawn games like croquet or badminton — imagine the photos! We have so many great ideas in our lawn games archive.

3. Sing instead of dance!

Belt it

For an evening/indoors reception, you definitely have your work cut out for you. Old habits die hard, and people come with their expectations clutched like little sequined handbags from hell. A couple ideas to keep the non-dancing guests busy could be a wedding photobooth (how much did you love the one at Katie's wedding?), fortune tellers (psychics are fun!), or even wedding karaoke.

That said, never underestimate the value of good food and booze and a little background music. If you keep people happy with lots to eat and drink, chances are good that no-one will miss the dancing.

Looking for even more ideas?

Check out our massive archive of non-dancing weddings, full of real weddings and great ideas.

Comments on 3 ways to have a dance-free wedding reception

  1. Reading this post has been very helpful for us, as we’re getting married at 11am and having a lunchtime reception. We’ve booked an Irish band for entertainment, but there will be no formal dance. We are also considering hiring a balloon artist for the kids and for the kids-at-heart.

    Just remember that this is simply a big party and the first big party that you’ll host together. Do it your way 🙂

  2. […] Bride, my favorite site for wedding photos with personality, has a new article about a dancing-free reception. A bride-to-be with no interest in required dancing on her big day asks what she can do as an […]

  3. giant yard Jenga
    cut up a bunch of 2×4’s to the same length, stack them and let people go at it.

    An unconventional yard game if you go with yard games. Very fun and makes for great pics.

  4. We had a balloon artist at our brunch wedding – and many people have commented it was one of the more delightful weddings they’ve ever attended.

  5. I really like these great ideas! My fiance & I aren’t big dancers and we really didn’t like the idea of a DJ taking over the reception. Our wedding will be next January & where we live it will be too cold to go outdoors to do much at all. Does anyone have any good suggestions for some fun, winter activities that we could do at the reception?

  6. we are having our “reception” at a hip, local bowling alley. we are renting the whole thing out. since bowling is one of our favorites, and dancing is NOT, we thought this would be so fun.
    we are still having a friend be our dj.
    plus it didn’t cost as much as we thought.
    rock on

  7. I LOVE the photo booth idea – and it won’t happen at our wedding due to the fact that my family’s place is in the stix. Any ideas to copy the idea without an actual photo booth?

    • Sparkbooth.com is what we used for a photo booth at our wedding…. 60 bucks for a downloadable program that uses your Web cam. It’s user friendly, fast, and you can use a feature on the program to lock the screen in the photo booth so your private documents on your computer aren’t available. We loved it!

  8. My fiance and I enjoy SCA events regularly and it gave us the idea to invite some belly-dancing friends and drummers to the reception to entertain everyone.

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