Q: Dear APW,
My fiancé and I are really excited to get married next year, and we’re in the early stages of planning. We’re planning to have our ceremony and reception at a restaurant, because we want to do a brunch wedding: a nice meal with people we love is one of the more important aspects of the day for us.
We want a low-key day, and since the reception will be in the afternoon, we don’t anticipate it being a rager as much as a nice brunch party. We aren’t sure we even want a dance floor. We’ve been to many weddings together and danced the night away, but it’s never felt like an important part of our wedding.
I know that just as much as the wedding is about us, the reception is also about our guests, to thank them for coming and for all of the support they’ve shown us through the years, so I try to keep the guests in mind during planning, but is dancing something people will really miss? Am I overthinking this?
For background, I grew up small town—Southern and Evangelical—and all the weddings I went to growing up were cake and punch receptions in the fellowship hall with no dancing, so it’s not something I ever felt was important (even though I’ve enjoyed it at other people’s weddings!), and my fiancé has said he doesn’t care but definitely doesn’t want the attention on us that comes with having a first dance, so that’s already off the table.
We want to have a nice wedding that is like the kind of party we’d want to throw, but I also don’t want our guests to be expecting to dance their faces off and then be disappointed. Help.
A: Dear anonymous,
So far, it sounds like you and your fiancé have a good plan in place—you’ve got the venue and the date, and now comes the hard part: figuring out everything else.
Every couple who has planned a wedding has gone through the same struggle. How much do you do to cater to your guests, and how much do you do to make yourselves happy? Some are of the opinion that you should put your guests comfort first, while others think a wedding should be a celebration of the couple and their interests. I took an informal poll on Facebook, and most people said that the couple should focus on what they want out of their wedding.
Is it possible to stay true to who you are as a couple and also make sure you’re guests are happy? Absolutely! Do you have to have dancing at your wedding? Nope. Will adults figure it out and go with the flow? Yes. Some of your guests may be surprised or disappointed, but they’ll get over it. It may be helpful to use the grapevine to spread the word that there will not be dancing, but that’s not a requirement either. If I walked into a wedding reception and the venue had no DJ or band and no dance floor, I’d instantly know what that meant.
Also, if you do decide to nix dancing, don’t feel like you have to come up with tons of other activities for people to do instead. (Though if that’s a thing you want to do, of course APW has a whole post about that.) But think of all the parties we go to that don’t include dancing (aka, most of them). If you create more of a brunch or dinner party vibe, people will know exactly how to behave, because that’s a kind of party they understand.
And at the end of the day, that’s the key to keeping your guests comfortable. Give them a party where they understand where to go when they walk in and how to behave, and they’ll do just fine. They are adults, after all.
—Jareesa Tucker McClure
Got a question for Jareesa? Send it to nope [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com!