On “Seeming” Like a Wedding

As you probably know, Mr. Mole and I are having a pretty small wedding. There will be about twenty people in Vegas, including us. Even our hometown party is going to be small. With our current number of RSVPs, we are looking at fifty-something guests. We are looking forward to having these small, intimate events.

These small, intimate events won’t feature any dancing: no first dance, no father-daughter dance, no mother-son dance, no chicken dance, no line dances. Well, I guess I have to qualify this statement a bit. We won’t be preventing people from dancing a la Footloose, but we aren’t going to be doing much to encourage it. It’s just not us or the vibe we are going for.

Inevitably, when reading about other weddings that don’t schedule in a specific time for dancing, I notice a couple of main concerns from guests:

1. The wedding won’t be any fun.

I really think this is an example of how important it is to know your guests. Our guests are more the type of people who like mingling and talking with each other with a drink in hand rather than living it up on the dance floor. Accordingly, our iPod playlist is less designed to get people dancing than to allow for lively conversation. (That being said, there are definitely some “danceable” songs on the list. And there will be room to dance, if people so desire.)

We fully understand that our reception won’t be as long as those that feature dancing. That’s okay with us. We definitely aren’t planning to have a six hour reception. From first cocktail to last call, we are planning on somewhere between three and four hours. We just went to a wedding like this, and we thought it was perfect.

2. The wedding won’t seem like a wedding.

This one is tougher for me to understand ”” and I hear this comment about a lot of non-traditional decisions that people make. It’s not a wedding without dancing / a tiered cake / the groom in a tuxedo / a surf and turf entree / the ceremony in a church / etc. So what exactly is a wedding? What does a wedding have to have in order to be wedding-like? I figure that we are getting married and then hosting a celebration afterwards. That seems like a wedding to me!

So, hive, what do you think? Are you opting against dancing—or any other traditional wedding “must-have”? Are you getting any flack for your decision?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mole

Location:
Los Angeles/Las Vegas
Wedding Date:
January 2012
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Natalie, Guest @ 12:29 pm

    My goodness, this is exactly the issue I am having. I want it to feel like a celebration but I am so not a dancer. I really can’t picture our guests dancing. I would rather just have our guests talk and enjoy themselves. It’s troubling because I am hearing that people don’t really see my vision.

  2. Member
    Lucille_628 80 posts, Worker bee @ 12:36 pm

    I love this post! I am wanting to have this same type of reception and I don’t even bring it up because people take so much issue with it! Drinking, mingling, talking about all the great times we have had with friends and family is my type of a reception. And I would like to keep it sweet and short!

  3. Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:04 pm

    When I told my mom we were thinking of non-floral centerpieces and not taking a honeymoon right away… An her response was “it’s not a Wedding without flowers!!!!” “it’s not a wedding without a honeymoon”. And I admit we have caved to some pressure to do more wedding things. I wish we hadnt but with our parents monetary help, we sorta had to.

    Your wedding will be great! Dancing or not.

  4. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:15 pm

    We are having a dancefloor but I have never considered it a wedding requirement. I do worry that I will become jealous of the dancefloor. My man loves being center of attention and I expect he will be burning a whole in the flooring.
    It has taken me some time but I’m glad we are having a huge event, instead of my dream of a under 100 cocktail party. Not that its more or less wedding like, just that my guy has his dream day. How often can I make his dream day happen.
    Enjoy your fabulously intimate wedding day and reception. I think it sounds wonderful. You will be lucky enough to speak to everyone and enjoy the fact they are there.

  5. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:23 pm

    @Miss Eagle: I know what you mean but my vision smasher was my finance. He’s so traditional. Music. Vows. Cake. Flowers. Dinner. I have worked so hard to keep all things traditional… but I am really having a hard time with “here comes the bride” I just cant accept it. Lol…. and he’s paying for almost everything… so does that rule still apply? Do I need to give in?

  6. Member
    eagleeyes 18 posts, Newbee @ 1:58 pm

    I’m one that loves to dance, so there will be lots of that at my reception! But I’ve heard some of that too. The funniest one has been the multiple people that have looked at me like I grew a second head when I said we aren’t having cake. “No cake? None at all? What about sheet cake? What about just a small cake?” I personally don’t like cake all that much and can’t figure out what people are so hung up on.
    But ultimately, no matter what you do, someone will always have a complaint. But for all the people that do, I’m sure that there will be many others that are grateful to just relax, mingle and enjoy themselves.

  7. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:15 pm

    OMG FI won’t wear a tux! and here I am thinking I’m planning a wedding, oh well I gess it’ll have to be just a party. Lol

    We’re not doing the church thing and that’s causing some trouble with our families.

  8. Member
    cmvmph 404 posts, Helper bee @ 2:34 pm

    You have a great point, Miss Mole. I think it all depends on knowing your guests…my family is a bunch of dancers and end up being wet noodles without it. As long as you know who you’re inviting and how to really get them to mingle and get them out of their shell (A.K.A. really enjoy themselves at your celebration), that is all that matters. And to me, a wedding is all that you make it, all that you want it to be. I’ve noticed that really only the older generation cares about adhering to a list of traditions for a wedding, and even then, most are realizing and embracing the modern trends for a customized special day.

  9. Member
    happyface 5777 posts, Bee Keeper @ 2:38 pm

    We are having a simple ceremony with lunch afterwards… no dancing.
    Simple weddings are inexpensive, which is what we are going for, no elaborate affair for us. WE, my fiance and I, are paying for it, so there’s nothing they can say or want, it’s OUR wedding…

  10. Member
    warbler 249 posts, Helper bee @ 2:49 pm

    You are spot on, Miss Mole! A wedding is two people celebrating getting married, that’s it! Everything else is just extras. I’ve been getting flack lately because we’re not having a DJ. It will still be a wedding and it will still be fun, even with our iTunes playlist.

  11. Member
    mrslongcoatpeacoat 3528 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:59 pm

    I’m in the same boat. My wedding will be a daytime affair, with a BBQ reception and a few outdoor activities for people who want to partake. my sister went so far as to say I’m having an un-wedding, but I know if I stick to my guns, it will be perfect for US. Can’t wait to see your recaps!

  12. Member
    amethystmeg 235 posts, Helper bee @ 3:28 pm

    We are having dancing because I love to dance. It should really be about what you want unless it really inconvenients your guests! We went to a wedding with no dancing and it was really wonderful. Loved every part of it.

    I totally feel you on people pushing the whole “DO this because it is what makes it a wedding”. So strange. I seriously think some people are going to be upset that we aren’t cutting a cake!

  13. Member
    soon2bemrsgq 373 posts, Helper bee @ 4:23 pm

    Some people have a hard time accepting things other than what’s considered traditional. IMO as long as you’re marring the man of your dreams it should be considered a wedding. I’m sick of the crap people are giving me about my non traditional decisions.. So I’ve stopped talking about wedding related things and answer questions very vaguely. It seems to be working so far.. ;)

  14. Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:12 pm

    @Natalie: I think it’s sometimes difficult for people to see someone’s vision if it’s not what they have seen before at other weddings. I think that you should stick to your guns on anything that you want for your wedding that doesn’t negatively impact your guests’ comfort.
    @Lucille_628: We just starting telling people that our reception would be like this in such a way that made it clear it wasn’t open for debate! Haha. Luckily, there have been weddings like this in our friend-group, so it isn’t *too* out of the norm.
    @Miss Eagle: Sometimes the people with the checkbook have that kind of influence! Luckily enough, things like flower versus non-flower centerpieces — or even dancing versus non-dancing — aren’t huge ones in the grand scheme of things. Your wedding will be great too!
    @Miss Ke Aloha: That’s great that your FI is so involved with your wedding, even if it might lead to some necessary compromises! I bet that your wedding will be spectacular because it will be a mix of both of your visions! Mr. Mole is on board too with the planning, but he is as left-footed as I am when it comes to the issue of dancing. ;)
    @ageis: Good point that you can’t please anyone! It’s so much more important to worry about having the wedding that reflects you, rather than what other people typically do. Honestly, I’m with you on the issue of cake — hence our ice cream cake at our party. Cake wasn’t necessarily a “must have” for our wedding.
    @Coffee cup: Haha, according to the tux and church test, we aren’t having a wedding either! I hope that the trouble that you are experiencing on this issue is minor and resolves itself quickly!

  15. Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:22 pm

    @cmvmph: Thank you! We did pick our reception venues with the mingling type of reception in mind; I think that the set-up and layout of both restaurants will really encourage people to talk and interact with each other. I think it took a little bit of time for our parents to come around, but I also think that they expected something a little more nontraditional from us from the beginning.
    @RoxanneV: It’s true that the person paying has the loudest voice in the decision making process! ;) I think that simple weddings can be just as beautiful and meaningful as more elaborate ones.
    @Miss Warbler: We are biased towards iPod playlists since that’s what we are doing too! It will all work out in the end. I hope that any flack you are getting right now will be long forgotten by your wedding day!
    @Miss Longcoat: Man, I think that a daytime bbq wedding with some outdoor activities sounds awesome. I’d love to go to a wedding (or an un-wedding!) like that.
    @amethystmeg: Yeah, I think that people can get so caught up on what you “have” to do in a wedding that they don’t even question why some traditions are that way anymore! Your wedding will be fabulous, cake cutting or no cake cutting.
    @soon2beMRSgq: Haha I like your technique. I suppose the fewer details you give, the less reason people have to criticize! I also find that people have definite opinions about things during the planning process that are dropped or forgotten by the time that the actual wedding happens. Sometimes things seem more important at the time than they end up being.

  16. Member
    ttkels 30 posts, Newbee @ 6:11 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this!! I have had so many negative comments about me not having any dancing at our April wedding. We are doing the iPod for music and gonna have some games cause that more so fits our families. A wedding to us is having our family and closest friends see us take our vows and then celebrate afterwards.

  17. Member
    Katie98 152 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:31 pm

    We live in Key West so we are having our wedding here. It will be small with just immediate family and close friends as everyone will be coming in from out of town. We are planning an at-home-reception and I am planning on it being an open house style BBQ. I do plan to have our pics, and maybe a few other wedding things but definately not going all out.
    I am pretty sure a wedding is a celebration of your love for each other. That celebration should represent the two of you now matter how fancy or laid-back.

  18. Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:46 pm

    @ttkels: I’m sorry to hear that you have been hearing negative comments — especially when it seems like you are being very considerate of your guests by providing the type of entertainment that they typically like! I recently went to a wedding that was located at a croquet club, and it was a lot of fun to play the game.
    @Katie98: I really agree with your comment that it is really important to make sure that a wedding represents and reflects the couple getting married! We are pretty laid-back people, so we would feel out of place at our wedding if it were very formal. Your wedding sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun (and man, I am craving some bbq now).

  19. Member
    salmonette 54 posts, Worker bee @ 7:23 pm

    GREAT post Miss Mole! We are having a small ceremony and will have about 30 guests. No dancing (even though I love to!). It will be along the lines of what you are describing- talking, mingling, drinking and cocktails on the lawn and then a dinner after photos. Probably 3 hrs total- It will feel like a wedding to me and my honey and that’s what matters most. Stay true to the day you envision!

  20. Member
    Ms Rocky Point 474 posts, Helper bee @ 8:09 pm

    I don’t know if people consider it a “must have” but we’re not doing the garter toss/bouquet toss thing. We think its uncomfortable when we go to a wedding and are practically forced to take part in these things, and we are the last people to get married so who would there be to catch anything? hahah! I, for one, have been to too many cookie-cutter weddings, and I sooooo wish someone had done something, anything, different! Our theme is vintage carnival/theme park midway, so we think it will be awesome, and hopefully our guests will too! I think the growing trend in more personalized celebrations is long overdue! Maybe we should all get together and have a non-wedding reception to celebrate that! ;)

  21. Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:24 pm

    @salmonette: Thanks! Your day sounds lovely as well. I always think that weddings where you can mingle outside on the lawn are so nice. :)
    @Ms. Rocky Point: Haha we are in the same position with the garter toss! In fact, the only single male who will be at our wedding is our six-month old nephew. I doubt he has the hand-eye coordination to catch anything. Anyway, I think your theme sounds like a lot of fun! I am really interested to see how it ends up. You will have to post pictures! :)

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    Natalie, Guest @ 10:50 pm

    This is the problem we are having, although I’m trying not to view it as a problem and rather a point of discussion regarding what my fiancé and I are really about. My fiancé does not drink (personal choice) but he comes from a large family of drinkers who think its not a wedding without open bar and out of control dancing. Honestly this is not our style, and I’m to the point of not caring if other people agree! If I listened to every BS comment about ‘etiquette’ (which often seems to be disguised as someone’s personal, tasteless and/or misinformed opinion) id be having a wedding that I wouldn’t even like or enjoy MYSELF. I want people to relax, drink some good wine, eat great food and go home at 930. There will be dancing but the music will be really mellow and will accommodate all generations. I’m just not into the whole ‘chicken dance Macarena beyonce Chris brown ludacris shake my money maker in front of my 60 year-old aunt’ kind of person. Just me.

  23. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:15 am

    Isn’t a wedding a celebration of marriage? And I personally think that the super formal, ultra traditional (church then banquet hall ordeals) tend to be long winded. You get too caught up trying to stay on schedule and can’t have fun.

  24. Member
    MrsBlueSeptember 3487 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:10 am

    Well, you read my post yesterday so you know we are also doing a low key celebration with no dancing after the ceremony. We are also the type that prefer to mingle and talk to our friends & family. I think your wedding sounds perfect and is exactly what my fiance and I are going for with ours. If certain guests at your wedding feel like they need to party some more, well you’ll be in Vegas and they can head to a club after the reception is over! ;)

  25. Member
    MrsBlueSeptember 3487 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:11 am

    @Future Army Wife: @Future Army Wife: I agree!

  26. Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:42 am

    @Natalie: It sounds like we are having similarly low-key receptions! I’m sorry to hear that you are getting negative comments for what sounds like a perfectly lovely wedding. I think that as long as you are being accommodating to your guests and their comfort — which doesn’t include serving a specific type of alcohol or playing a certain kind of music — you are well within the realm of proper wedding etiquette.
    @Future Army Wife: I think any wedding where the schedule is adhered to too strictly feels a little uptight! (However, I HATE when the bride/groom is so late to her/his own wedding where it seems like the entire day’s schedule was thrown out the window! Haha.)
    @MrsKennedytoBe: Haha great point! We were talking about that the other day. I think some of our friends may hit up a club afterwards. We might too, but it would be a banner day if we stay out past 1am. ;)

  27. Member
    pumalvr 109 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:09 am

    I was in your shoes a year ago. Like you, I had intended not to include many traditional elements that our guests had been conditioned to expect in a wedding simply because my husband and I believed they didn’t represent us. We eschewed the church wedding/religious officiant/tuxedos/doves/favors/bouquet/garter toss/I even put a line dancing song that shall not be named on the do not play list and yet, our guests complimented on us for hosting such a loving and sincere wedding.

    I just want to assure you that everything will be fine. Your guests attendance is an public act of affirmation that they love and support you. You’ll realize this when you think back on your wedding, and reflect not on what you didn’t have, but how you felt. Its not going to be a perfect day. but its going to be a great day in your life. One that you’ll cherish for many years.

    P.S. We were so exhausted from the festivities that we were passed out in bed by 11pm. But that didn’t deter our cousins from each side of our families from throwing after parties. Your guests will find ways to entertain themselves, and invariably you’ll find out about it on facebook.

  28. Member
    mole 1242 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:57 am

    @Pumalvr: Thank you for this wonderful comment! It’s hard to keep focus sometimes on the big picture when a lot of the daily planning is all of the little stuff. And I am super curious to see all those pictures on Facebook. ;)

  29. Guest Icon Guest
    Holy Moly Matrimony: The Recap Before the Recaps | In the long run, Guest @ 4:13 pm

    [...] exchanged our personalized vows and our rings at the Wynn, and we had dinner and drinks (but no dancing) at Bouchon Bistro in the Venetian. We also planned a hometown party at a restaurant in Milwaukee. [...]

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