What To Do Instead Of A Wedding Reception

Those who want to know what to do instead of a wedding reception can try two alternatives. First, you can still have fun with your guests without traditional reception. 

These alternatives will also be perfect for couples doing an intimate wedding or saving on expenses. Feel free to browse our blog to learn helpful tips to have a wedding on a budget.

what to do instead of a wedding reception

For example, is it possible to have a small wedding if you have a big family? Read how to have a small wedding with a big family.


Best Alternatives For A Wedding Reception


Utilize your backyard

Renting a location for a wedding reception can be expensive, which is why some couples decide not to have a reception instead. However, you can still celebrate and thank your guests for coming by arranging a picnic in your backyard. 

You might have a sizable backyard, or your parents might allow the use of their backyards to have meals together after the ceremony. Depending on the time, it can be a picnic or even a dinner with your close guests.

You can even set a projector and show various presentations. Some wedding videographers do the same-day edit, so it’s also possible to watch scenes from the ceremony with your guests. 

Speaking of the backyard, you might also be considering renting a tent to make the area more fitting to the occasion. Learn more about what is a marquee wedding


Do a restaurant party

If you want a more formal or intimate setting, why not have a restaurant party after the wedding ceremony? This is especially ideal if you don’t have a lot of guests, to begin with.

A restaurant party as an alternative to a full-blown reception will still cost lower. You can even make it more sentimental for everybody invited by doing it in your favorite restaurant as a couple.

Just make sure to practice tact as you’re not renting the entire restaurant. There might be other customers too, so you don’t want to be too noisy and distracting.


How Can I Have A Wedding Without A Reception?

You can have a wedding without a reception by simply finishing the ceremony and having a quick chat with the guests to thank them for coming. This is easier to pull off if you have a small wedding or a civil wedding where you’re not bringing a large number of guests.

It would also be best to ask your family and friends to spread your decision of not having a reception with other guests. This will prevent expectations and misunderstandings. 

However, it’s best to offer an alternative to the reception. For example, a more intimate dinner held in your backyard or restaurant will be appreciated by those who come without you needing to break the bank.


Is A Wedding Reception Necessary?

There are no laws or rules that state that the newlyweds must have a reception after the ceremony. After all, the ceremony is the most crucial part of the wedding, as you and your significant other will be legally married afterward.

If you are only holding an intimate wedding with a few close friends and family or you got married at a courthouse, then not having too many guests can mean that there will be no reception after. However, it would still be better if you hold a post-celebration, even if it’s small for the people who attended your wedding. 

Understandably, couples who must stick to a budget might not hold an actual reception. An alternative is an intimate dinner or party to thank the guests and have everyone mingle.


Is It Rude To Just Go To A Wedding Reception?

It can be not polite just to attend the wedding reception and not the ceremony, especially when the couple expects you to be at the wedding ceremony. It would look like you’re only there for the party and not really to show your support to the bride and groom. 

However, there are some exceptions where it’s acceptable for the guest only to attend the reception. First, the couple might’ve indicated in the invitation that they’re only expecting the guest to be at the reception because the ceremony might be small

Another instance is if the guest can only appear at the reception because of a tight schedule. Regardless, inform the couple if you can’t participate in their ceremony to avoid miscommunications. 


What Is Cocktail Wedding Reception?

A cocktail wedding reception is the opposite of the formal but traditional sit-down wedding reception. You’ll have food stations with your choice of items, but there can also be servers with passed hors d’oeuvres going from table to table. 

The food will be served for a more extended period, which means the guests can eat whenever. Of course, this will also allow better mingling among your wedding guests, but you can still plan a budget-friendly menu. 



And that’s it! We’ve talked about what to do instead of a wedding reception, which can be a backyard celebration or a simple restaurant party,

These will be less expensive than a reception where you’ll rent a space and have a formal sit-down dinner. These alternatives are also ideal for small weddings where having a reception is unnecessary because you’ll have few guests. 


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