While many people have the itch to tap their toes and take a twirl to every top 40s tune, many couples just can't find their groove: They just don't want to get down at their wedding. "The reality is that not everyone loves dancing," says Chandra Keel, owner of owner of Chandra Keel Events in Phoenix.
But stripping a dance floor from your wedding venue's floor plan won't call for a boring wedding. "What guests do love about dancing is that they are able to get out of their seats and move to new scenery," explains Keel. A lack of dancing won't make your guests unhappy she says, if the food, company and surroundings are stellar. "If you do not want or are not able to have dancing, focus on these areas," Keel says. "Ambient music in the background will suffice for mood setting. You don't need a DJ and blasted music for that. Offer several seating vignettes so guests can meander and vary their conversation throughout the evening. And have plenty of food and drink stations that they can visit, because people like to have something to do with their hands."
Beyond those must-follow tips, here's how you can keep guests entertained without dancing:
1. Challenge guests to a game.
Throwing a daytime wedding? Take advantage of the great outdoors. "Set up croquet or other lawn games, which is a fun alternative to dancing," suggests Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group. Your guests will enjoy the challenge, Nichols said, set to the background of blue grass music or soft jazz.
2. Have fun in a photo booth.
"Photo booths are always a big hit with guests," says Keel, who recommends offering not one but two options in which guests can capture their experience. "Each booth should have its own backdrop and props," she says, "so guests can choose which they like best, or try both!"
3. Offer entertainment that serves a dual purpose.
Why make favors for your guests when they can assemble something they'll truly love themselves? "Think: Candy stations but on a bigger scale, like separate 'his' and 'hers' stations where guests can create their own signature perfume or cologne blend," says Keel.
4. Ask an artist to paint portraits.
Yes, says Keel, these services do exist! Artists can be commissioned and paid to craft custom paintings of your guests and the scene at your reception. "Guests will be delighted to take home a portrait of themselves," Keel says. "And the artist will need nothing more than a corner of the room and two chairs."
Finally, Keel says, it's important to work with your untraditional circumstances, rather than fight against them or feel badly for them. "I've had brides who have scrapped the traditional reception all together and chose to do a family reunion of sorts on a gorgeous spring day in the park complete with three-legged races, tug-of-war, and upscale picnic food," says Keel. "If this sort of thing fits your family, don't be afraid to step out of the norm and do something totally different. It's so often a refreshing change for everyone."