The view from the other side...
To all the Dad's out there, Happy Father's Day!
Before I became a dad, the father daughter dance was just something that had to be done. Like a lot of the events within a wedding reception, this was just one more thing on the timeline before we ate or opened up the dance floor. Then, in 2013, I became a dad and my world changed in a lot of ways. Now, all of a sudden, at the very first wedding I did after the birth of my daughter, I found myself tearing up at the father daughter dance. I forget the song that was playing but I'm sure it was a song I had heard a hundred times before. I didn't know the couple that well and there wasn't a sad backstory between the Bride and her father, so I wasn't emotionally attached in any way. I was tearing up because I knew that the 8 pound baby girl I was holding just a few hours before was eventually going to grow up, get married and I was going to be in that man's shoes.
It's hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes if you don't share any similarities or life experiences with that person. It's hard for me to imagine how my life would be if I had a different upbringing, different friends, economic status, culture, the list goes on. It's important to keep that in mind when you are planning your reception.
When you take a step back and look at the makeup of the guests at your reception, you'll see a lot of differences. You'll see your family and friends but you'll also see people you might not know so well and even guests/dates of your guests that you've never met.
I have found that when the couple getting married takes a good hard look at who will be attending their reception and then structures the timeline and events to best suit their guests, the reception generally flows much more smoothly and guests are almost always appreciative and happy. And when your guests are happy, they stay longer, they smile more, they laugh louder, they party harder and they remember and talk about your reception for years to come.
I've also seen receptions where the couple takes the "it's my day, I'm going to do what I want" approach. Sometimes the guests stay and enjoy themselves. However, most of the time, the couple gets to do exactly what they want because most of their guests leave after dinner.
I'm not saying sacrifice the reception that you want to best fit the reception your guests want, just try to put yourself in their shoes. I think you will find that everyone, including you, will walk away from the reception with some awesome memories!