The big moment when the both of you say, “I do!” is going to be one of the most important and prominent memories of your life… but so is your wedding reception.
When your guests go home, odds are they’ll remember the reception better than your actual wedding. This is why it’s important to offer both them and yourself a superb experience that will not only make your night special but will also establish a foundation for a solid marriage and many friendships.
Getting into reception planning can be difficult, though. That’s why we’ve set up a quick guide to brief you on the details of an extraordinary reception that will impress your guests and make you think back on it with fondness!
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What Is a Wedding Reception?
A wedding reception is essentially the party that is held after the marriage ceremony. They have existed for as long as the concept of weddings themselves and are done differently in each part of the world.
To some, a good wedding reception is getting together with family members and catching up, sharing a couple of drinks, and enjoying the food on display. To others, it can represent a night of utmost debauchery with the bridesmen, drunken revelry, and morning regrets.
Only you know what you want your reception to mean. We’ve listed the usual steps to a traditional wedding reception below, though you shouldn’t be afraid to personalize it and make it your own.
10 Steps to a Perfect Wedding
The order of events, as detailed here, is how receptions typically go. If you’d like to have a “full-fledged course meal” reception, then the following advice will help give you an idea of what you need.
1. Cocktail Hour
The cocktail hour is the time between the ceremony and the reception. During this time, the bride and groom will usually disappear to take wedding pictures with the photographer. Naturally, you don’t want your guests to wait around for you awkwardly, so sating their thirst with a selection of delicious cocktails is the perfect appetizer for a night of fun.
2. Reception Entrance
After getting a bit of momentum going, the bride and groom show up in full glory. This entrance is accompanied by a lot of flair and flashiness and should set the scene for the next hour. The entrance used to be taken seriously in the past, though the turn of the 21st century has brought about far more casual and humorous approaches to arrival.
What used to be the main fare of a reception a thousand years ago. Not much needs to be said about dinner, as it is frequently the most planned aspect of a reception. Odds are you already know exactly what you want out of your meal course!
The toasts will start soon after the dinner to let the food settle. This is one of the most memorable aspects of a reception and can either create a beautiful ambiance or an awkward and tense one. Make sure everyone is happy and having a good time, and you’ll probably have a perfect toasting experience as well.
5. First Dance
The wedding couple must traditionally have the first dance before any dancing starts in earnest. This moment is very nerve-racking to a lot of people, especially if they don’t dance. The best way to go about this is to practice beforehand and never take your eyes off your spouse. Forget about the audience!
After the first dance, the rest of the guest list will take to the dancefloor. This is considered the other main event of the night and will be the period that will create many memories, whether good or bad.
7. Garter or Bouquet Tossing
Once the initial dance is over, the bride can opt to toss either her garters or her bouquet to her bridesmaids, as is tradition. Garter and bouquet tossing is especially prevalent in most Hollywood movie marriages.
8. Cake and Snacks
Satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth by bringing out the cake after the dance. Most people take a break during this time and opt to recharge their energy with a bit of sugar, either to keep on dancing or stay awake until the end of the reception.
Bringing out salty snacks would also be a good idea since not everyone is fond of sweets.
Say goodbye to your guests by doing something special! It can either be your usual fanfare with confetti and glitter, tossing balloons into the sky or releasing sky lanterns, or driving off into an especially glamorous car. Whatever it is, make sure it is a satisfying conclusion to a night of magic!
Your Wedding, Your Choices
In the end, it doesn’t matter what is traditionally done during a wedding. Although we’ve detailed the usual order of events to reception, the truth is that only you and your partner know exactly what you want out of it. Don’t be afraid to be unorthodox or controversial!
Remember: it doesn’t matter what everyone thinks as long as you share love with your spouse.