Wedding Reception Traditions

Wedding Reception Traditions are something that you can plan into your wedding or you can change them up.

There are many traditional wedding reception elements that you can either choose to use in your wedding reception, you can choose to use them but tweak them or you can decide to eliminate them all together from your wedding reception.

The choice is going to be up to you!

So let's take a look at some of the traditional elements and what you can do to tweak them...

Wedding Reception Traditions - Separate Cocktail Party

It has become a tradition for the wedding couple and bridal party to steal away prior to the wedding reception for a private and separate cocktail party for drinks and party food.

This little private party lets you enjoy some quiet time with your new husband and wedding party prior to being mobbed at your wedding reception.

You might not feel you need this, so why not just take a few minutes of alone time and then join your wedding guests at the reception. They will appreciate having as much time as possible with you.

Wedding Reception Traditions - Being Introduced into the Room

Your guests usually get seated and then it is traditional for the emcee to introduce everyone in the wedding party into the reception.

Parents are usually introduced formally first; as a tweak you can choose a special theme song for their entrance.

Next, the bridal party members are introduced into the room in pairs, and then it will be your introduction into the room.

During the introduction of you and your husband, you could have the emcee state how long you two have been married (ie. 45 minutes, etc.)

If you are shy and don't enjoy the spotlight, you can opt to eliminate these intros and just enter the room with your guests without the fanfare.

Wedding Reception Traditions - Your First Dance

Yours will be the first dance on the reception dance floor. If you need help in choosing your music, check out Music Lists for Wedding Receptions.

Sometimes, this dance can feel like an eternity (to both you and your guests), so why not tweak it up a bit.

You can start off with a slow, romantic song, then switch to something more upbeat. Meet with a dance instructor and learn a choreographed dance for your first dance.

Again, if you are shy, ask the emcee to give you just few minutes of a first dance, then invite everyone else on the dance floor.

Wedding Reception Traditions - The Father/Daughter Dance

This will be the dance of the bride and her father.

If you need help in choosing your music, check out Music Lists for Wedding Receptions.

Again, this dance can feel like an eternity, so why not mix it up and start with a slow song and then switch it to something upbeat and fun.

If you have a father and step-father, then why not dance half a song with each. If your father has passed away, then share the dance with his brother or with another close male family member as an honored stand-in.

You could have a slide show or old movie playing in the background of you two.

If you are not close to your father, you don't have to include this dance.

Wedding Reception Traditions - The Mother/Son Dance

This will be the dance of the groom with his mother.

If you need help in choosing your music, check out Music Lists for Wedding Receptions.

You might find yourself in the same situation as above and so you can tweak it the same as the other dances.

It also might be a good idea to practice and choreograph this dance ahead of time.

Wedding Reception Traditions - The Best Man's Toast

It is usual for the best man to toast the bride and groom. The key here is to keep the toast short and sweet. None of your guests is going to enjoy long, drawn out speeches and toasts.

If your best man is hugely shy and could not possibly make a toast in front of so many people, then why not make a short video toast that could be shown at the reception.

Wedding Reception Traditions - Reception Music

There are some traditionally silly songs played at wedding receptions such as the bunny hop, the macarena, etc.

If you do not wish these songs to be played, make sure that your wishes are known to your dj or live band beforehand.

Also, different styles of dances such as line dances; if they are not on your priority list, pass it on to your dj or live band as well.

Wedding Reception Traditions - Cutting the Cake

I'm not exactly sure where it started, but a lot of couples do a cake smush into their partner's face.

I don't know about you, but when I've paid so much to get my hair done, makeup done and am wearing the most expensive dress I probably will every wear in my entire life, I really wouldn't want to do a cake smush.

Instead, how about feeding your new partner-in-life neatly or even dotting each other's noses with a fingertip of frosting if you must!

Perhaps use an antique cake cutting/serving set; something that was used by your parents or grandparents at their own wedding reception.

Wedding Reception Traditions - The Bouquet Toss

This tradition is when the bride takes her bouquet and it is tossed over her shoulder or from a balcony to see who of the all the unmarried ladies attending the wedding will catch it.

It is said that the lady who catches the bouquet is going to be the next to wed.

If you don't want to lose your "real" bouquet, have your florist make up a "toss" bouquet that is usually comprised of a smaller bunch of lesser value flowers.

That way you still have your personal bouquet at the end of your wedding day to preserve, dry, etc.

If you would like to do a twist on this tradition, then you can present your bouquet to a much loved female member of your family such as a mother, grandmother, aunt, etc.

You can also present your bouquet to the longest married couple in the room.

Wedding Reception Traditions - Tossing the Garter

This tradition is when the garter is taken off of the bride by the groom, and then, in much the same way as the above mentioned bouquet toss, it is thrown over the groom's shoulder to see who of all the unmarried men attending the wedding will catch it.

It is said that the man who catches the garter is gong to be the next to wed.

Not everyone is including this tradition at their wedding. Some couples are taking the idea of the garter and instead using a ankle bracelet with can be removed, placed in a pouch and then thrown.

Sometimes the garter/ankle bracelet is placed on the single lady who caught the bouquet, but you can also twist this and allow the winning man to present it to his own date.

Wedding Reception Traditions - The Last Dance

Usually the last dance is reserved only for the newly happily married couple. They are the only ones on the dance floor dancing, but I have been to weddings where the guests gather around to create a large circle around the couple while they are dancing.

Don't forget to choose a slow, romantic, meaningful song for you both to dance to as the last song of the evening.

If you want to, you can actually turn your last dance into your departure by dancing your way out of the reception and out the door.

Seriously, if the both of you have been partying too much at your wedding, you might want to skip the last dance so that you don't end up as a comedy routine on a video sharing website.

Wedding Reception Traditions - The Departure

Instead of just trying slip away to leave prior to the end of your reception, you can both stay to thank your guests for coming and parents and other family members for their support.

Instead of dashing away, stop for hugs and pictures. You can also make your exit more dramatic and maybe a surprise to your new spouse by booking a special car, helicopter, horse and carriage or some other unique form of transportation.

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