What are the classic wedding traditions? When is it okay to deviate from these?
Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming experience! Not only are you trying to accomplish planning all the important aspects you would like to have as a part of your day, but you are also inviting your nearest and dearest to join you. In a perfect world, this is ALWAYS a benevolent idea, however sometimes it can ramp up the pressure on your planning as you begin to hear everyone’s opinions on how you should and what you should plan.
In case you’re starting at ground zero and not even sure what you want, we will provide you with a “classic” style wedding reception below:
Immediately following your ceremony – (receiving line would be “traditional” but you can always skip the receiving line and make sure to greet and thank each table later!)
00:00 Social hour
Often guests shift this way after the ceremony, but the couple and their bridal party and families stay behind for photos!
01:15 Introduction of the newlyweds
Traditionally bridal party and parents would be involved in this introduction.
01:20 First Dance, Toasts
Typically your toasts are given by the Maid of Honor and Best Man, but sometimes another bridal party member or a parent may have been asked to speak. Depending on faith, after these speeches can be a great time for a blessing.
Guests typically dig into a salad course OR if there is no salad course, or things are being served buffet style, now’s the time to eat!
02:30 Cake cutting
Dessert can’t be served until you cut the cake- that’s tradition! Cutting the cake at the tail end of dinner gets guest eyes back on you. The big question…will someone smoosh cake in the others face?
02:40 Family Dances
Depending on your family dynamics and what traditional dances you want to incorporate, having these more formal dances before everyone is up saves clearing the dance floor. Plus you already have everyones’ attention from cutting your cake!
Now the formalities are over and you can relax! Guests will hit the dance floor and it is time for you to enjoy your company. Throughout this time your entertainment, whether it be a DJ or live band, can hop in for things like bouquet and garter toss, or any other dance floor games
03:00 Dessert will be out!
It will take your caterer a little time to cut cake and get the rest of dessert out. A suggestion if you and your crowd love the dance floor: have dessert served buffet style and have an announcement made once it is available! That way guests can go and grab dessert when they are ready and able and it doesn’t go to waste sitting at their tables while they’re on the dancefloor. Plus, you don’t want to stop the party to have everyone find their seats for a plated dessert course!
04:30 Last Call!
Make sure your MC gives a last call for the bar with enough time for everyone to get their final round. That way no one is left chugging their drink at the end of the night. We all know that never ends well.
04:45 Last song!
And make it a good one! This is the last chance to get everyone out on the dance floor together before parting ways or heading to an after party.
05:00 Official Send-Off
It used to be overwhelmingly common to do an official send-off of sorts. This can be with bubbles, sparklers, rose petals, balloons- you name it. This is your grand exit! We do like to suggest that whatever you use for your send-off, please be conscious of what’s getting left behind in nature and that if you choose sparklers, make sure you talk to your coordinator ahead of time to make sure they have a logistical plan to make sure that fire safety is being enforced.
While this may be “how it was always done,” don’t let that stop you. At Valley Wed- we truly believe this is YOUR Day. Hear the other opinions out, and follow your own plans regardless.
Some places we are seeing more variation:
Sometimes it can be helpful to know what’s “traditional” and make your decisions from there. However, it is YOUR day! Make sure you plan one that you will enjoy just as much as your guests, regardless of what tradition tells us!
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