Your wedding reception is usually the moment that you enjoy the more and which flies faster. Your reception is the opportunity to create a unique and personalized event, including surprises for your guests.
In contrast, the church wedding ceremony pictures are quite similar: the bride walking down the aisle with her father, holding her bouquet and crying with a lot of emotions. We all know those images. But for the reception there is not such stereotype (except the cake and the first dance). Your evening is what makes your wedding authentic. It will depend on the vendors you select and the mood you want to create.
This is a list of the strongest moments that can happen during your wedding dinner.
- The Dinner room reveal
Something that becomes more and more famous during the cocktail hour is the coordinator inviting the husband and wife to have a look at the dinner room before the grand entrance. Thus they can appreciate all the decoration work done and contemplate the wonderland for a few minutes.
- Grand Entrance
The grand entrance is becoming a tradition. Usually the best men and the maid of honor enter first, followed by the groomsmen and the bridesmaid. The bride and the groom come last. The DJ plays a spectacular music, calling each couple, and each partner to make a unique move.
- Marriage and Dinner Blessing
Depending on your level of faith (and your family), you might have a blessing. It takes place before the hors d’oeuvre and it is usually given by one of the fathers. It’s a way for your relatives to give a compliment on your mutual engagement, sharing their excitement and offering you help and guidance for the future. Depending on the personalities involved, it could be formal or be a source of inspiration that generates lots of emotion.
- Newlywed Couple Welcoming Their Guests
The etiquette wants you to thank everyone for coming. If you made a receiving line earlier, then a speech is not mandatory. That said it’s highly appreciated by the guests.
- Toasts and Speeches
They usually take place between the hors d’oeuvre and the main dish. Toasts are usually done by the bridal party and the close family members, but it could also be done by a cousin or even grandparents.
Most of the time is an amazing moment, remembering some memories from your childhood and your friendship. There is always a lot of jokes about how you met each other, the beginning of your relationship, how he made his proposal and how she agreed to be his fiancée.
For a wedding photographer, it’s a gift to capture such moments!
In some receptions, the couple or the bridal party like to organize games. It could be a quiz on the bride and groom, or something more sportive, such as the “12 months game.” It’s usually the DJ who is in charge of handling the games, but anyone with a great ability to speak in public could do it.
To make sure it’s a success, choose your game carefully according to your guests and your families’ tastes.
- The Cake Cutting
While in France the cake cutting is a big moment during the reception (with music and confetti), here in the USA it is maybe not the strongest moment of the evening but could remain a great memory. When spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in a wedding cake, you like to keep a memory.
An interesting and funny tradition I have discovered is the bride and groom crashing the cake on the face of each other.
- Photo Booth
The photo booth is a great way for your guests to make silly faces, and for you to keep memories of that moment.
- First dance
We should distinguish three different first dances: the father daughter dance, the bride and groom dance, the mother and son dance.
The Father Daughter could be performed before or after the bride and groom dance, regarding your preference.
In order to offer more time to your wedding photographer to capture a great shot, it’s better if each dance has its own track.
There are plenty of first dance song lists on the internet. You may prefer a romantic slow dance or something more dynamic, such as valse, salsa, swing. There is no rule.
It usually takes place during the dance part of your event. It makes sense when there are several single ladies.
An alternative to the groom is the garter toss or the boutonniere toss. If having a group of historic young ladies fighting for some flowers is impressive, it’s even more impressive to see a bunch of (enthusiastic) men wrestling for a boutonniere.
- Bridal Party Surprise
Sometimes, the bridal party likes to organize a surprise. It’s usually a dance, a song, a slideshow or a video. It’s better if they coordinate with other professionals, such as the photographer, the DJ and the caterer.
- Surprise from the bride and groom
You may desire to offer your guests something special, such as:
- fire works
- a lantern release
- balloon release
- a special dance show with professional dancers and crazy songs
- a magician show
- The bride and/or the groom coming on stage to sing
- A special dance
- Grand exit
The grand exit is a great opportunity for a last celebration before the bride and the groom officially release their guests.
If the symbolic meaning wants the bride and the groom to leave for their wedding night, it’s not rare that they actually continue the party after that.
It’s a great way to let go the older people.