When we envision a ‘wedding reception’ what comes to mind are men in suits or tuxedos and women dressed to the nines standing about talking in subdued tones and holding little punch cups or wine glasses. What we picture is a very staid affair and it is an accurate picture (maybe memory) of what the usual wedding reception looked like in years gone by. A few such affairs still exist today but they are quickly becoming extinct.
The old fashioned wedding reception was held at a rented hall, in the ball room of a hotel or in ‘Fellowship hall’ or the basement of a church or synagogue. There was a receiving line with a dictated order that was never departed from. The order was: The father of the bride, the mother of the bride, the bride, the groom the mother of the groom, the father of the groom and sometimes the bridesmaids and groomsmen were also included. Protocol ruled!
Many modern day brides and grooms opt for wedding receptions that could hardly be described as staid affairs. While mothers and grandmothers are having ‘vapors’, young people are insisting on ‘doing their own thing’ when it comes to their weddings and the receptions that follow. The venue for a modern day wedding is far more likely to be at the beach than it is to be in a church or synagogue. Wedding receptions are held in back yards, open fields, and Las Vegas casinos. Receptions, that in earlier times would have been considered ‘in poor taste….an affront to protocol….and even (gasp) TACKY, are now more the norm than the exception.
As weddings have evolved into individualized events that reflect the tastes and desires of the wedding couple, so, too, have the receptions that follow them. The most popular of wedding and reception venues today is, by far, the beach but there are many others that are nearly as popular.
The Beach Wedding Reception
Weather permitting, the reception for a beach wedding is held on the beach. The wedding ceremony is most often held just before sundown and as the sky darkens, somebody will build a bonfire. Underneath their wedding garb most all of the young people that attended the wedding will be wearing bathing suits. They strip off their wedding finery and the reception begins in ernest. Barbeque pits appear. Wieners are roasted. Ice chests full of beer have replaced the tired old punch bowls and fluted wine glasses. Beach blankets and beach towels are spread out on the sand. Rock and roll music blares and the beach wedding reception is in full swing.
Themed Wedding Receptions
The theme of the wedding, and themed weddings are big today, determines where and what the wedding reception will be. Many times the receptions for themed weddings are held in rented halls or hotel ballrooms (rarely in the fellowship hall or the basement of a church, however) but the place is all that remains unchanged between the old fashioned wedding reception and the
themed wedding reception.
Nautical Theme Wedding Reception: The tip-off that it wasn’t going to be the old-fashioned wedding reception probably came with the invitation. The food that will be served will, no doubt, come from the sea. The music that will be played will have a nautical theme, throughout the reception. Jimmy Buffett tunes and Beach Boy selections will dominate. There will likely be hanging fishnets and seashells everywhere.
Mardi Gras Themed Wedding Reception: The reception for this themed wedding will come closer to looking and feeling like a Mari Gras party than like a wedding reception of old. The food will be more that a little spicy. The music will be jazz most likely. It will be a loud and rowdy affair where the guests will have a lot of fun….they may even been asked to come dressed in Mardi Gras style costumes just to add color and fun to the celebration. There will be a lot of beads and streamers everywhere and you might even see a few alligator heads all dressed up.
Country Themed Wedding Reception: The reception for the country themed wedding will most likely not be held in a rented hall or hotel ballroom. Think tent. The wedding ceremony will have been performed in a field of wild flowers and the reception will most likely take place either in the same field or one that is close by under a tent that has been erected for the purpose. The tables and chairs will be of the folding variety. The decorations will consist of white picket
fence sections….some with gates. The food will be simple country dishes. There will be no fluted wine glasses. The scene will be pastoral….the music will match.
Western Themed Wedding Reception: The wedding for the western themed wedding may well be held in a barn or a hall decorated to look like a barn. There will be bales of hay and lanterns hung from the ceiling. The food will likely be barbeque and the music will be country and western. The bride, groom and the guests will probably be wearing jeans western shirts and boots. The bride and groom may have both arrived for the ceremony on horseback so there will be horses and maybe a few cows thrown in for good measure. There will be no fruit punch or wine to be found…beer, soft drinks, coffee and tea will be the beverages that are offered.
Renaissance Themed Wedding Reception: The wedding reception following a Renaissance themed wedding may be at a castle in England or Switzerland where the ceremony took place. The food might be a little startling….a whole roasted pig, for example. The entire Renaissance theme is reflected in the music and the decorations for the occasion. You may see suits of armor and real live ‘wenches’ may serve the food and drink. The bride will have researched the period well and the all aspects of the reception will reflect that research.
Themed Wedding Receptions Las Vegas Style: Las Vegas is the place where so many themed weddings take place. The resorts and hotels are all well equipped to handle even the most bizarre wedding and wedding reception requests.
- You might choose to have a Hawaiian Luau following your Elvis Blue Hawaii wedding. This would, of course, include an Elvis Impersonator.Could there be a whole roasted pig with an apple in its mouth?
- A reception might be held on a ‘Pirate Ship’ following your Pirate themed wedding. There are boats available that will accommodate up to 30 people and the food and beverages included are in keeping with the pirate theme.
- The wedding reception following a wedding ceremony performed at the top of the Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris Las Vegas Resort might be held in the casino of the resort with the legs of the Eiffel Tower protruding into it.
- The Venetian Resort offers a Gondola wedding package that includes a reception with all the flavor of the real Italy. The food, the music, the very atmosphere feels like Venice. These receptions are held on a party boat docked out in Lake Las Vegas.
There are, of course, many other themed wedding packages available that include receptions that are reflective of the theme. Some of these packages can cost many thousands of dollars while others are far less expensive. What a couple chooses is dependent upon how well heeled they are and just how far they are willing to go to make their wedding and wedding reception a totally
a unique experience for them and for their guests.
The Sports Based Wedding Reception: Couples, who have met and fallen in love while supporting their favorite sports team, can’t imagine that their wedding and reception wouldn’t be based on the sport they love. There are as many sports based wedding and receptions as there are sports and the fans that support them.
The Baseball Fan Wedding Reception: Those who are devout fans of baseball in general or of a specific baseball team might opt to be married at home plate of their favorite team’s park and have their reception in a restaurant within the baseball park. Others might choose to have their wedding at a public baseball diamond and have a baseball game as a part of their wedding reception with their guests as the players. The food will most likely include hot dogs and beer if it isn’t exclusively hot dogs and beer.
The Football Fan Wedding Reception: If they can swing it, the first choice of an avid football fan couple is to have their wedding ceremony performed on the fifty-yard line of ‘their’ team’s home field with the wedding reception held in facilities within the park. If they can’t pull that off, they settle for a football themed wedding and reception. The food is likely to be or the tailgate party variety and they often choose to make a touch football game using their guests as players a big part of the reception. These receptions are usually held in open fields or in public parks.
The Basketball Fan Wedding Reception: Those couples, whose whole relationship has been centered on their love of basketball and usually a specific basketball team, often choose to have a basketball themed wedding and reception. The first choice, of course, is to be married at center court of their favorite team’s home arena with the reception held at the arena itself. They
love to have their weddings and wedding receptions revolve around a basketball theme. A formal reception that includes men in tuxedos and women in formal gowns isn’t for the avid basketball fan wedding couple.
Those couples, who love a sport almost as much as they love each other, choose to have their wedding and receptions reflect that devotion. It’s a good bet that avid sports fans weddings and receptions will be a lot of fun and a far cry from the traditional wedding reception idea.
Couples who are into sky diving might have their wedding, as well as, their wedding reception on a landing field while couples who are into scuba diving might have their wedding and reception on a beach or on the shore of a favorite lake where they dive regularly.
Most wedding receptions last a couple of hours but some can continue many hours like the ones for the all-night-long weddings. Some even last a lot longer…even as long as a week and are held either in private homes or at romantic get away spots around the globe.
Rules for wedding receptions have been thrown to the wind. Whatever makes the bride and groom happy is what is acceptable for a wedding reception today.
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