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Wedding Reception Program

Wedding Reception Program

A reception is an integral part of your wedding ceremony, where you celebrate the happy occasion with your guests. This Wedessence article gives you more information about this important program.
Deepa Kartha
To have and hold from this day
forward, for better or worse, for richer for
poorer, in sickness and in health, to love
and to cherish till death do us part.
- Book of Common Prayer

A wedding ceremony is to solemnize the union of two people in love. Once the couple have taken their vows, it is time for celebrating the happy occasion in the life of the couple by hosting a reception. However, before you start planning your reception, there are certain important things that you have to know. It can be a formal or casual affair, nevertheless charting out a program would ensure that the celebrations go smoothly without causing any chaos. Though there are no fixed rules, with the help of prior planning, you can arrange the little details that would make this ceremony a special and memorable one.

  • Usually, the reception starts soon after the church ceremony. However, this also depends on whether the reception and wedding are in the same area. Nevertheless, the whole reception should be ready before the wedding ceremony begins. See to it that there is someone to welcome and guide the guests, in case they arrive early. If you are having a seating arrangement for everyone, placards should be placed with the name of each guest. Apart from this, see to it that the dinner table, entertainment table, food, etc., are also kept in order.
  • Once all the guests are seated, it is time for the welcoming of the special people of the day, i.e., the bride and the groom. You can also ask the guests to stand near the entrance of the hall to welcome them. The parents of the bride and the groom can either be seated before the arrival of the married couple, or they can make an entry with their children. The parents enter first, followed by the flower girls, then the ring bearers, after which come the bridesmaids and groomsmen, followed by the best man and the maid or matron of honor. The final entry should be made by the bride and groom, and you can arrange for wedding music to be played while they come. To make the event dramatic, welcome them with confetti, bubbles, ribbons, etc. This can also be the introductory session where the master of ceremonies (MC) introduces each and every person of the wedding party to the guests.
  • After the introductions have been done, the next step would be the cake cutting ceremony. The MC should ask the newly wedded couple to approach the table where the cake is kept. Once the couple cut the cake, the next thing would be the formal champagne toasting ceremony.
  • After that the blessing or prayer ceremony. Many people call the pastor who has conducted the marriage ceremony to bless the couple. However, this is not really mandatory, and even one of the parents of the married couple can do the blessing. Followed by this would be the photography session, where guests would come to congratulate the couple and take pictures with them. You can either arrange for a professional wedding photographer or ask someone in your family to take the pictures.
  • The next part of is the meal, i.e., the lunch or dinner depending on the time of the day the reception party is held. You can either arrange for a buffet meal, where the guests would help themselves, or a sit on party, where food would be served to the guests at their table. This should be followed by some performance by a family member, friend, or guest. Nowadays, it has become a trend to play slide shows of pictures of the couple, including the pictures of their childhood, their graduation, dating years, etc. This slide show can be made by the bride or the groom, or also by one of their parents or friends.
  • Then comes the toast making ceremony. First, the best man raises the toast for the couple followed by a wedding speech. This would be followed by a toast by the bridesmaid. Also, the parents of the couple, friends, and other well-wishers can raise a toast, and say a few words for the newly wedded couple.
  • The next is the dancing ceremony, where the bride and the groom start the dance, which is called the "First Dance". This is followed by the father and daughter dance, while the groom dances with his mother. Sometimes, the dance starts with the father and daughter dance, and while dancing, the father hands over his daughter to her husband.
  • The last section of this program is the bouquet tossing ceremony, where all the unmarried girls stand together to catch the wedding bouquet thrown by the bride. It is believed that the girl who gets the bouquet would get married next. Unmarried guys join to catch the bride's garter which means that the guy who gets it would soon find a girl for himself.
One must remember that a wedding reception schedule need not be followed strictly in a definite order. Once you make a plan about how to go about it, just relax and enjoy.
Bride throwing bouquet
Man standing in group