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Planning the Wedding Reception

Wedding Reception

What happens after the “I dos” are said? The wedding reception is the celebration following the ceremony that brings everyone together. This exciting event requires a little planning.

Cocktail Hour

Once the bride and groom are pronounced Mr. and Mrs., they steal a few moments to celebrate alone with a private toast. The cocktail hour is designed to keep the guests entertained while the newlyweds snag a moment and take some memorable wedding photography. Since most couples are nervous during earlier meals and they miss out on the cocktail hour, it is recommended that you enjoy a small snack or appetizer during that time.

Wedding Reception

Receiving Lines

Depending on the size of the wedding and traditions, your grand entrance might involve a receiving line. This tradition seems to have faded out, since it is tiring for guests to stand long periods of time and it takes long periods of time. While this trend is fading, it is important to connect with each guest during the wedding reception. Some guests might feel awkward approaching the bride and groom during the celebration; therefore, it is important to do a little table-hopping. Make sure your photographer follows to capture table shots. If you decide to do a receiving line, make sure you consider the size of your wedding party and the amount of time you have on your timeline.

The Grand Entrance

All guests must be seated in the wedding reception area prior to your grand entrance. This is where a wedding day coordinator comes into play. After your guests are invited to dine, your wedding team will create a spectacular grand entrance the way you planned it on your timeline. You might have cold sparklers, drummers or some other dramatic element in the plan. A master of ceremonies will welcome the newlyweds, and the music and entertainment transitions for the moment.

Wedding Reception

Dancing at the Wedding Reception

The first dance is a very special part of the wedding reception. It is important that no one else dance until after the bride and groom complete their first dance. Traditionally, the parents and grandparents join for special dances. The father and daughter dance, followed by the mother and son dance. After the dances are complete, you might choose to have an open dance floor or keep the guests seated to dine.

Serving the Meal at the Wedding Reception

A wedding reception revolves around tables, which means that food is in order. This is a time to give thanks and celebrate the joining of the families. Depending on religion and tradition, your officiant might lead a prayer before the meal. As the first course is being served, it is tradition that the host of the wedding stand to welcome guests and offer a toast. The father of the bride usually gives the first speech. The best man follows with a short speech, and then the maid of honor. Speeches should be kept to a couple of minutes and never go beyond five.

Cutting the Cake at the Wedding Reception

The cake cutting ceremony is a very special main event at the wedding reception. This is the sweet and playful moment where the bride and groom cut their wedding cake and share the first slice together. It is important that you put some ground rules in place through an important discussion. If you do not want cake in the face, you should avoid future fights and express that in advance. The cake cutting ceremony should take place about forty-five minutes after the main course is cleared. Try to avoid waiting too late into the wedding reception for older guests and parents with small children that might need to leave a little earlier than the rest.

Tossing the Bouquet and Garter

The bouquet toss is a ritual most couples incorporate into their wedding reception. It is important to note that most brides do not toss their actual wedding bouquet that might have expensive flowers, wires and embellishments. A second, smaller and less elaborate bouquet is designed for the occasion. According to superstition, the bridesmaid that catches the bouquet will be the next to marry. The garter toss is observed less frequently than the bouquet toss, probably because it involves the groom publicly removing a piece of the bride’s lingerie and tossing it to the groom’s friends. If you decide to have a garter toss, choose an inexpensive garter and wear it just above the knee.

The Grand Exit

The grand exit should be an unforgettable getaway. In some cultures, the bride and groom see the guests off. Most traditions involve a glamorous exit with fireworks, sparklers and a stylish vehicle. Some couples choose a horse-drawn carriage, while others choose a modern sports car.

Wedding Reception

Crystal Ballroom Ocala

Bring your wedding timeline to Crystal Ballroom Ocala and create your magical moments in a ballroom designed just for you. Crystal Ballroom is an all-inclusive wedding venue with an in-house design team, planners, vendor connections and a day of event coordinator package to make your dream wedding come true just the way you planned it. Walk the red carpet to the fairy tale that awaits you at Crystal Ballroom.


We invite you to discover the
Crystal Ballroom difference found in the unparalleled elegance and uniqueness written into the design of each of our venues. The themes are as limitless as your imagination.

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