Groom 101

6 Wedding Reception Traditions You Can Skip and One You Can’t

Kara Horner

One of the best things about modern weddings is that all of the old-fashioned wedding reception traditions and rules no longer have to apply. Want to skip a fancy, three-tier wedding cake in lieu of an add-your-own-toppings cupcake bar? Go for it. Your wedding day can be personalized to anything you hold near and dear, rather than what you may have heard “must” be done. Here are some reception traditions you can skip without a second thought.

Okay to Skip: Speeches during the reception

Speeches can take up a lot of time and are often tough to predict. If you want to streamline your reception schedule or reduce the risk of awkward, rambling diatribes, either nix speeches altogether or plan to have them delivered at the rehearsal dinner instead to reduce stress on the wedding day.

Okay to Skip: Serving a wedding cake

If traditional cake isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of delicious alternatives, such as pies, donuts, cupcakes, cotton candy, ice cream, s’mores stations, cheese spreads, yogurt bars, and more.

Okay to Skip: A full bar

Full bars are great, but certainly aren’t necessary. The best alternative? Avoid a cash bar, if possible, and offer at least a couple of beer options and one red and one white wine option to appeal to a range of tastes. Make sure to also have soda or juice on hand for non-drinkers.

Okay to Skip: A head table for the wedding party

There’s no reason to put the newlyweds and wedding party on display or separate them from the guests unless you really want to. Putting the bridal party at a regular table creates a more intimate vibe and encourages guests to freely mingle with them throughout the evening.

Okay to Skip: Wedding favors

While wedding favors are a nice gesture, they’re definitely not a requirement. If you’d rather skip them, put the money toward something else you really want instead, such as food, drinks, décor or entertainment. Guests will remember those elements more than a parting favor anyway.

Okay to Skip: The champagne toast

When ranking obsolete wedding reception traditions, this one comes in near the top. No one will notice if you forgo the champagne toast. Not everyone likes champagne and you’ll save money on alcohol and dedicated champagne flutes. Guests will be happy to toast you throughout the evening with whatever drink they have in hand.

Not Okay to Skip: Thanking everyone and mingling

The newlyweds should plan to give a brief speech at some point during the reception to thank guests for coming as well as give a shout-out to the families and wedding party. Also make sure to set aside some time to visit with as many tables or groups of people as possible. Otherwise, it’s easy to get caught up checking off your to-do list (cutting the cake, first dance, etc.) instead of enjoying your guests and your own party.

Which wedding reception traditions will you be skipping? Let us know in the comment section below.

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One Comment

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    Megan Earl 8 years ago

    My best friend is getting married in a few months, and I’ve been helping her plan her reception. She’s one of those weird people who doesn’t like cake, so I feel she would love some of the suggestions in this post. I LOVE the idea of serving cotton candy at a wedding reception. Imagine how cute that would be! I can’t think of anything more fun than a candy themed reception. Thanks for the idea!


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