Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!!! My husband and I had many
of the same issues. We were married outside, and the reception was
outside as well. I was the first in my family not to have a
traditional Church wedding, so we used it as an opportunity to do new
things -- re-write the book, so to speak.
First, please pardon the typos. It's 5 a.m. and I can't sleep.
" My bride and I would like to avoid some of the more traditional
aspects of the ceremony and reception and keep the evening festive."
A. Kudos! You could start by setting the expectation with family and
friends, so that they know that they are in for something special, and
so that they can come to the event ready to have a wonderful time.
Let them know via the way you do your invitations, by setting up a
website, by spreading the word, etc...
Some of the things we would prefer not to do are the bridal procession
(ie father and bride walking down the aisle),
A. I didn't want to do this either, but it meant a lot to my father.
I couldn't think of another way to get down the isle (which was
essentially grass...) anyway. Options could include having her come in
from the side at the same time that you do, perhaps at the same time
as the music starts. (Vivaldi is great if you want to ditch the
regular wedding marches.) or to have the two of you walk down the isle
together, holding hands, then to have your ceremony with the two of
you facing your friends and family instead of with your backs to
"the first dance, father/daughter and mother/son dance,"
A. Hated the thought of that too. Hubby is very tall, and had no
experience dancing (we grew up metal heads in the 70s/80s...) So,
when it was time for the dancing to start, the singer in the band made
an announcement by introducing us, then asking everyone to take the
floor. Worked out great. Haven't danced with my hubby since (that
was in '89).
" the boquet toss"
A. This is some sort of superstitious thing about who will get married
next, and a way to point out to any elligible men who the unmarried
ladies are. I think a neat thing to do would be to have a large
basket or bin of flowers somewhere near the dancefloor, and to have
the single girls (including the little ones) get to come and have the
best man hand them a flower for them to take home. That's something
really unique. Or... you could just skip it alltogether. Be really
funny, and have the single guys have to come up too. Or you could
have any ladies, married or not, get a flower. What woman doesn't
like flowers? We did the toss, and it only took 2 minutes and it was
over. The young girls got a kick out of it, and everyone else was just
glad it was over. We did not do the garter belt thingy.
"It seems like a lot of the weddings I've been to involve the above
activities, dinner, and then most people sitting around watching kids
A. Yep. That's about it for most of them I've been to as well. We did
some extra things, like an silly dance contest, a small kids only
dance, a can-can line...
As everyone moved to the reception, they got champagne with a
strawberry in the glass. That helped to loosen everyone up.
Also, one of the best weddings I went to had the parents and wedding
party get up to a mic and say a few words about the ones getting
married. We are a funny family, so most of it was humorous, but of
course, the Mom's got mushy. (It's their day too!)
Create a theme for the reception, like you would a big party, and have
activities that go along with it.
You have to have great music.
You and your bride need to circulate a lot.
Have a few helpful plants... you know... silly uncles, fun aunts,
crazy cousins, that agree to make the rounds and help make sure
everyone has a good time. Every family has at least a few natural
Have a car decorating event where everyone brings something to tie to
the car for the "Just Married" trip from the reception. Have them
write in a book/register what they brought and why, and keep it for
Hire a sitter (or two) for the kids so that the kids can stay with the
kids, and the parents can have fun without having to mind them the
Have activities for the kids, because parents would stay longer if the
kids weren't crying to leave (usually because they are bored). Things
like toys, coloring, indoor balls, a VCR with a current kid movie,
simon says, musical chairs, whatever....
Come to think of it, musical chairs for grownups is fun, but with a
big wedding, you take away 4-6 chairs at a time, not one.
Have a TV set up with videos of you guys as kids, or show a video
show/slide show. Most reception places have some sort of AV
Have a camcorder set up for people to come to and say their wishes, or
to be funny... and you get the tape when it's all over (or so that you
can replay Uncle Harry's chicken dance 50 times if you want to.) This
wouldn't be the professional videographer's camera... instead, it's
one for people to pass around, or one that's set up in a corner
somewhere for people to walk over to and record something.
Well, that's all that comes to mind. Good luck. I hope you are very
happy for the rest of your lives.