Wedding Reception - Flow
Most Christian wedding receptions follow a fixed sequence of events. However due to time restrictions and budget constraints it is advisable and recommended that one makes appropriate changes to suit your style and convenience.
Here in brief is the sequence of events for a standard wedding reception. A few practical variations are also mentioned below. Choose the one that suits you the best.
The parents stand at the entrance to personally welcome the guest to the reception. The couple is either seated in the car or at a close relative's place or in a hotel room near by.
After appropriate number of guests arrives, The Master of Ceremonies greets the guests and requests them to stand around the dance floor to welcome the bridal party. The bride walks to the left of the Groom, followed by the Best Man and Maid / Matron of Honour, Escorts and Bridesmaids. The Flower Girl and Page Boy precede the bridal couple. The bridal party is welcomed with showers of confetti whilst the Band/D.J. plays the wedding march.
Cutting of the Cake
The bridal party stands in a semi-circle around the cake. The MC introduces the bridal entourage to the guests. The cake is cut to the accompaniment of fanfare. The bride and the groom then share a piece of the wedding cake amongst themselves and with their parents. The bridal entourage then moves towards the stage to be seated. The guests are now served the wedding cake and the toast wine.
Traditionally, a toast was meant to introduce the two families to each other. Today the Toast Master, on behalf of the guests, offers the bridal couple words of advice and wishes them well. It is appropriate to have a member of the family, or a close mutual friend to toast to the couple. Even ladies or younger members of the family could raise the toast. The groom, escorts and other gentlemen in the crowd stand during the toast.
Sometimes brothers, sisters, or other close friend would like to express their thoughts, recite a poem or share a special moment with the guests. This is the time to do it.
The Couple’s Speech
This is a unique opportunity for the Bride and the Groom to express their thoughts, feelings and gratitude to near and dear ones. This is a ‘once in a life time’ moment to publicly acknowledge people who made a difference and touched their lives. They thank the toast master for his presence and kind words. They may also express their gratitude to the guest and dear ones. A few pointers on preparing a speech are mentioned in this book.
The M.C. invites the parents, relatives and guests to join the bridal couple for a wedding march. The grand wedding march is not a dance but a symbol of solidarity and support to the bridal couple. The guests walk around the dance floor to the beats of a song in formations led by the MC.
The First Dance
After the wedding march the guests form a circle with the bridal couple in the centre. The newly weds then dance their first steps together as "man and wife" to the accompaniment of a slow romantic song especially chosen by them. This is the most romantic dance of the evening and very often guests stand up to witness this moment. The guests join the couple on the dance floor for the next song.
First Session of Dancing
The First Dance is followed by two or three songs. The choice of songs depends on preferences of the guests on the dance floor. If they are young guests, a few of the latest songs would be appropriate. However this is usually a session of romantic love songs.
The band / D.J takes a short break and the caterer usually serves light snacks and soft drinks. The bar too is opened at this stage. In case of the custom of the ‘sado’ the bride is escorted by the groom’s mother and ladies of both families to change into the traditional red sari.
The band/D.J now plays five to six lively songs. Today, the type of music usually played during this session are rock & roll, techno, reggae and commercial. It is advisable that the band / D.J play till the bride is ready to return in her traditional outfit. The bridal couple enters once again to the accompaniment of a popular march.
The couple then goes to the centre of the dance floor and the groom presents his wife the traditional Indian Mangal-sutra, a symbol of his love and commitment as a husband. (This Indian tradition is usually held at Mangalorean weddings. At most other weddings the Mangal-sutra is presented in the church itself.)
This is usually a buffet and is preceded by the recitation of the ‘Grace before Meals’ by a priest, nun or a family member. The compere escorts the bridal couple to inaugurate the buffet table. The guests are then invited to serve themselves.
Third Session of Dancing
This session usually begins with Waltzes and Cha-Cha-Cha and is followed by the Masala.
This is a community celebration and everyone is invited to join the bridal couple on the dance floor. The band plays a variety of folk tunes with popular lyrics. The Masala is usually followed by the Fiesta, Hokey-Pokey and the Birdie song.
Chairing of the Bridal Couple
The compere invites the guests to chair the bridal couple. The bridal couple is lifted on a chair to the accompaniment of the tune ‘He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’. The celebration ends with the bridal couple kissing each other.