A wedding reception in the USA

A US wedding reception is usually a sumptuous affair with beautiful decorations and the best food and wine that the family can afford.

After the wedding ceremony and the photographs, the bridal party and guests make their way by limousine to the wedding reception, where a meal and drinks are served. There is often music, entertainment, and dancing to a live band or a DJ. 

The receiving line

US newlyweds traditionally greet wedding reception guests in a receiving line, usually accompanied by all key members of the bridal party. This gives them a chance to chat briefly with each guest individually before the reception begins.

toastToasts and speeches

A toast is usually said to the bride and groom at the reception, where guests stand and raise their champagne-filled glasses to the couple. Since they are the ones being honored, the couple remains seated and do not drink from their glasses during the toast. Speeches are typically made at an American wedding by the father of the bride, groom and best man.

 The wedding cake

cut-the-cakeUS wedding cakes are generally elaborately decorated professionally-made iced cakes that are tiered or multilayered. These cakes are usually topped with a cake topper, typically models of a bride and groom. They can even be personalized to represent the couple themselves. It is traditional for the bride and groom to cut the cake together with a symbolic cut. A sword is sometimes used for this purpose, especially at a military wedding.

A tradition mainly seen in the southern United States involves providing a groom’s cake. In the US Colonial and Victorian eras, the white-iced bride's cake was considered "too light" for male tastes, and a second cake, usually a dark, liquor-soaked fruitcake, was also offered. Chocolate is popular nowadays, and the groom's cake is usually shaped or decorated as something significant to the groom, such as a favorite hobby or sport.

The cookie table

Something that is becoming increasingly popular at US wedding receptions is a cookie table, often provided as well as or instead of wedding cake.


Wedding favors

Small gifts called wedding favors are given to guests at the reception as a token of the couple’s appreciation for sharing their special day. Candies, picture frames, soaps and candles are some popular wedding favors, and they are often personalized with the couple’s names and the date of the wedding. Five sugar almonds have traditionally been given as favors at European weddings:

Five sugared almonds for each guest to eat
To remind us that life is both bitter and sweet.
Five wishes for the new husband and wife,
Health, wealth, happiness, children, and a long life!

garterThe bouquet and garter toss

Tossing the wedding bouquet is a popular tradition in the United States, where the bride throws the bouquet into a gathering of her unmarried female friends and relatives. It is believed that the woman who catches the bouquet will become the next one to marry.

Throwing the bride's garter to the single men at the wedding is a tradition where the groom removes the garter from his new wife's leg and tosses it to the single men at the reception. The man who catches it is believed to be the next one to marry.

The first dance

The couple’s first dance is a long-awaited part of the wedding reception, and some couples take lessons to practice for this moment, choosing a special track to accompany them. The father-daughter and mother-son dance is also a cherished moment at an American wedding reception.first-dance

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