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What Is A Wedding Reception?


November 30, 2022

A wedding reception venue outdoors in San Diego County

What Is A Wedding Reception?

With everything that leads up to and follows a wedding, you might wonder, “What is a wedding reception?” And today, we want to discuss just that. What is a wedding reception, where did the tradition start, and how to plan for one as a guest and as the betrothed.

What Is A Wedding Reception?

Though some couples can host over ten events to celebrate their love, in most weddings, there are two components: the wedding and the reception. The wedding is the ceremony when guests gather together in a church or event venue and watch the couple say their vows and officially become wedded. Afterward, when those wedding guests head to another venue or area outside of the ceremony space to party, eat, and dance the night away, that is the reception. 

The History Of The “Reception”

When weddings were a little more intimate and hosted at family homes before World War II, there was a reception line where the newlyweds greeted all of their guests and welcomed them to the afterparty, where there would be refreshments and light appetizers. Some folks still do this today, greeting each guest after the ceremony as they leave. But, for some, this has been cut out altogether. Weddings have become much larger post World War II—now being held in ballrooms and event spaces where guests move to different locations—and the term reception has remained. 

Today’s Receptions

Today, wedding receptions are held after the wedding and include tons of traditions like the first dance, cake cutting, a dinner, toasts, drinks, dancing, and more, depending on each couple! Here are some traditions you can add to your night.

  • Grand Entrance
  • First Dance
  • Speeches
  • Cake Cutting
  • Bouquet Toss
  • Garter Toss
  • Dollar Dance
  • Grand Exit

What To Expect As A Guest?

It can be nerve-racking for a guest going to their first reception not to know what you’re walking into. But don’t be stressed! Wedding receptions are all about fun and celebration. Typically you will hang out in the reception hall until the MC starts to announce the wedding party. At this point, it is all about cheering them on. Then, dinner may be served where you can get to know the people at your table. Afterward, you will get into the traditions of speeches, dancing, and whatever else the couple has in store! Enjoy the people around you, and have fun celebrating your loved ones.

What Should I Wear?

For a guest at a wedding a reception, you will typically wear formal attire. A cute colored dress or nice shirt with dress pants would be beautiful. But be sure to read the RSVP! You don’t want to show up to a themed wedding in the wrong attire. So looking out for words like black tie, cocktail attire, or any other unique theme is always encouraged. 

Whether you are planning a wedding reception or are a guest, we know it will be a night to remember. If you are looking for a wedding reception venue in San Diego County, check out our indoor and outdoor venues to find one perfect for you!