Wedding History: How the Modern Wedding Reception Came to Be

wedding receptionTo everyone, even those who haven’t been through it yet, a wedding reception is the celebration that follows the wedding ceremony. Full of traditions and rituals, receptions celebrate the new family with music, dancing, good food, and many toasts. So, how did they come to be? Let’s see!

The Origin of the Wedding Reception

The word “reception” literally means to receive something. In terms of weddings, it is the moment the newlyweds receive their friends and family for the first time as a married couple, and likewise, their loved ones receive them into their community. Up until World War II, wedding receptions were a very straightforward celebration. They typically took place in the bride’s home, and it was her family’s financial state that dictated the style of the ceremony. Wealthier families would host balls, while middle-class families often resolved to afternoon luncheons.

A 1950s-inspired wedding venue in a dance hallIt was during the 1950s when things began to scale up with the increased popularity of dance halls, which gradually became a go-to wedding venue for many. The couple was no longer limited to the number of people their homes could accommodate, so guest lists began to grow. Nowadays, the average American wedding has 131 guests.

Not All Traditions Survived the Test of Time

Young couple and their guests toasting with champagne during wedding reception in gardenBack in the day, whenever the reception was held, it was a must that the newlyweds, hosts, and parents would stand in a receiving line to greet every guest. Today, it’s much more common for the DJ or wedding band to introduce the married couple and start the celebration party. That’s not the only change, however. Many couples choose to streamline their wedding day by holding the religious ceremony and the reception at the same place, instead of making everyone go to several locations.

Dancing and entertainment have also seen a shift in recent years. Modern receptions often include professional dancers and musicians hired to provide additional entertainment for the guests.