Marrying and Wedding Receptions in 2017

In the past, unless the bride and her family were  pillars of high society, a wedding was typically a modest affair where the reception was hosted in the front parlor of a family home or a church basement. Then, it was held in a yacht club, country club or big uptown hotel ballroom.

After all, the only thing needed to officially marry was the ceremony, which was sanctioned by the church or an Officiant, like a Justice of the Peace.

Most mothers and grandmothers took great pride in preparing food and pastries weeks before the big day, and friends brought additional comestibles to augment the home cooking, thereby creating a lavish home prepared spread.

Since brides almost always lived in the same city as her family, and usually in her family home, a wedding was a community effort; first planned by the family and then, touched with love and good wishes by friends and guests.

Moms and grandmas took care of the details, the protocol and the entertaining. It was rare that a bride did much more than her groom,  because it was all looked after for her. The bride either had her gown passed down to her by a previous generation; had one custom designed for her or went out and purchased that dream dress in the city.  Mom and dad looked after the big decisions, and paid the way. They also had their hand in the guest list because a lot of the invitees were their friends; and it was a social obligation to reciprocate and  invite them to their children’s weddings.

It wasn’t until the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles that the “modern” wedding came of age. Women no longer live in the same city as the family, and mom was no longer able to organize the day.  Even if they were in the same physical locale , mom now works and her time is scarce.

Today’s bride is generally a working woman or she is finishing her education with little available, free time.  Wedding planners used to exist only for high society brides , where today they are shouldering  the bulk of the day with input from the couple, on most decision-making.

With today’s extended families,  many couples have no idea how to host a wedding or more importantly, what is socially proper or acceptable.

Today, couples are marrying at a later age in life and they are putting their own personalized, signature style on their day.The groom is hugely involved,  because it is also his budget and he wants to ensure that as a couple, they are garnering the best value for their money. It is the first time in history that the male has entered this predominately traditional arena of females and industry professionals are learning how to deal with a masculine presence.  And, believe it or not, some of today’s women simply do not want to be involved in any of the planning.

With grandiose ideas, the options of planning a large party have come a long way. Mobile carts laden with fruits, pastries, waffles, Gelato, ice cream, donuts and specialty coffees have appeared. This is a natural progression of the “foodie” generation; one that has added some élan and flair to the  dinner service. Some large cities are also seeing food trucks service the wedding day menu, parked right at the reception venue.

Alisha Toole Photography, Windsor, Ontario

Receptions can be held at any time of the day, on any day of the week,  so that budgets and lifestyles can be reflected in a genteel way. We have seen some wedding receptions evolve into  unique and sometimes over the top affairs, that wow all those guests who attend.

Since 75% of couples today live together before marriage, they are also  incorporating their children, dogs and other pets  that are meaningful, into their wedding day.

Destination weddings, which were unheard of 30 years ago, ( I believe they were called eloping) now have become the norm, and guests pack up and go to some exotic island with the bride and groom for a week of festivities.

Twenty years ago, the honeymoon registry  added a new twist for a wedding gift. Instead of purchasing a gift, you added your cash portion at the travel agency, who added it to the trip that the couple has chosen to take.  Today, registries extend to charitable giving for a cause that means a lot to a couple, as well as registering together at big box, department or hardware stores for everyday items, as well as picnic tables, tools, ladders, BBQ- items that the couple will both enjoy!

So, when all is said and done, suffice it to say that today there are more options available to the couple to plan for. In same cases, the traditional wedding is still alive and well, while others are changing the dial and making up new and interesting customs for their own.

Whatever you decide to do for your wedding day will be very personal- but the mode of doing it has evolved and changed. It is your day and your memories. Plan it to enjoy each and every moment!