Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

Wedding Reception Traditions

Rhode Island Wedding Receptions
Photo by Victoria Boucher Photography

You have chosen the perfect wedding reception site! Now you need to finalize all the details: wedding favors, decorations, seating at the reception, cocktails, and much more. We've put together many parts of your reception that you may (or may not) need to plan. Here is a list of wedding traditions that you may choose to do at your wedding. Your families may also have special traditions that they follow.

If your family has a special wedding tradition, please drop us a line so that we may share it with our readers, info@riweddingguide.com.


Bridal Portrait Display
A formal bridal portrait is displayed at the entrance to the wedding reception or on the guest book table.


Receiving Line
This is a nice way to greet all your guests and to introduce them to your parents and attendants. The receiving line typically includes: the bride and groom, both sets of parents and the bridesmaids. The best man and ushers do not stand in the receiving line. Learn more, More>


Guest Book
You may want your guests to sign a guest book. The book may be left on a table at the reception, for guests to sign as they enter the reception. You may want to appoint a guest book attendant. Learn more, More>


The wedding toast is given immediately before the meal is served and is usually given by the best man. The groom may also toast the bride and the bride and groom may toast their parents. Learn more, More>


First Dance
The first dance takes place after the meal. You may decide to dance the entire dance alone or ask your bridal party to join in halfway through the song. The band or DJ should be notified of the song ahead of time. See our listing of song suggestions under DJs, More>


Cutting the Cake
Both the bride and groom cut the first piece of cake together. The bride then gives the groom the first bite, followed by the groom giving the bride the next bite. A server then cuts slices of the cake for guests. You may want to select a song to cut the cake to. Learn more, More>


Tossing the Bouquet
All the single women are called to the dance floor to catch the bride's bouquet. It is "believed" that the person to catch the bouquet will be the next to marry. When tossing the bouquet, the bride's back should be towards the group and she should toss the bouquet over her shoulder.


Throwing the Garter
The groom takes the garter off the leg of the bride. The groom then tosses the garter to the group of single men. Once again it is "believed" that the man who catches the garter will be the next to marry. The man who catches it may then put it on the leg of the woman who caught the bouquet.


The bride and groom make a grand exit. You may want to change clothes and/or have a final dance.

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