Planning a wedding can be very stressful. Weddings are expensive, and the bride wants perfection on her day. One of the most expensive items is the wedding dinner or reception. What’s the difference between the two and which should you have? Here’s some information to shed light on the subject.

people raising wine glass in selective focus photography

What’s the Difference?

Honestly, there’s not a lot of difference these days between a wedding reception and dinner. A reception and dinner can be as elaborate or simple as the bride and groom want. It’s not uncommon for couples to have themes like a wedding hoe-down. Lots of barbecues are sure to be served. One couple can have a reception after the wedding and, later, everyone goes home. Drinks and hor ‘d oeuvres are served at the reception. A wedding dinner is a little more formal, often with a sit-down dinner. Learn more about wedding dinners by contacting

Historically Speaking

A reception is a celebration after the wedding. Traditionally, receptions were held to welcome and feed wedding guests. Lavish weddings didn’t happen often until after World War Two. Indeed, most weddings occurred at the home of the bride’s parents. The parents’ income and status often determined how elaborate things were. It became popular to invite lots of wedding guests when folks started having receptions at dance halls. People could invite more guests so the event became more of a party.

Today, the wedding dinner and reception are combined. The sky’s the limit for modern couples. The reception and dinner can be held at home. Likewise, wedding venues are very popular. The ceremony, reception, and dinner are held at the same place. Dinner is more common when couples have evening weddings. Guests start to get hungry and expect something to eat.

Disappearing Traditions

Receiving lines used to be mandatory at wedding dinners. The line gave everyone a chance to greet the wedding party. Modern wedding planners feel this tradition takes up too much time. It’s becoming customary for the bride and groom to visit each table. Further, the tradition has been replaced by a booming D.J. who announces the wedding party. If you have one, the proper order for a receiving line is parents of the bride, parents of the groom, bride, and groom, maid of honour and the bridesmaids.

A wedding dinner used to be a very formal process. There were several courses and guests would give toasts between them. Modern wedding toasts are very simple and limited to two or three minutes. Additionally, the tradition of the head table has changed a bit. The table was at the front of the room and reserved for the bride and groom and the wedding party. Modern couples want to sit among the guests. Dancing was reserved for after the wedding dinner. However, at reception/dinners, the couples can dance whenever they want.

A lot of food is generally served at a modern wedding reception. Some food is necessary if alcohol will be served. There can be so much food at a reception that dinner isn’t missed. One woman treated guests to a mashed potato bar at the reception. Everyone was stuffed because there were so many potato toppings. Couples with more elaborate nuptials are more likely to have multi-course dinners. Basically, wedding reception and wedding dinner are interchangeable terms.

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