Kansas City Wedding Receptions: There Are No Rules!

A few days ago I met with a happily engaged couple to discuss their upcoming Kansas City wedding reception. During the course of our conversation, they told me that they would like to perform their first dance right after they are introduced. When I asked why, they told me “so we can get it out of the way.”

Because I’ve been hearing similar sentiments from other couples, I had to ask a simple follow-up question, “Really?” The Bride went on to clarify their reasoning by adding, “Since we have to do a first dance anyway, we just want to get it over with. Isn’t there like a rule?

Translation…”A first dance is not something we really want to do but we feel obligated to do it because it is expected. It’s not our idea of a good time, but what the heck.”

Imagine being a guest at that wedding reception. The wedding party has been introduced. The energy level in the room is building to a non-repeatable crescendo as every guest jumps to their feet to greet the Bride & Groom. Suddenly the newlyweds take to the dance floor to go through the motions of a first dance they never wanted to do in the first place. How engaging or memorable do you suppose that one, singularly special moment would be, especially if the Bride & Groom are not into it? Is anyone going to pay attention beyond the first few bars of music? Probably not. Will anyone remember it? That’s doubtful.

Can you imagine a movie or stage play where the actors simply repeat the lines of a script without any emotion or without knowing anything about the character they portray? How likely would anyone be to want to watch something like that? How memorable would that performance be?

If your answer is, “I wouldn’t pay money to see that,” then why subject your guests to a wedding reception formality that does not interest you or that you think has become passé or more likely, “cheesy?” Actually, why perform any wedding formality for the sake of either pleasing others or with the belief that it is a necessary tradition?

I’m of the belief that the word “tradition” has nothing to do with what everyone else does or has done. You see, when it comes to traditional wedding reception formalities, There Are No Rules! Whichever you choose to include in your Kansas City wedding reception, if any, should reflect who you are as a couple and take your guests on a very personal journey where they can experience a moment that they will never experience again and treasure for years to come. To make that kind of a memorable impact, formalities should never be performed as a necessity.

The “average” wedding reception template has for years included a number of formalities that many Brides & Grooms somehow feel obligated to follow. I’m not saying that they should all be set aside for something new and different. I’m suggesting that couples ask themselves one very important question as they think about what so-called traditional formalities they want to include in their Kansas City wedding reception. That question is “Why?” “Why is this formality important to us?” If you can’t come up with a good reason, other than believing it is a necessity, then perhaps you might consider alternatives that are more in-tune with who you are and the fun & memories you wish to create.

Trust me. Your guests have no expectations when they go to wedding receptions. Why should they? They’ve seen everything at least a dozen times before, cut from the same “average” wedding reception pattern. Only the names of the guests of honor have changed. Be honest. What is the most memorable thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding reception? If you have more than one vivid recollection, you’re doing better than most.

With that in mind, as you work your way through the creative process, why not surprise your guests by breaking the mold and involve them in fun, wedding reception activities that they’ve never experienced before and are less likely to experience, again?

If the idea of a first dance makes you uneasy because all eyes will be focused on you during that moment or because dancing just isn’t your thing, here are three alternate ideas.

1. Engage all of your guests in a fun game of Bride & Groom trivia. Have your Master of Ceremonies asks questions that have to do with where you were born, went to school, how you met, what color was your first car, your pet peeves, etc. The number of questions is only limited by time you wish to fill. Award points for each answer. At the end of the activity, give everyone at the table with the most accumulated points a small party favor. If you plan a centerpiece give-a-way, make winners of those guests who have correctly answered the more difficult questions.

2. Create a Mad Libs script that tells a fun, although purposely incomplete story of your honeymoon or how your lives will be after 50 years of marriage. Ask your wedding DJ or Master of Ceremonies to have your guests shout out the needed nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs to fill in the blanks of your wedding Mad Libs story before reading back the very unpredictable and entertaining tale.

3. Or, maybe this time would be ideal for a special friend or family member to perform a song or reading written especially for you.

Granted, even these three alternatives to a wedding first dance may not be to your liking or fitting to your personality and style. But, they are just a couple of ideas from a list of hundreds that can easily replace or even enhance what has become known as the traditional, Kansas City wedding reception formalities; from the first dance to the cake cutting, the parent dances to the bouquet and garter toss. The amount of creativity and personal touches you infuse into your wedding reception are only limited by your limitless imagination. Don’t hold back.

But, as it was with considering each wedding reception formality you may wish to include, before selecting any activity, ask yourself “Why?” If the answer makes you smile and think of the fun and memories it will produce, you’re probably making the right choice. If not, don’t give up…come up with another idea.

Your wedding day should be a celebration of your happiness. You should feel comfortable with the activites and formalities you’ve chosen to perform and eager to enjoy a few first-time traditions of your very own. Don’t ever feel like you have to include a formality because it is expected. And above all, never ever go through the motions of a formality simply to get it out of the way!

Still need a little help getting the creative juices flowing? Pick up a copy of Peter Merry’s book “The Best Wedding Reception…Ever! It is an entertaining and informative read that includes over 260 creative ideas that will make yours an unforgettably fun wedding reception.

As a credited contributor to Peter’s book and one of the editors, I’d be happy to give you a copy, with my compliments, simply for taking the time to tell me about your idea of the ideal wedding reception. To take advantage of this limited time offer, call me at 816-224-4487 or send an email to Ron@RonRuthWeddings.com and arrange for your complimentary, no-obligation wedding reception design consultation. Don’t forget to mention promo code “TBWRE2012.”

What do you think? Are you ready to be a rebel and break some rules to enjoy a wedding reception that is uniquely you? Your comments are welcome! 

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