From North America to Asia and from Europe to Africa, there are many unique wedding reception ideas based on charming traditions and customs. Why not weave some of these beautiful customs into your own wedding celebrations?
1) A unique Chinese custom is to present the bride and groom with goblets filled with wine and honey. The two goblets are tied together with red string signifying their joining. The color red is a symbol of joy.
2) In Finland, the bride wears a gold crown which is later used in much the same way as our typical bouquet toss. During the reception, the bride is blindfolded and the single guests dance in a circle around the bride. As they dance, the bride removes her crown and places it on someone's head. The person who receives the crown is supposedly the next to be married.
3) Would you like to know how many happy years you will have together? In Italy, just as the bride and groom are preparing to retire for the night, they will break a vase or a glass. The number of broken pieces is counted up and that's how many happy years you have in store.
4) Here's another fun tradition for the bride that also comes from Italy. At an Italian reception, the bride gets to be kissed by all the men present for good luck. It's also done to make the groom jealous.
5) A more profitable custom comes from Cuba where each man that dances with the bride must pin some money to her dress for the pleasure of dancing with her.
6) To celebrate a Scottish heritage, tie tartan ribbons around the stems of champagne and wine glasses. Use the same type of ribbon to tie around cloth napkins and to decorate favors.
7) At a Mexican reception, the guests will form a "circle" around the bride and groom in the shape of a heart. The bridal couple will then dance their first dance within the heart.
8) Set up a slide show featuring photos of the bride and groom growing up in a dark corner of the room.
9) Serve a few specialty dishes or wines that honor your heritage.
10) If you're having a themed wedding, a fun idea would be to sew up some aprons and bow ties in your color scheme or theme pattern for the wait-staff to wear.
11) Ask a couple of friends to walk around the room taking digital pictures of each guest. After the picture is taken, have the guest write some advice or give their best wishes on fancy note paper. Just instruct them to keep the pictures and the notes in order, so you can match them up later. Once you get home from your honeymoon, you can print out your photos and put together a neat scrapbook with little tidbits of advice from each guest to remember them by.
12) Enhance your punch bowls by having an edible flower frozen into the center of each ice cube.
13) Either during the ceremony or during the reception, have some helpers go outside and secure a paper flower to the aerials of each guest's cars as a festive wedding surprise.
14) If you happen to have several generations of guests at your reception, have the DJ play a series of songs in a tribute to their generation, starting with the oldest to the youngest. This is a wonderful way to bring back memories of days long ago.
15) Instead of throwing your bridal bouquet, hand each single woman a pretty flower such as a carnation or rose bud. That way no one is left out when trying to catch the bouquet.
16) Here is another great idea to try instead of the bouquet toss. Find out who the oldest married couple is at the reception and present them with the bouquet.
17) If you can sing, consider serenading your new spouse during the reception with a love song that is special to both of you.
18) Here's a little twist on the "tinkling of spoons on glasses" to get the bride and groom to kiss. Have a hat or box ready prior to the reception with the names of all the couples that have been married at least 10+ years. When it comes time to kiss, the bridal couple draws a name out of the hat. The couple chosen can either choose to kiss each other or if they are too shy, they can elect to have the bride and groom kiss instead.
19) Instead of a regular guest book, here's a unique - and practical - idea I came across. Buy a very nice address book instead. As they arrive, the guests can flip to the correct letter and fill in their address information. The bride and groom will then have an up-to-date address book of all their guests.
20) Pass around a blank journal book and have guests write down advice, thoughts and wishes for the happy couple. At the end of the evening, present the journal to the bride and groom.
21) A charming idea that also adds a personal touch is to place framed photographs of the bride's and groom's parents (preferably their wedding photographs) on the guest book table.
22) Buy yourselves a lovely wedding quilt. Have friends and family sign the back of the quilt using fabric pens. This is a great idea for a treasured keepsake that will remind you of your special day for years to come.
23) Another wonderful keepsake idea is to purchase a silver tray and an engraving tool. Guests can sign the tray instead of a guest book.
24) Keep young children occupied during the reception. Set up an area (or another room) with smaller children's size tables and chairs. Decorate the chairs with balloons and streamers. Put together packages for each child which contains coloring books, crayons, colored paper, scissors, stickers, small puzzles and games, etc. You can pick most of this stuff up inexpensively at the dollar store.
25) Hand out sparklers to each guest just before the first dance (make sure there are a few lighters and/or matches on each of the tables). Have the MC or the DJ announce the first dance for the bridal couple and have all the guests light their sparklers.
26) As the newly wedded couple begins their first dance, have a photo slide show happening on a large wall or screen behind them. The show should start off showing them as babies and work on up through the years, finally ending with the engagement photo.
27) Instead of the usual "wishing well" set up for gift cards, a unique idea is to take a picture of the outside of the chapel where you will be marrying. Then have a woodworker make a miniature replica of the chapel for you with a slot cut out in the roof. This will make a wonderful keepsake that you can either display in your home or place outside in your garden. In fact, cut out the doorway, add a small dowel peg and turn it into a bird house!