Differences Between A Wedding Ceremony And Wedding Reception

There are a lot of wedding terminologies some people may not know about like what’s the difference between a wedding ceremony and a wedding reception? Are both of them important? Can you skip one? Can you hire weeding tent rentals for only one of them? Let’s find out!

Wedding Ceremony

Here are the things that go down in a wedding ceremony.

Congratulations! You’re Hitched

A wedding ceremony is essentially a formal and official ceremony that takes place in front of a preacher. You are officially married in a ceremony. It has the whole walking down the aisle, saying the vows, exchanging wedding bands, and all that jazz. It’s pretty short and sweet and it usually takes place in a church, chapel, or a scenic venue.

A wedding ceremony also gets wrapped up pretty quickly and the newlywed couple walks back to the aisle as a married couple. Usually, wedding ceremonies take place before the reception and they’re crucial because it’s the next most official thing, after getting your marriage license.

Say The Vows

The main highlight of a wedding ceremony is the vow exchange. Generally, there are wedding vows involved in every kind of ceremony, however, the exchange can be a bit different. Sometimes, the couple might ask to say their vows, and other times, the preacher can say the respective vows for the couple.

Without vows and the ring bearing, the ceremony is kind of pointless. The whole gist of a wedding ceremony is to make your marriage official in front of a preacher and the guests. A wedding ceremony is also something that’s kid-friendly, so couples will usually invite people early in the evening and even in the afternoon for the ceremony.

Since the reception takes place afterward, there might be some people who want to excuse themselves and take leave early and that’s okay too. The ceremony is the most important thing to attend, and if you don’t care too much about the food and post-ceremony activities, then you can leave.

Dress Code Is Formal

For a wedding ceremony, the dress code for everyone, including the bride and groom, is formal. People mostly get ready for this part, as it’s very intimate and classy. After the bride and groom get ready, they head first to the venue where the ceremony will take place and the bride is usually in an extravagant white bridal dress whereas the groom is in a sleek black and white tuxedo.

The wedding guests are also expected to dress to the nines for this formal ceremony. It is also quite time-bound, so a ceremony needs to be wrapped up quickly.

No Food

In a wedding ceremony, since its duration is pretty small, there is no food. The next main thing is the reception, so the guests need to hold themselves over for a couple of hours before they can fill their tummies up.

A ceremony doesn’t usually have refreshments either, but this might vary from wedding to wedding. Some couples have ceremony refreshments while others don’t, so there’s no general rule of thumb in this regard. It all boils down to the budget the couple has at the end of the day.

Ceremony Portraits

Before a ceremony begins and sometimes even after, there are pictures taken. The pictures mainly focus on the portraits of the bride and groom with the rest of the family.

There might also be solo shots of the bride and groom before the ceremony and after the ceremony, the couple can pose together. These photos are very formal and aesthetic, to say the least.

Daylight photoshoots are very sought-after by couples because they want photos in natural light and a bright background, so this is the time when a lot of pictures are taken. Of course, pictures of the ceremony are also taken and overall that’s pretty much what goes down in a wedding ceremony.

Wedding Reception

Here is everything that you can expect in a wedding reception.

Let’s Party & Dance!

A wedding reception consists of the celebrations and festivities that follow after the formal ceremony. The reception is usually held in an indoor venue with lots of tables, décor and there’s also a seating plan. Sounds pretty fancy, but the vibe is pretty chill and there’s a lot of eating, drinking, and dancing involved.

Usually, the bride might also change her outfit into something more comfortable and easy to move around in, but then again it will vary from couple to couple.

Yay! There’s Food

The wedding reception consists of food there’s no doubt about that. There’s also a lot of other knick-knacks to entice the taste buds of the guests. The food can be a buffer-style set-up or it can also be a bit fancy and you can select from a menu and have the waiters serve it to you.

There are also desserts and if there’s room, then there can also be a cake-cutting ceremony for the couple, which is pretty awesome. The cake cutting isn’t mandatory per se, but it is a nice and sweet addition to the reception.

For the reception, you have to arrange a great venue that can accommodate the number of your guests and party table rentals Rockland NY for the best experience.

Lots Of Pictures

The ceremony pictures and reception pictures are worlds apart. They’re more casual and there are a lot of candid shots this time around. Usually, the pictures consist of the couple cutting the cake (if there is any), the couple entering the reception hall, and the dances between the couple and other guests as well.

The pictures are a carousel of memories and fun times that the guests and the couple experience on this magical evening and it helps a lot that the reception is pretty laid back and not bound to a schedule, so you can have the time of your life.

Toasts & Speeches

Aside from the food and dance being the highlights, the main thing that occurs at a wedding reception is the speeches made by the guests and friends of the couple. These are also accompanied by toasts and drinks.

It’s an emotional and equally hilarious time because while some speeches can make tears pool in the eyes, others are downright cackle-worthy and creative. The gist of the speeches is to give the bride and groom all of the attention tell them stories and wish them well in their new life ahead.

It’s Chill

Wedding receptions can go on for a long time, that is until the venue allows it. However, it’s still longer in duration than a teeny tiny ceremony and it’s also a bit wild, so it can or cannot be kid-friendly. People can leave anytime they want, as soon as the food and speeches are done.

Usually, wedding receptions last anywhere between 7 pm to midnight, and there are just a lot of activities involved that require everyone to dust off their dance shoes and hit the dance floor. In comparison to a wedding ceremony, the reception is pretty chill.


Now you know all of the key differences between a wedding ceremony and a reception. You can see for yourself that both events are equally as important for the wedding. Plan your wedding by choosing a venue, vendors, and wedding party rentals Rockland NY.

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