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The Joy of Traditional Family Style Receptions

There are all sorts of events and celebrations that mark milestones in a person's life individually, yet it is the celebrations that bring families together that tend to be the most heartfelt and memorable.

When two people agree to marry, in reality two families are being joined together and from time as far back in history as we can gather, this event has always been full of family traditions. When the festivities are announced, the countdown to the day you exchange your wedding rings begins.

From pre-wedding parties to the reception, family traditions are part of what makes a wedding such a joyous occasion; special clothes are worn, delectable foods are prepared and sumptuous delicacies are in abundance.  And then there are the gifts! From fabulous to fun to absolutely fantastic, families come together to send the newlyweds off in style and with lots of love.

Today family members often live far distances apart, but that doesn't mean you can't have a wedding reception that is filled to the brim with all the things that make your two families unique. Given a sufficient amount of time, your wedding reception can be an exceptional family affair.

Start by assessing the traditional wedding activities from both of your cultures. Then look to the  personalities and talents of your families; who are the members that are musicians, dancers and singers?  You should also look at the younger members of your families and give them a chance to shine as well. Incorporate games to keep the fun spontaneous and enjoyable for everyone.

When it comes to having fun, don't limit yourself to the garter or bouquet toss. Some of the popular wedding reception activities such as the "Money Dance" are common in many cultures,  as well as the tradition of carrying the bride and groom on the shoulders of the men. Dances where all the women are together in a circle while the men dance in one of their own also strengthen the bonds between families.

If you are planning a reception for under 100 people, you might consider renting a restaurant instead of a reception hall. If you must use a reception hall, make sure you can have the seating arranged in a horseshoe shape so that everyone has a front row seat to the merriment. Gathering mementos from both of your families to make unique centerpieces is a lovely way to help both families learn more about each other.

When it comes to the food, tradition holds sway here as well. From the entrees to the wedding cake there is a wide variety of items that are associated with this special occasion. Last but not least, consider your traditions when it comes to selecting the gifts or "favors" that you send home with your guests to remember your special day.