Make it yours

Hi y'all!

I met with a bride, her mother and father last night to go over details for their September wedding at the beautiful Piedmont Driving Club. Our discussion continually went in the direction of what is the 'norm' for wedding reception practices?

Do you have to announce the entire bridal party?
Do couples normally decided to do a garter toss in addition to the bouquet toss?
The first dance as a married couple, father-daughter dances, mother-son dances get a biiiiit long. What should we do?

I'd like to address these questions- but simply put: It's YOUR wedding and all these things come down to personal preference.

Traditionally, when choosing to announce the entire bridal party, the brides parents are announced first, followed by:
-grooms parents
-each bridesmaid w/ the groomsman that escorted them from the ceremony
-the maid of honor and best man
-and ....the main event the new Mr. and Mrs.

The garter toss is optional. As is a bouquet toss. Your wedding. Your decision. For the indecisive brides, think ask yourself, do you feel comfortable with your new husband under your dress in front of your guests? Will your husband feel comfortable doing so?
The garter toss today is done for fun symbolizing the groom tossing away his single life for married life. Tossing of the bouquet is a tradition that is said to brings luck and more specifically- a glimpse into the future of the lucky recipient.

An interesting alternative to the traditional 'first dances' that this particular family came up with is:

Dance/song #1 traditional bride and grooms first dance
Dance/song #2 father cuts in on the groom to dance with his daughter and the groom invites his mother on the dance floor. Halfway through this song, the father of the groom will then cut in to dance with his wife, the groom will cut back in on his new father-in-law to dance with his bride and the mother of the bride will be invited by the father of the bride to dance. (At this time, the bridal party will join the dance floor with their respective attendants/ushers)

This option, while it is a lot of shuffling around, can be good for keeping the 'traditions' moving along without...for lack of better word, boring your guests with song after song of watching others dance. It moves things along just ever so slightly quicker to allow all the guests to celebrate together.

All in all, it comes back to your personal style, wishes and vision.