Questions about Reception traditions....what are you doing and not doing at your wedding

I live in Eastern Canada and am just getting started on my wedding journey.  My FI and I are both in our 40's and want to have a small but elegant wedding so I am looking to see what traditions and customs other ladies in Canada are planning at their wedding.  We already have our house and many of the things you need to go with it.

First I am wondering about a cash bar vs an open bar.  Where I grew up, the custom is mostly for a cash bar because my family sure enjoys their drink.  I was thinking about providing some home brewed wine on the tables for the toasts or maybe in basket for the out of town guests.  My dad makes wine and the Merlot and Chardonnay from Costco are reasonable in price and good in flavour.

We are both rather shy people and am thinking about skipping the bouquet and garter toss traditions along with the spotlight dances.

We are also thinking about skipping the flower girl and ring bearer because most of our family is older and while it is cute, we may just go with the BM and MOH in our wedding party with maybe a junior bridesmaid.

I really would like to have the traditional guest book but am not sure I really want to spend the money on engraved toasting flutes or cake serving set. 

What places can we set up registries in Canada besides Sears?  Anyone ever use a honeymoon registry?  If so which one is best for us Canadian Chicks?

I have done a lot of reading on TK over the past month and I get the impression that women in the US really seem to go all out for their weddings but that is not something we feel is right for us. 

Ok...that is all I can think of right now but feel free to add anything else you may think would apply.Laughing

Re: Questions about Reception traditions....what are you doing and not doing at your wedding

  • LittlinLittlin member
    edited December 2011
    We are having an open bar - it's more common for my family and friends and that way they don't have to worry about it - lots of people have a cash bar as well - do what makes sense for you.

    We are not doing the bouquet & garter toss, either, however I am privately giving my bouquet to a dear friend.

    We don't have a FG or RB either - we don't have any kids at the reception at all - a few cousins, but the youngest is 14.  I didn't want to have to deal with kids and possible tantrums on the day of!

    We registered at The Bay, because it is easiest for most people.  We also considered Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel, but you can't order online in Canada yet!  A lot of people also register at WIlliam Ashley.

    We did a photo guestbook that cost $20 after a coupon from "My Publisher" - it is really easy to do!  We didn't do engraved champagne flutes, but we got a cake serving set from friends - they got it at Bowring which usually has beautiful stuff for a great price.

    We used for our registry - it was via Sandals resorts and I'm so glad we did it!  We are having a few candlelight dinners, some spa services, and some money to spend on excursions while we are there!

    I think "going all out" in dependent on family, friends, budget.  Some people like a low-key affair, and others say "hey, we only do this once", and some put both together.  It's a very personal choice - don't let anyone make you feel bad for what you want to do!

    Hope that helps! :)
  • MissLeahMMissLeahM member
    edited December 2011
    We had a cashbar, but we supplied wine. Its whats normal here.

    We did do the bouquet toss and garter toss, it was actually a lot of fun, I'm generally a pretty shy person but it was still a lot of fun. I just kind of went with the flow that night.
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  • APW2010APW2010 member
    edited December 2011
    We are doing an open bar.  FI wants to do the garter toss, but there are like 3 single guests at our wedding, so it will be the weirdest garter & bouquet toss ever if you ask me. No RB, and our flower 'girl' is in her 20s.

    We registered at Home Outfitters, but I think they are only in the Halifax area on the east coast, so it depends where you are.
  • ring_popring_pop member
    edited December 2011
    We had open bar. It's pretty much expected in my circle. If your guests will drink a lot, it's actually worth it because they charge a flat fee per head. If you're having a small wedding, it might not end up costing you that much.

    We skipped the bouquet and garter tosses. I just didn't feel comfortable doing them. We also didn't get special champagne flutes or a cake knife. We didn't give favours. It's traditional in my culture for the bride to change into many dresses but I skipped that as well.

    We did a first dance ourselves, but skipped the parent dances, as our parents didn't really care and I find them boring to watch as a guest.

    We had a photobook guest book and I'm really glad we did. I still enjoy going back and reading the notes people wrote us.

    As for honeymoon registries - I didn't do it, but a friend of mine did. I wanted to contribute but decided against it when I realized that I was really just giving her cash, with a fee subtracted by the registry. I just gave her cash.

    Funny, I actually find the opposite about the knotties in the US. Many will splurge on a few things but I found more budget brides than all-out brides. Especially for me, living in Toronto - I just couldn't believe that you can get so much more in other places, for so much less than I spent.

    I think that as long as you end up married in the end, and your guests are well-treated, you can pick and choose the traditions as you please!
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  • edited December 2011
    Oops, I clicked the wrong one, we had an open bar, but that is more common in our social circle (southern Ontario)

    We dd the bouquet toss, but no garter toss. Your venue will likely have a cake cutting set that you can use.
  • nfp147nfp147 member
    Fourth Anniversary 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We're having an open bar.  I grew up in a small town in northern Saskatchewan where you rent a community hall, purchase your liquor and a license, and get friends to work the bar.  But, Toronto boy FI insisted on an open bar!

    We're not doing the bouquet or garter toss...I just don't like them!

    We're having my two nieces (2 and 9 months) as well as FI's 8 yr old niece as flower girls and FI's 6 yr old nephew as a ring bearer.  It seems like we're going all out, but really, we're not.

    We've registered at Home Outfitters and the Bay and also used Honeyfund as a "guide" in case people want to give cash.

    We also used a wedding website instead of paper RSVPs.  Our wedding is October 2nd and so far over half have already RSVPd!

    Good luck!
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  • unplainjaneunplainjane member
    edited December 2011
    first of all it's your wedding so you can do whatever you like for all these things.

    i'm from ontario and we're doing open bar. most weddings i've been to are open bar. but i've been to a wedding with cash bar. as a guest i was a little disappointed and i don't even drink that much. though they did have a bottle of wine on the table. but it was a table of 8 so one bottle of wine between 8 people is a tiny glass. i think putting bottles of wine on the table is fine if you don't want to do open bar but maybe do a bottle for every 3-4 people. or more if you can afford it.

    we're not doing garter toss for sure. i don't think we're doing bouquet toss either because we'll only have a few single girls there. we're still on the fence about spotlight dance. not sure if we want to do it yet.

    we're not having a flower girl because we simply don't have a young girl coming to our wedding. we may have a ring bearer if my little cousin ends up flying in. as well we're just doing BM and MOH. we want to keep the ceremony small and uncomplicated with lots of other people.

    we'll have a guest book but we're not having any fancy toasting flutes or cake serving set. since we've lived together for a while. we'll just register for a few things on the bay.

    for our wedding we decided on what was most important to us. which ended up being the venue and food. so we splurged on that and for everything else we tried to keep the budget as minimal as possible.
  • edited December 2011
    Thank you everyone for all the good advice.  I guess the best thing to do is what works for us.  :)
  • edited December 2011

    I think that is the best thing - do what works for you.

    I have found in this process so far (it's only been six weeks since we got engaged) everybody and their dog has something they think you should do. I have friends who think I shouldn't register because it's tacky and others who said if you don't register you'll get a lot of stuff you don't want or need.
    I have had some who are shocked that I don't want any showers and others that think that's the right way to go.

    Ultimately, you have to make your own mind up. If you are comfortable with having a cash bar then do it. Personally I am not comfortable with that so we are having an open bar. But that is our choice, because that is what works for us. Some people will tell you it's not acceptable. Others will say it's okay. So ultimately it's up to you. What's that saying? You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you will never please all of the people all of the time?
    So don't worry about what everyone else is going to think and please yourself! Easier said than done I know but it's the ultimate goal!
    (The only thing I'd suggest is that you make sure your guests know in advance because I've been to weddings before when I didn't know it was a cash bar and I didn't have any cash with me.)

    Like I said above I have said no to showers because I hate showers. I always have. I don't like being the centre of attention and the wedding alone is going to be a huge step out from my comfort zone in having people looking at me all day.

    I am having flower girls because we have two nieces who are perfect flower girl age but they are going to walk up the aisle with their mother and not throw petals because I think that's wasteful and i have been to too many weddings where little kids get stage fright.

    I was going to only have one bridesmaid but decided in the end I really wanted to ask another friend as well. So we're having two attendants each.

    No bouquet toss for me because I have always hated being the single girl at weddings and being pushed out onto the floor to catch the bouquet.

    BabyFruit Ticker Me: 37 DH: 40 Married: 7/31/2011 TTC since September 2011 BFP: Nov. 22, 2012 EDD: July 29, 2013
  • edited December 2011
    Oh and we're just investigating honeymoon registries.

    Several of the American-based ones will work for Canadians and there are a few for Canada as well. The one we're investigating mostly right now is

    Some major travel agents also have a registry option.
    BabyFruit Ticker Me: 37 DH: 40 Married: 7/31/2011 TTC since September 2011 BFP: Nov. 22, 2012 EDD: July 29, 2013
  • edited December 2011
    We're having a cash bar as it's not something affordable with how my family like their drinks as well its the usual of what happens in the area I grew up in.
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  • myremedy1976myremedy1976 member
    edited December 2011
    we are having a cash bar at our wedding due to family that like their drink. we are doing a garter toss how ever there will be no bouquet toss as there are no bouquets. Actually there are NO flowers anywhere in our wedding. We didn't get flutes engraved but one day wedding shopping with my daughter she found bride and groom wine glass charms we are using those instead.
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