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Reception Ideas

Grand Exit vs Leaving Reception?

My fiance and I are still undecided about how to leave the reception. I've been to weddings with grand exits and weddings where the bride and groom were some of the last to leave and don't really have a preference. 

Right now, I am leaning towards doing a Grand Exit because it sends a pretty clear signal the reception is over and it's time to leave. Both of our families are the type to linger after something is over and talk for awhile. We only have our venue for a block of time - if we go over that, we have to pay extra and would really like to avoid doing that. 

Of course, they can still do that with a grand exit, but I feel like they would get the signal to find somewhere else to chat if there is a very clear message that the reception is over. Speaking from past experience, music ending and everyone else but the bride and groom leaving isn't enough. 

I also do think pictures of grand exits can be really cute. We would probably do bubbles (can't throw things and the sparkler exits I have been involved with haven't been coordinated very well). 

If we do go with a grand exit, I'm not exactly sure what we do at the end of it. Our hotel is really close to the venue and we are planning to do some night photos (just us - no wedding party) with our photographer, so we are planning to just walk right now (unless it's raining). How ridiculous would it be just to walk through the bubbles... then just keep walking? 

Re: Grand Exit vs Leaving Reception?

  • I'm old fashioned- I believe that the bride and groom leaving should be the signal that the wedding is over, so therefore, they should not be the last to leave.  As a guest, I feel uncomfortable leaving if the bride and groom is still there, but every wedding I've been to recently, the bride and groom stayed until the end.  Eventually I was get really tired, figure the bride and groom aren't going anywhere, and feel weird, but leave.

    I don't think it would be weird to have them walk you out with bubbles.  Sounds cute!

    May 2013 February Siggy: Invitations

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  • Sounds like a grand exit would work best for you guys. Leaving to bubbles sounds cute. Two of the weddings I have been to left with bubbles from the church and it was cute and made for nice pictures.

    The 3 weddings I have been to over the past couple years I left before the bride and groom so not sure how they did things.

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  • We're waiting around til the end and helping with packing gifts etc up. I never been to a place that does grand exits and all the guests still know when to leave. The dj usually makes an announcement "this is the last song for the evening" and people dance then boogie out. The bar also usually closes a little early. No biggie, people get the hint and shimmy their way out. Though with my family, we're usually gone pretty early, especially the elderly. That being said, a good bit of my family stayed around for my cousin's wedding in July until the end.
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Me too, the sign that the reception is over is when the lights come up and the band stops playing. Our wedding cost a fortune, I wasnt leaving a minute early. We hopped on the last bus to the hotels with the remaining guests.
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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    We stayed until the very end and helped pack things up.  Some of our guests started leaving as early as after dinner.  DJ announced last song and then the house lights came on and people made their way out.  No big deal.  I don't think I've ever been to a wedding where the couple made a grand exit.  
    loca4pook
  • cap816 said:
    I'm pretty sure the music stopping and the staff starting to clean the room is a pretty good sign the party is over.  There is no "need" for a grand exit to tell your guests that.  But, if you have to, just tell your family that lingers that they need to go.  Personally, all the grand exits I've been witness to were contrived and cheesy.

    BTW, the really "old fashioned" signal that it's okay to leave is the cake cutting.  That's the act that signals anyone who wants to call it a night that they can leave.  Or, you can just be a grown-up and go home whenever you want.

    It is the new rule of thumb that one can leave after the cake is cut, served, and there has been a reasonable amount of time to eat said cake, but that is not the "old fashioned" signal that I was speaking of.  I suggest you read page 283 of Miss Manners Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding that subscribes to my exact thoughts on the subject.  As she explains, in the day and age when weddings didn't go on and on for an eternity, it was considered rude to leave before the bride and groom.  In modern times with weddings lasting longer and longer, if a guest feels they want to leave before the end of it, they may leave after cake.
    Since I'm never totally sure how a wedding is suppose to go, I'm unsure if the couple is planning on a marathon reception or a shorter reception where they plan to exit before the guests.  That's where my personal confusion comes in and why I always suggest couples plan for a slightly shorter reception with an exit.

    May 2013 February Siggy: Invitations

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  • We stayed until the end, but our reception only ran until 10:00 pm. It was nice to be able to thank all of our parents again for their help in putting things together, to say goodbye to some friends who were leaving early the next day and we wouldn't get to see at brunch, etc. Besides, I love to dance - there was no way I was leaving before the party stopped!

    If you do decide to do the grand exit, I think your plan with the bubbles sounds nice. I would probably find it a bit odd that you weren't getting into a vehicle and being swept away back to the hotel, but given the distance I don't think anything would find it too bizarre.
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  • I've seen both done. My personal favorite is to pick a lady song and have the band/DJ announce that all the guests are invited to join the bride and groom for the last dance. We chose Paul Simon's Late In The Evening and it still makes me think of my euphoric newlywedded bliss every time I hear it.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I wanted to stay at our reception for as long as possible so H and I were pretty much the last to leave. We also had to gather our gifts and card box and other personal items from the bridal suite. I think grand exits are very contrived. I was at one wedding were they did the sparklers and they had them "exit" three times to get some good pictures. Kind of dumb especially since the bride and groom didn't leave but hung around and talked to people. I think besides what cap said about the music stopping and the venue starting to clean up, the DJ announcing "last dance" and the bar closing are great indications that the reception is over with. Finally, I have never seen it rude to leave before the couple. If I go to a wedding and I get tired or do not want to stay any longer I leave. I say good bye to the couple and thank them for a wonderful evening. You should never feel obligated to stay because of some old tradition. Same as an invite is not a summons, accepting said invite is also not a contract that you must stay till the end or the couple leaves.

  • cap816 said:
    I'm pretty sure the music stopping and the staff starting to clean the room is a pretty good sign the party is over.  There is no "need" for a grand exit to tell your guests that.  But, if you have to, just tell your family that lingers that they need to go.  Personally, all the grand exits I've been witness to were contrived and cheesy.

    BTW, the really "old fashioned" signal that it's okay to leave is the cake cutting.  That's the act that signals anyone who wants to call it a night that they can leave.  Or, you can just be a grown-up and go home whenever you want.

    That's basically how it worked at mine! LOL. We gathered stuff and loaded onto our shuttle buses..It was pretty clear it was time to leave, so no lingering possible! LOL
  • Thanks, Everyone!

    I think we are going to skip it since neither of us feel super strongly about it. This is our plan as of right now:

    -Do a last song with the DJ
    -Slip out for a few minutes and take a few pictures at the venue (there is a place outside the back of the venue where we want to take pictures anyway)
    -Come back in and help with any cleanup needed and nicely shoe off any lingerers (Hey! Thank you so much for making it. There is this awesome bar a block away that you would love You should go check it out, etc etc). 

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