January 23, 2018

East Coast VS Midwest Wedding Reception | For Brides

For Brides

A photographer that I follow regularly recently posted about the New York Style Reception. She mentioned that receptions that followed the New York were always more energetic and lively compared to their counterpart. As a midwest photographer, I was slightly confused on why she was referring to it that way. How was it any different then our style of a reception? Truth be told it’s completely different & honestly, pretty dang cool. Rumor has it, it chops up the evening a bit feeling a little more candid and a little less structured. It also may leave your reception a little more celebratory and energetic. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty amazing.

M I D W E S T  R E C E P T I O N

classic (to us). evening sectioned off by events.


The midwest wedding reception is likely the reception you’ve attended for your whole life (which rightly so if you don’t like in New York). You can likely rattle off exactly how a wedding reception will flow…

Grand Entrance / blessing or toast & father of the bride speech / salads & entree’s served / best man/maid of honor speeches following (or during main course) / b&g speech / bride & groom mingle / cake cutting / first dances (b&g, father/daughter, mother/son) / open dancing / cake served

That likely sounds like every wedding you’ve been to right? I’ve done some digging and looks like the rest of the country (outside the upper East Coast) follows this tradition. It’s easy to keep up with and works well. Why fix something that’s not broken, right?

Shout out to my Northern Wisconsin friends who do things a little different by having a grand entrance at the beginning of the reception and then a grand march towards the end. Almost like a send off of sorts. I’m typically not around to photograph a grand march as it happens hours after coverage ends but I find this tradition to be interesting.

T H E  N E W  Y O R K  S T Y L E  

party inducing. events broken a part. 


I will say, first and foremost. That if you’re interested in the New York Style, I would encourage you to leave enough room after the ceremony for your guests to eat a bit, or go heavy on food during cocktail hour. Since food courses are split, it may leave some guests hangry (or maybe that’s just the vendor in me.. ha). The New York style reception looks a little like this..

Cocktails / grand entrance / bride & groom first dance / open dance floor for 20ish minutes to raise energy / blessing and/or toast / Salads served (or entree order taken) & best man/maid of honor toasts / 20ish minutes of open dance floor / entree served / 20ish minutes of dancing / cake cutting / first dance with parents (dessert and coffee served) / open dancing resumes

I don’t know about you, but I find this to be insanely intriguing. It’s energy inducing and after a good cocktail hour, your guests will likely be down to dance (semi-empty stomachs and cocktails will do that). A lot of my weddings are plated meals, so this would be a great alternative to couples who are looking for something a bit fresh. I will say, it probably could be done with a buffet style reception as well.