The History of Wedding Receptions- Reception Centerpiece

The History of Wedding Receptions

The history of wedding receptions, the what and the where… The pomp and circumstance as the bride and groom step in front of their guests.   The majesty of flawless floral and the spirited cutting of the cake are all quite extraordinary elements of the modern wedding reception.  But where did these traditions begin? Has there always been a wedding reception? Has the bride always carried impeccably arranged flowers?  Well, we’ve done our research, and have answered these and other historical wedding reception questions below.

Wedding Receptions Throughout History 

The History of Wedding Receptions- Floral wedding centerpiece

The Reception 

It was a spot of tea at the home of the bride in Great Britain.  A toast amongst wedding guests in 17th century Russia.  A social gathering following a wedding ceremony has long been a common and cross-cultural practice. However, the elaborate celebrations as we see them today didn’t develop in Western culture until after World War II. According to an article about the history and origins of weddings by The Spruce, a small luncheon held in the afternoon was customary prior to the turn of the century.

The History of Wedding Receptions- bride bouquet

The Flowers

Dating back to ancient Greece, weddings have almost always incorporated flowers. From brides adorning floral crowns that symbolized a gift from nature, to carrying bouquets of garlic and herbs to ward off evil spirits, floral arrangements have long played a role in weddings. Around the 1920’s, brides began to embrace over sized bouquets of flowers as part of their wedding style. While the bouquets have scaled back significantly since then, flowers have continued to be embraced as an important part of wedding decor.

The History of Wedding Receptions- Wedding Cake

The Cake

The ornate wedding cakes of today have evolved remarkably from their roots. The history of the wedding cake itself dates back to ancient Rome and long ago, cakes weren’t meant to be consumed, nor were they an extravagant centerpiece! Historically, wheat or barley loaves of bread were broken over the head of the bride (or thrown at her during medieval times) as a symbol of fertility. That is quite an impressive difference when compared to the sweet, multi-tiered wedding cakes we see cut today.

Wedding Ceremony Ballroom

The Modern Reception 

From exquisite ballrooms and extravagant three-course meals, to multi-faceted decor concepts, abundant floral and an evening spent dancing!  The Western wedding reception has come quite a long way from its modest and multicultural origins.  Within the grandeur we now see, if couples are looking to pay homage to history, there are many incredible ways to capture the vintage feel of weddings past. A vintage wedding article by BBJ Linen highlights utilizing family heirlooms as the focal point in wedding decor to invoke the feel of days gone by.

The evolution of the wedding reception has stretched across the span of centuries. From humble beginnings of tea and luncheons, to the modern receptions we see today. These festive gatherings all have one thing in common.  They have always celebrated the union of two individuals becoming one couple. And even the most modern wedding reception can be entrenched deeply in traditions, dating back to another time and place, if you know what to look for!

Article contributed to Apropos Creations by Megan Beth!

Photos by Ushna Khan Photography

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