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Welcome to the fifth episode of our series – What Weddings Are Made Of – From Proposal to Honeymoon.

Today we’re discussing what happens after you’re pronounced married and you walk back down the aisle – the transition (usually a cocktail hour) and reception.

We’ll be chatting about the purpose of this part of your wedding, the different elements that can go into them, and hopefully help you to figure out which elements you do or do not want to include for your wedding.

To learn more about our movement visit: https://www.unweddingmovement.com/

Transcript

Episode 17 - What Weddings are Made Of - Cocktail Hour and Reception Transcript

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

wedding, people, guests, venue, moment, couple, reception, ceremony, typically, dance, talked, opportunity, purpose, transition, wedding party, elements, line, receiving, table, drinks

SPEAKERS

Corina Waldie, Sydney Spidell

Corina Waldie:

Welcome to the Un-Wedding Podcast. I'm Corina,

Sydney Spidell:

and I'm Sydney.

Corina Waldie:

We're two neurodiverse wedding planners who are committed to empower nearly went to throw the wedding rulebook, shrink their guest lists and create a meaningful, purposeful, wedding experience. We're taking the wedding industry by storm and disrupting the status quo. We're the Un-Wedding Planners and we invite you to join our movement.

Sydney Spidell:

We record our podcast from treaty six territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Anishinaabe, Intuit, and many others, whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community. It's the fifth episode in our series, What Weddings Are Made Of - from proposal to honeymoon, we're discussing what happens after you're pronounced married and you walk back down the aisle. You'll have to wait until next week to discuss the ceremony though. So first question that we ask in this situation is where do your guests go once you've left the altar?

Corina Waldie:

Well, absolutely. Like...

Sydney Spidell:

Where'd your guests go, Corina?

Corina Waldie:

A whole bunch of them went back to the hotel and got drunk because I had a four hour gap between the end of ceremony and start the reception. But those are other stories for other times. However,

Sydney Spidell:

I think it's the perfect story for this time, actually.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, so you know, something... That transition time is something that can be really important. And we sort of touched on this last week with, you know, photography, there is these periods of time between events between ceremony and reception, where, you know, what is it that people are supposed to do? And when you're planning a wedding, it's really important when you're thinking about the overall guest experience, that they have some direction, so they know kind of what to expect, you know? So one of the biggest things that we see, at least for your VIPs, and for family, this is a great opportunity to capture photos, you know, to capture all those group photos because everybody's together at the ceremony. And if you have a-- if you're having your ceremony and reception at the same location without any sort of need to transition the space, then it's a great opportunity. So the photos are taken, guests can sort of meander off into that like cocktail hour, where there's food and drinks, because let's be honest, we're people and food should be involved in everything, because it's what we do when we gather, right?

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah!

Corina Waldie:

So you know, one of the things we do talk a little bit about experience design, we haven't really done an in depth episode about experience design. But there is something kind of a principle that we use called the five Es of experience design. And I'm not going to dive deep into them today. But you know, one of them, the second E which is entry, and it's this idea of doing something to really engage your person attending your event, from the moment they walk in the door, or to make them feel welcome, or to make them feel like they want to be a part of this. So a cocktail hour is a great way to do that, as you're as you're welcoming your guests.

Sydney Spidell:

And this is typically like this time is typically referred to as a cocktail hour, we were talking as we were building this, and we decided that we would give it the name of transition. Because some people might use a cocktail hour as a part of or as the entire reception. So this transition time is most usually a cocktail hour. However, it could also be a, you know, we're seeing more and more things where there's some sort of entertainment aspect being put on for the guests. Whether that's like a mini concert, or some sort of interactive entertainer. Or if you really just want to sit people down in front of a slideshow, you can do that too. But the entire purpose behind this time is with the assumption that your couple at least, maybe even wedding party and family like VIPs, are not with the rest of the guests at that time for photos or perhaps signing or you know, whatever else it is that they're doing in that in between. So, if you have an order of events in your day where your couple is always with the guests, then you can skip right through this transition because you're transitioning with them. But it literally is about that uninterrupted experience. And we don't want to have what happened at your wedding where, you know, they had their experience, and then they were left to their own devices. And then there was another experience later. And what you lost in that, because although on the surface that doesn't matter much, yeah, what you lost in that was the ability for your people to be as engaged in the event as they could have been. Whether that's just through, you know, time creates disinterest, or whether it's through inebriation. And for you, you know, UX designers out there in the tech fields, when we're talking about experience design, we're not talking about experience design, like software. Although that process comes from the exact same place, the principles of experiential design. This is something that is very much related with human centric design. Design concepts are so very separate from-- we kind of put them into boxes, like you're an interior designer, you're a lighting designer, whatever. But design is an integral part of life at every single level.

Corina Waldie:

Absolutely.

Sydney Spidell:

And experiential design and human centric design are principles of design, that our world is slowly adapting to using more and more often, bringing to the forefront. And that's why looking at the experience, and designing an experience for us is as important as it is. And not just for the couple, but for the guests for the vendors for ourselves. Yeah, as well. All those things are considered

Corina Waldie:

Well, definitely, from the vendor perspective, for a moment, like, you know, a cocktail hour or that transition time is also a great opportunity to allow us to transition a space if we need to. Many times, depending on the venue you've chosen, your ceremony and your reception may take place in the same room.

Sydney Spidell:

You were just designing one that's separated by a curtain.

Corina Waldie:

Yes, yeah, we had talked about just because of the nature of that particular facility, we were going to use pipe and drape to create a barrier between different sides of the room. And then there was going to be a period where the guests would have had, you know, some moments outside of that space to allow our team -- basically you and I -- to take that curtain down and adjust the tables and transition that space for the reception. So this this transition or cocktail hour actually can serve multiple different things. Because it, you know, a lot of these venues now, especially that they're just like one big room. So having that time to really intentionally shift the experience from one thing to the next, it is actually a really important element of the day. And also another thing that's really important to mention with cocktail hours, it's a great opportunity to start feeding your guests. To give them some nibbles. Because if you're not feeding them during cocktail hour, what tends to happen when you start reception, which we'll get into a little bit, they tend to start getting a little grumpy, because they want to know when the food's coming. So if you're doing any other, you know, if let's say you're doing first dances are there might be a speech or there might be something else

Sydney Spidell:

Or life happens, and it just delays the vendors from getting shit set up.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, it really, you know, we don't want hangry guests. So it's a great way to just sort of

Sydney Spidell:

My friend, Meghan.

Corina Waldie:

give them something. I'm hangry person too, so you know, I get it. But it really just gives them an opportunity to feel cared for to have that little snack, that little nibble. You know, it's also a great opportunity if you're doing like a signature cocktail. So maybe each of you have a favorite drink, you know, you can offer that, too. But again, to really sort of start to send signals to the rest of the night is going to be.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, and we're looking, from a design perspective, we're looking for that continuity. We're looking for something that seamlessly brings you from one moment into the next. And so drawing themes through it, and drawing those personal touches through it. And since this wedding is all about you make sense to have those things be about you. You are the theme.

Corina Waldie:

Absolutely. You know, it's also an opportunity too, at least in a little more traditional circles. So typically what we'll see, you know, we've talked a lot about or haven't really touched too much on the receiving line. This is a very, very traditional element of many weddings

Sydney Spidell:

And brings us into the reception, out of that transition time.

Corina Waldie:

you know, large weddings in particular. A receiving line, for those of you who do not know what that is, it's typically you will line up the couple, you will line up parents, potentially certain members of the wedding party, your guests will line up, and they will shake your hand or give you a hug or give you a kiss and it's an opportunity to interact. To have a meaningful interaction, even a brief one, with every single guest that's there. Now, when we get into smaller weddings like you and I specialize in, it's not necessarily something that needs to happen. Especially if we're like 50 guests and under, just because it's a small crowd, there's going to be lots of time for you to visit. But when you start having larger crowds, this is an opportunity to really be able to actually at least have some kind of interaction, albeit brief, with every guest. And then, you know, talking about other moments to interact with your guests. Yeah, down the road, because it's a lot of people. So just allows that to happen in a really intentional way.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah. Let's like zoom out for a quick second, too, then and be like, Okay, so we've moved past the transition, we've moved into reception. And what makes that clear when we're talking about receiving lines is literally the word receiving. So the purpose of your reception is to be received as married, a married couple, and to receive your guests that are there celebrating you. And that is why a receiving line is a typical portion of this or traditional portion of this. It's because it literally is it's like an assembly line, right? It is an economical use of time and space to get people through. Now, you'll also get all the complaints about receiving lines, because people don't like standing in a line.

Corina Waldie:

They're pretty boring. I'm not gonna lie, we actually kept ours pretty smooth. We did- So what we did is we had our receiving line transitioning from cocktail hour into reception. So somebody joined the line. And the only people we had in that line was John and myself and our parents. So we kept it like really brief.

Sydney Spidell:

I mean, the majority of people at your wedding aren't going to know all of your wedding party or anything and have no interest in congratulating your maid of honor for her friend's marriage.

Corina Waldie:

Exactly. Exactly. And so what we did is we sort of had that line, they kind of went through the day, we went through the receiving line, we had our best man and our maid of honor, actually hand them their program or, sorry, not their program, their little, we had favors, so they actually... Because we wanted to make sure we got and kept their favor. And then there was the seating chart, so they would see where they were going. So it was almost like a little assembly line where they kind of like they got welcomed, and then they received their gift, and then they figured out where they were sitting, and then they went to their table. So it really was an opportunity to create a very intentional transition. Now I had a large wedding, I had 150 people, which is definitely on the larger side. So if you're doing a large group, this is a really good way to go.

Sydney Spidell:

Everybody's gonna have to walk through all these steps anyway, they're going to need to find out where they're sitting. And so it just provides another, talking about that continuity, it provides another step along the way as they're entering things for something for them to engage in. Now, if you're not interested in the receiving line, the other options that people will typically do is, once you've got everybody seated - it's a little bit harder when you're doing something like a buffet. But if you've got everybody seated, hopefully you've fed your your couple first and then they go around to the different tables and they will interact there. Alternative being you have something like a sweetheart table instead of a head table, where it's just a couple. You can add a couple more chairs and then they stay there for a set amount of time and people can come to them and join them. What you risk with that is people hanging out too long. So I'm definitely a fan of that like we're gonna walk around and pass around. But I think the main thing to consider when you are doing that is you are still- if there's food involved in this which, again like we said before, we highly suggest because people gather around food. It's how we celebrate. is to ensure that you are feeding yourself and being fed before you engage in the greeting and the receiving of people.

Corina Waldie:

Well and usually when I'm talking to catering company, the catering element, I instruct that couple be fed first. Couple and if they have a head table, their head table as well. Followed by VIP table, so parents, and then they would start distributing to all of the guests tables.

Sydney Spidell:

If you have table numbers usually it's in order of your lowest number to your highest number.

Corina Waldie:

Also the vendor table. So it actually typically goes..

Sydney Spidell:

oh my god feed your vendors, too.

Corina Waldie:

You know we talked a little bit about that last week. But what we'll typically do, so we do wedding, so couple and wedding party, we do VIPs, and then we do vendors. And the reason for this is so that we will be done eating by the time the next round of festivities happens.

Sydney Spidell:

And see this brings me right back to like residential summer camp counsellor life, because I was the person that my co's and and superiors would have to be like, "Sydney, eat. Like, eat your food." Because I get all the little nutlings served, and by the time I reach for something somebody is ready for seconds. And then I'm just like giving away all this food and then the meal has ended and I'm like, "I didn't eat." Every parent out there is like, "been there."

Corina Waldie:

Yeah. Well, and I think too, on the wedding day, there's so much going on. It's something that's easily overlooked. But the reality is, this is a rough day on your body. Typically, you know, the vast majority of couples may not have slept very well the night before, especially if they were hanging out with their wedding party, or just nerves or anxiety, or they have to get up early to have their hair and makeup done.

Sydney Spidell:

Whenever I have something planned for the next day, I get the worst sleep.

Corina Waldie:

Exactly. So they're already waking up feeling terrible, you know. So you then you have, you're getting ready process, we've talked about making sure that you feed yourself during getting ready. Breakfast and lunch. But then you get to your reception, and there's so much going on. If you don't take an intentional time to eat, basically what you're not doing, you're not fueling your body for the rest of everything that's to come. And if you're going to be drinking as well, we all know that if you do not have enough food in your stomach, you will your drinks are going to hit you that much harder. And really, really, really don't want to be fall down drunk at your wedding.

Sydney Spidell:

We've also talked way back when about like the roles and responsibilities of wedding parties, whether that's something that you need to include and whether they should have duties or whether it's purely symbolic. If you don't have a planner, if you don't have a venue coordinator who's planning on doing this, then assign somebody from the wedding party, assuming that the agreement that you've made with them is that they will help you on your day. Seriously, if they're not there to help you if they're not planning on it, don't make them a wedding attendant... just ,they don't belong in that role. Assign somebody to literally like stand over you like, like a bouncer until you have eaten at least five bites of something.

Corina Waldie:

Like you can't do the thing, you can't have the other drink until you finish five bites of your food.

Sydney Spidell:

Make someone responsible for you doing that, because there's going to be so much on your mind. And it's going to be so easy to forget that.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, very much so. Actually another great strategy. It's something I've employed in the past with during cocktail hour actually, to ensure the couple eats I have done it where I've actually set a private area a couple to enjoy their appetizers alone.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, I'm such a big fan of that, too. Like, it gives you a moment to eat. But I'm a big fan, we may have talked about this before, of finding a moment and a space to shove your newlyweds alone. No family. No photographer. And even if it's five minutes just to be in each other's presence and breathe each other in and know that you're in it together. Because there's going to be so much scooping you up. And just take a second to like revel in what you've just done.

Corina Waldie:

This is yeah, it's it's it's huge. It's so huge. And unfortunately, the way weddings are often structured is the couple gets moved from one thing to the next to the next to the next to the next. And actually it's an idea I borrowed a little bit from Jewish culture, because in Orthodox Jewish ceremonies, I'm honestly forgetting what the name is. But there is always been a period following the ceremony. I do not speak Yiddish. I don't have any Jewish blood in me that I'm aware of. But there is a point following the ceremony where the couple were secluded, obviously, historically, that would have been to consummate the marriage. But that still continues in many orthodox traditions, to create this moment that the couple can be intentionally alone. And whether... even though we didn't really realize how pivotal it was going to be, one of the things Jon and I actually did is, because we had a Victorian Christmas wedding, which we've talked about before, but we rented this Studebaker carriage, which by the way I have seen in Murdoch Mysteries, it was exactly the carriage. I kind of freaked out a little bit.

Sydney Spidell:

You're like, "I rode that."

Corina Waldie:

"I was on that one!" But anyway, the... But within that carriage ride we took about I think was about a 20 to 30 minute little tour around, like the downtown core of the town that we got married in. And we were alone. There's no photographers there, it was just the two of us. It was actually really fun because, you know, we had like cars like stopping and honking at us. And, you know,

Sydney Spidell:

You were like royals, right?

Corina Waldie:

We felt like royals. And especially because like, you know, Jon was wearing the top hat and tails. You know, he had his cane so he kind of like sat in the you know, with the carriage.

Sydney Spidell:

Oh, Jon.

Corina Waldie:

With his white gloves and his cane and its top hat and just like little you know, huffy huff. But we've always talked about how that was actually one of our favorite moments of that entire day. Because it allowed us to really take that moment to be intentionally just like, "Okay, we got through this big.." You take a breath, right? You take a breath, and then we move on with everything.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, let's go into some like white girl Instagram terminology here for a quick second. This is your wellness, being present, mindfulness moment.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah.

Sydney Spidell:

You know? This is the opportunity to just exist in time as you are with your person.

Corina Waldie:

Very much.

Sydney Spidell:

Which is a big deal.

Corina Waldie:

It is a big deal. And if you can take that time, do it.

Sydney Spidell:

Do it.

Corina Waldie:

But you do have to be intentional about it. The the one, when I was talking about with the one couple, it was just the nature of their, their thing. We actually had a separate like meeting room within that venue that we set this up for them and I asked the caterer to put all of the appetizers in there. We had some fresh drinks, some water. Because water... Hydr... Oh please hydrate on the day ofyour wedding, you're going to need it.

Sydney Spidell:

Wear a camel back out of your dress. Whatever you gotta do.

Corina Waldie:

You know, you're talking about that person to make sure you eat? You know, maybe assign somebody to also check and make sure you've drunk water as well. But you know, just giving them again that intentional 15/20 minutes.

Sydney Spidell:

Hydration Officer.

Corina Waldie:

It's really a great opportunity to sort of connect and really take that time to go, "Okay, this is was very..." the gravity of what you've literally just done.

Sydney Spidell:

Be in your body.

Corina Waldie:

Be in your body. Enjoy the... Embrace the moment.

Sydney Spidell:

Nowwe started off talking about receiving lines, but this other like element that comes into the reception is that moment of announcement. You know, introducing this newly married couple. Boom boom. This is your first... this is your de-boo?

Corina Waldie:

Your de boo?

Sydney Spidell:

De boo. Into society as, you know, whatever you choose to call yourself. Spouses. Partners. Mr. and Mrs.

Corina Waldie:

Marriers. Whatever. Whatever term you're choosing to use

Sydney Spidell:

What should be like, you know? I don't know, Duchess and Duchess. Whatever you want to call yourselves, that introduction moment. And so if you've already shaken everybody's hands, and then you do a big entrance. Again, it's kind of like, like we were talking about before pausing, in last week's episode, pausing your reception to go out and do a staged send off to come back in. You, you don't want that interruption. So think about do you want this big entry moment? Do you want this big hullabaloo and you know, all the flash mobs and dances of the past or, you know, a trumpet entry or you know, the fanfare or whatever it is that you want to do, to come in, slide down in your bouncy castle slide. Think of how that entry point interacts with the different timeline elements you're planning. And does that mean that you're going to change how you're receiving your guests is your grand entrance going to be outside of the reception space, so you can still do that receiving line as people come in. But that, that entry and introduction of you is always going to be a part of that reception stage. Phase. Portion.

Corina Waldie:

But, and, to be totally truthful, depending on the size of your wedding, I do think with bigger weddings, it is important to have some kind of moment. Even if it's just a DJ, saying, "Introducing, you know, you know, your new spouse's." Your names, even if it's just your names. Like "introducing, you know, Bob and Jenny, or whatever.

Sydney Spidell:

You can make this as big of a deal or as little a deal as you want. Or your introduction can be in that receiving line as your greeting.

Corina Waldie:

Exactly. So don't feel that you have to have this great big spectacle or this great big moment.

Sydney Spidell:

Especially if you aren't someone who likes to be center of attention.

Corina Waldie:

Exactly. So you know, especially if you're more of an introvert, you don't want to be the center of attention. It's you know, I don't care if you just go in and sit down at your table.

Sydney Spidell:

People think that that's like, counter intuitive, right? Like, if it's your wedding, that you should want to be the center of attention? But let's just like give a moment to those people who are shy. And, and touch on, okay, if you're, if you are that person, and that's going to give you anxiety, or that's going to take away from your enjoyment of your day, then maybe you want to start at your purpose and get into the and incorporate in your purpose somehow that you are not the centre of the show. So the purpose of your wedding is then more that sharing and connecting with other people rather than celebrating you. Because if you ground your purpose on that inclusion aspect of stuff, you're going to be able to fight for "No, I don't want the spotlight on me," which some people might fight against you and be like, "but it's your day you have to." Come at it and be like, "No, that's not the purpose of this wedding."

Corina Waldie:

Yeah. And to be honest, you know, you're already going to be to a certain degree, the center of attention, you're the one standing there in wedding attire.

Sydney Spidell:

If you have guests, I'm sorry to say somebody is going to be looking at you. So if you don't want to be looked at do it alone.

Corina Waldie:

It's totally okay. I'm going to also get permission here if you need it,

Sydney Spidell:

Don't have guests?

Corina Waldie:

If you are the type of person that is overwhelmed by all of this attention on you, it is okay to take a break. And to, whether that's to go into some kind of bridal preparation space that the venue might provide, or some other intentional space that has been set aside to have quiet moments so that you can decompress, especially if you are neurodivergent. Or you struggle with sensory processing issues of any sort.

Sydney Spidell:

Shout out to our really fun brain people who need a moment of space every once in a while.

Corina Waldie:

That is totally okay. And sort of also, in terms of that same, you know, centre of attention, we talk a lot about head tables or sweetheart tables. You don't have to have those. One of my favorite things actually is this this idea of the King's table. So it's actually creating a giant table where the families, all the VIPs sit together. So that's the bridal party, that's the families that the wedding party the couple as well as their families, and usually set it up in a great big giant rectangle with the couple kind of in the center. Or you'll do the everybody kind of on the two sides and a couple will sit at the head of the table so that there is a little bit of distinction.

Sydney Spidell:

Or have no assigned seating if you want to do that, too.

Corina Waldie:

I'm a little hesitant on the the assigned seating and the reason for that

Sydney Spidell:

It makes caterers lives easier. That's gonna be something dependent on the amount of people you have. If you have a big wedding, then. If you're having a big wedding. If you have 15 people.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, I think pretty much once you if you're having a plated, any kind of a plated meal, especially if there has been a menu choice, you do need some kind of a seating chart where you're telling people where to sit. Also, just as humans, it's not even just the caterers, it's also just as humans, we like to know what's expected of us, we like to know where to go.

Sydney Spidell:

If you do want to leave that open to choice at that moment, you can also communicate that by having people like choose their seats on a seating chart as well, and then go find it. And then you've still got that communicated, right? Like there are so many ways to do things that that are different. And getting into that a little bit more, as I've totally lost my, my brain here... Seating, having places where... you're center of attention. We're getting back to it. Also permission to not only just step away, but to not have guests. And one concept that we're seeing, especially with the pandemic and how it impacted the ways that people were getting married is that more and more couples were doing something like just going to the courthouse and doing a signing. And then instead of having a full on wedding afterwards, they are doing just the reception side of a thing. And it is entirely about having that reception in its traditional sense, where you just get to be greeted as these people. But there's nothing then indicating that you have to do anything that sets you aside like apart from anyone else other than the fact that you've just gathered people there celebrate with you.

Corina Waldie:

Well, we've also talked a little bit in past episodes about all the different things or traditions that we typically see honoured during the reception. So, you know after dinner, you would have things like potentially like a dance with your, if your bride, you might have the father/daughter dance. Or you might have the, if you're a groom, you might have the mother/son dance, or whatever, but usually some kind of parent or parental figure. Dances sometimes happen. There's your first dances a couple, there is cake cutting, there's bouquet toss, garter toss, even though a lot of these things are becoming increasingly antiquated and people aren't doing them anymore. These are things that you don't have to do. Those are all things that are going to put you in the center of attention and if that's not something that you feel comfortable doing, don't.

Sydney Spidell:

Beyond that, too, though, like the purpose of those things individually, if we, again, go back into the history of this, are very much about this patriarchal property mindset. And and very much both infantilizing and sexualizing women as they go through. So unless there's a particular reason that one of those things is super important to you and you have a purpose for it that's different than than typical historical purpose, chuck them out the window. Go back to the purpose of that reception, if you want to have it at all, which is to spend time with your guests. Think about the the root of that. Why are there dances, for example, afterwards? Why are there these like games like a garter toss or bouquet toss and things like that? Well, the purpose of the dance is entertainment. The purpose of the tosses are to engage the people that are there and historically to send like a prophecy of who comes next. You know, I did it again, punching my microphone. But you can scrap it all if it doesn't mean anything to you. If food and drink and laughter means something to you hire a storyteller. That can be your entertainment you do not have to dance.

Corina Waldie:

Like you know the other thing too. I actually, we have a client right now that is choosing to not do anything parent dances. They have a, they come from a difficult family of origin situation. So they don't want any of the parent dances. And what they're actually choosing to do. This is something that kind of, it's a newer again, you know, we're always coming up with new ideas, but I actually I do love this one, they're only going to they're not even doing a first dance, they're only going to do last dance. So at the end of the night, they actually want to do like a sparkler exit, we've talked a little bit about those. So we're going to score the guests out to line them up for the sparkler exit, and then they're going to have a dance by themselves, which I'm really excited for. But they can enjoy that moment, you know, have that moment of intimacy and privacy during that.

Sydney Spidell:

That's such an excellent example, too. We're always looking at... we we know that our brains may work in this more of see, you know, new ways of doing stuff. But if you're not involved in this, you're looking at what examples have I been given. So we may give you permission to not emulate these things. But unless you have something else in mind that you can do, it can be kind of hard to break free of what has been done and what everyone else is doing. But that's an awesome example of not only finding ways to celebrate the parts that are important to you, to honor the dynamics in your group, but also touches on something that we've talked about throughout this series. Which is, these may all be different elements in the way that we're describing them, but all you need to do is look back to the purpose of each of these elements and you can combine them into one. That is a moment where they're combining multiple elements into one and they're going "okay, what we really want then is to have that moment of excitement. That exit. That culmination. And I think what's great about is it gives people closure very well. Yeah, big fan of closure.

Corina Waldie:

Nothing worse than when you're sitting at a wedding. And you're like, Okay, I'm kind of done, I want to go home can I leave?

Sydney Spidell:

Would it be right to leave right now? Um, so that's such a multi purposeful thing that that they're going to be doing. And it is something that honors who they are and the purpose of their wedding. So maybe that's not exactly how you want to target it yourself, dear listener, but at least it's an example of looking at a couple of different experience elements, timeline elements, and combining them into one whole new concept that works for you.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, very much. You know, like I said, because the more you do this with intention, when you think about all these different things, it even ties back into what we talked about last week with a photographer. If you know, you have certain things happening at certain times, the photographer can ensure those things are captured. Right? So it's really, it's like in all things, it's being purposeful, and it's being intentional in these these different things. But you know, you kind of talked a little bit there about entertainment, you know, we do typically see dances, you know, it's sort of just like, "Okay, I'm going to go hire a DJ, whatever, we're going to have a dance." And the entertainment aspect of this day tends to kind of be glazed over. But I want to assure you that if you don't like to dance, or you don't want to dance, or you don't want to have this thing, you don't have to. There is plenty of different ways that you can choose to entertain your guests. Same wedding, because I am so excited for how out of the box this wedding is going to be, we're looking at things right now, we're qoting out things like... They want to do Axe Throwing, so we're gonna have Axe Throwing for a couple of hours. We are looking at hiring a... a.... name...

Sydney Spidell:

Drag queen?

Corina Waldie:

Yes, thank you. Drag queen, tarot card reader to read cards for guests. We're looking at doing a big bonfire a little bit later on where people are going to be able to cook bannock and make s'mores and just sort of kind of relax and hang out with each other. They're also doing a bud bar as part of this as well so that people can you know, have an opportunity to be served. They'll be hopefully, we're just working out legalities because that's super fun. We want to make sure we're doing this safely. But you know, people will be able to enjoy both marijuana and alcohol.

Sydney Spidell:

Cannabis.

Corina Waldie:

Sorry, cannabis.

Sydney Spidell:

This is my moment in the podcast where we're going to take a quick aside

Corina Waldie:

For a Sydney Soapbox.

Sydney Spidell:

A Sydney Soapbox? Oh, my God. To talk about the fact that, first of all, it's totally okay to say the wrong word when your brain has been programmed into something. And part of this unlearning process is knowing the racist history of the word marijuana. The fact that it's not the name of the plant. Let's stop using it. It's called cannabis. You can also call it weed or pot or whatever. Clearly I'm a stoner. Alright. Movin' On! Back to business, baby. Anyway, to responsibly consume cannabis, as well. And I think one of the things that that honors is all of the research and education coming out these days where we have typically always sort of pressured people into including alcohol as a portion, as a part of these kinds of festivities, but alcohol is a far more damaging drug than cannabis ever has been, or ever will be.

Corina Waldie:

Yep.

Sydney Spidell:

And helping to decrease the stigma around that. And also honor the people that have issues with alcohol. And, and make them feel seen and heard by providing those alternatives or providing safe spaces from it.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, and to be totally honest, you don't have to have any sort of, you know.

Sydney Spidell:

You don't need to get intoxicated, if you don't want.

Corina Waldie:

Nobody absolutely needs to get. You know, you can have really fun virgin drinks, right? That, you know, just to

Sydney Spidell:

Get everybody to come cotton candy, right? I hate cotton candy.

Corina Waldie:

Or, like, cotton candy. I mean, I'm not a fan either. But um, you know, I was actually just in Mexico, and there was one night they actually had a big like cotton candy thing in the buffets. Everyone could go get cotton candy, or popcorn or whatever. Like, there's so many different ways that you can entertain the don't require alcohol and/or cannabis. Yeah, you know, because the reality is both of these substances, if you're offering them, there is a certain amount of potential liability that comes along with them. And as a, you're planning this wedding, you need to ensure that you're putting things into place to ensure the safety of everybody, that consumption happens in a responsible way. And that you're making sure that people get home or back to the hotels, excuse me safely. So in many cases, we're looking at providing transportation or some kind of a service that can drive people home.

Sydney Spidell:

Touching on purpose of receptions, again, really, really quick, the the reason this one is such a big deal is because it's typically like the main focus of the wedding. As much as you know, theoretically, the vows should be. This is the portion that people actually get invited to. Typically, ceremonies are open door policy. But the like, the reason that you're being invited to it is because it is specifically designed to entertain, and provide a feast, right? Provide a... and I use feast in the actual traditional meaning of not just saying a big meal, but the stuff that comes along with that, where a meal is an event in and of itself. This is like the focus. So if you go back to the purpose of what your reception is, there is literally nothing in that that says you have to have anything. So starting from that baseline, starting from zero is going to enable you to be as creative as possible with the options that you bring into it and step away from what is traditionally done. Because you are you are simply honoring how you and your chosen people gather and celebrate and spend time together. Theoretically, you should know these people, you should know the things that entertain them. So even if you guys are partiers and dancers and drinkers, but you know, the majority of your guests are not, it might be something that you don't include, because you know that that is not going to be something that facilitates that connection. So what facilitates connection and celebration for your people? Everything else get rid of it.

Corina Waldie:

100% Very well said. You know, like I said, we've kind of been touching on these elements of, you know, the experience design. And if you follow these principles, it's how people can, you know, if you want to go back and think about, you know, every wedding that you've attended, and how repetitive many of them feel, it's really the way to set your experience apart by thinking very critically and intentionally about how you want... about that guest experience. You know, and that's really through those three principles that we've sort of kind of touched on. The entry, the engagement, and the exit, which are the second third and fourth of the five Es. You know, and but doing those in very intentional ways it's going to help improve that experience for everybody and set your wedding apart as something very different and special.

Sydney Spidell:

And speaking of that exit, we have already talked about that moment of sitting there going like, "Can I leave now? Is this rude?" So that send off being an option for weddings. Now, there is no tried and true way to do this. It is this, this order of things is so culturally influenced because primarily throughout history, whatever culture you're you're looking at this portion of a union ceremony was centered around that consummation or arrival at a new home and land. So, again, if that is not an important concept for you guys to be communicating with your people, then you can get rid of that and just allow things to die down and whatever. But theoretically, like we talked about before, I should have left that till I wasn't talking. What a silly thing. We talked about before not having those gaps and being able to communicate to everybody involved in the experience when they are able to do something, and what their options are. Giving them options that suit them, and providing really easy ways to make that decision. So you can think about the different elements that you want to include in your reception. And consider, you know, like, in the lineups for the scary rides at Disney World, they've got the chicken exit. You can come up with like, like outs for people throughout throughout the day,

Corina Waldie:

Especially because guests, you know, you'll typically be dealing with a number of different demographics within your your guests. It'ss not going to be... you're going to have your people, you know, they're probably you know, maybe your college friends or younger people who are going to want to stay right to the end and party hard. Then you might have like grandma and grandpa who are like, "okay, dude. Dinner's over. It's nine o'clock. I'm ready to go home to bed. I want to leave." So one of the best ways I find there's a couple of different strategies that I've employed with this exit. Usually, I suggest that we pick a solid end time and that's where we will have an transition, potentially a sparkler exit or something like that. Because then it signals to everybody that the night is done. But if you want to have that party going onwards, there's a couple of ways to do it. So if you're providing transportation, so like, let's say you have a hotel blocks at a hotel that's nearby, it's a wonderful opportunity to provide transportation. It also covers off safety to ensure that many people have... that the people who are consuming, whether that's alcohol or cannabis, do have safe rides back to where they're staying. But is having a bus that goes back and forth. It can be as simple as a school bus or you can get something fancier if you want. But it really allows this opportunity

Sydney Spidell:

To have an actual, physical, tangible out.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, because it's like, okay, the bus is going to come at 10 o'clock. Yeah. And the bus is going to come at midnight.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah. So for people that don't want to look bad can still be like, well, the bus is here. And I have to go.

Corina Waldie:

Exactly. So that's one wonderful way to give people an out. But yeah, it's honestly just we've talked a little bit about transition, it's looking for opportunities, provide transition. If you're going to do something like the late night snack, you know, maybe you coordinate that after the late night snack? Learned this one the hard way. I did the bus before the late night snack. My late night snack didn't really get eaten. Yeah, you know, you live, you learn, you love. But you know it very much just think about these really intentional opportunities to give people those outs.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, and I think that particular situation that you're talking about before as well with like, coming up with a bus transition and and moving into... That speaks to that little moment that we talked about earlier, with having a different photography vibe. That's a good opportunity for you to literally switch your event from one thing to another and bring on a whole different experience element there, right?

Corina Waldie:

If you're doing like some kind of an after party. So sometimes, you know, especially here in Alberta, last call has to be typically done by 2am. So if you want to continue partying, you have to leave the venue go elsewhere. So if you're doing that, that's another opportunity to transition to another space. At that point, that clause that photographer clause we talked about last week, wouldn't apply. You could then, you know, transition, have somebody else do it if you want. But you know, if you're having something smaller, you know, we do a lot of elopements. That's something that's kind of our bread and butter, especially in the pandemic right now. But is what we'll encourage people to do them not having a formal dance. There's 15 people. You know, 10/15 people. So, one of the things we'll do because they're not doing all the formalities is we'll end the event usually have dinner, they'll cut the cake, and then I will ask them to, you know, we've typically arranged this, but we just asked them to give a thank you speech. It's another just great, really, really simple way. Yeah, thank everybody for coming, you know.

Sydney Spidell:

Awesome moment of closure.

Corina Waldie:

Awesome moment of closure. Have a good night, you know, and done. So, it doesn't have to be complicated. It can just be as simple as...

Sydney Spidell:

Now the other consideration to whether you're partying or whether you're ending things fairly early is do you need to stay until the end of the reception? Do you need to even stay until the end of the meal, if you're the couple. You know, oftentimes these like dramatic exits and send offs require everyone's presence there to make it a hullabaloo and give you that moment. Are you also ending everybody else's time when you leave? Or are you extending that celebration beyond your presence being there? You do not have to wait around until every guest is gone. You do not have to wait around until all of your scheduled events are finished. If you're planning them for your people and you are still making sure that every, you know, it's communicated to them that you're not going to be there for that portion but that you want them to still party. Yeah, you weren't you were not required to be present for that. But the important thing to then consider is if you're going, if you're allowed to leave, who stays behind and what happens with everything behind?

Corina Waldie:

Well, because typically, especially, you know, you'll have to definitely make sure you're reading your venue contracts and figuring out what's included. But for the vast majority of weddings, everything needs to be torn down the night of and removed. And so if you

Sydney Spidell:

And that's not typically a venue provider. If you have a decorator, that might be part of their clause. If you have a planner, that's probably part of what they're doing. But if you don't have that expressly as part of your package, then you, your people need to do it.

Corina Waldie:

Yeah, very much you need to you know.... And this is honestly something that you need to have a plan for, before the night of the wedding.

Sydney Spidell:

Vehicles, man.

Corina Waldie:

Because you need vehicles to load this stuff. If you have rentals, you know, you need to coordinate with your rental delivery company and the venue to ensure that your rentals are picked up.

Sydney Spidell:

Yeah, tou also don't want someone to be picking up your rentals when you're not done using them, too, right?

Corina Waldie:

Exactly, you know, so when it comes to this, like end of night sort of conclusion is really, really important to have a plan. And if you have a planner, whether that's, you know, a day of coordinator month of coordinator, a, you know, so many terms for wedding day management now, or you have the full service planner, that's a huge part of our jobs. It's just as much as we are supervising and helping with setup, we're there to help and supervise, ensure everything is torn down.

Sydney Spidell:

And whether that means that your planning team, decorating team, venue team, whatever, is taking control of every single element of that, or if they're just helping to designate who does what, it's important to remember what leaves that space. So whether if you if you own the things that you've used to decorate with those need to go with you, if you've rented them, then you have to figure out your your rental pickup. But you will have you will have leaving this probably with more things than you came in cars and guestbook. All of your frickin presents that may not be delivered to your home and may instead be sitting wrapped on a table. Any of the favors that have been left over. Any literal food leftovers that you've paid for and portioned, of course, depending on your agreements in your contracts, which is totally understood. But if you have things like your cake that you're taking home, if you have a special something. all of these things are things that you got to consider about how they are getting from the place that they're at during your reception, or how they're getting to wherever their life is after. And I'm a big fan of saying once you do your send off, and like I would want to leave before everybody else, you know, maybe not everybody, but at least leave people behind to keep on partying after me because I'm dramatic like that. But I also am a big proponent of if you've already gone through all of this and this emotion, don't end your day cleaning up. That is literally when we go back to these roles and responsibilities of your bridal party. That is that is partly what they're doing. Or you're hiring people for this. Or it's if your parents are hosting the word host means something. So if somebody is hosting this wedding for you, then it is their responsibility to be involved in that closure process of it. And you do need to know what all the rules are for cleanup. Because if you think you just need to get the stuff out, but there's a clause in your contract that says if there's crumbs left on the floor, then you get charged an additional fee. You know, you want to know where the vacuum is beforehand, right?

Corina Waldie:

Yep. You know, that's obviously very venue dependent, because there's full service venues, and then there's everything down to just you know, straight up community halls, where you might have it for the weekend. And you can come back the next day. Like I said, it ultimately really boils down to that you are aware of your contracts, and that you have a plan so that you know how that space is getting cleaned up. And where all that thing, that all that stuff is going.

Sydney Spidell:

Consider the fact that you were responsible for that. But you don't have to be involved in it if you don't want to. If you don't want to, you need to make sure you're planning for an assigning somebody to take care of all of it. Yes.

Corina Waldie:

And in terms of like gifts, because let's be honest, you know, especially depending on your culture, your family gifts could amount into thousands and thousands of dollars. You know, one of the things that we do do with our clients, if there is a gifting table is we will look to secure those gifts and usually we'll get typically mom involves will grab mother in law or Mother of mother or mother in law, whoever and we will have them you know, intentionally load those gifts into a vehicle typically or returning to the hotel room or something after dinner. So or you know, at some point we'll set a time that this is done and so that everything is kept secure. So that that way you can do that. So it If you don't have a planner who's helping facilitate that, you know, that's another thing that you just want to make sure you have somebody assigned to that. Yeah, because especially if you have a gift table near a table and your venue is a little more public, which many are, you do want to you don't want anybody walking off with a card box.

Sydney Spidell:

And you're thinking about where you're putting those things in relation to where your event is happening. If they're separate spaces, you can have that separate so then it's not going to interrupt any of the flow of the evening, when there you're having them taken away, people aren't going to be holding on to their gifts, or they shouldn't be until the very end of the night. They're going to be dropping them off as soon as they get there. So those are something that can be cleared out of the way very soon and and removed from the space. If you have a planner, if you have multiple assistants, you can literally get them off site right away to you don't have to wait until the end of the day. You can take them to wherever they need to be. But of course, you know, nobody wants to lose their Le Cruset dutch oven. So

Corina Waldie:

They're not cheap. I have one.

Sydney Spidell:

This is why this is why we're very focused on taking care of your presents. Which happened to be a wedding gift. Hey. This is... I got mine on Poshmark. It's from the 70s. Love it to bits.

Corina Waldie:

Alright, well, I think that's kind of really it for in terms of like the kind of end up to the end of the wedding day. So like we promised next week, we're actually going to like really dig into the ceremony itself. Because let's be honest, that's kind of why we're all here. Yeah,

Sydney Spidell:

We know what. We know what you're waiting for.

Corina Waldie:

We know, we know. So you're really going to want to tune into this one because we're going to be breaking down exactly what needs to happen and what needs to be included, as well as talking about vows because vows are the most important part of the entire day. A lot of y'all don't know what those are honestly. Exactly. So you can join the Un-Wedding movement by following us on Instagram or TikTok you can subscribe to this podcast because apparently we've never asked you guys to do that before but early on like why aren't we Spotify Apple subscribe? Subscribe. Wherever you want to subscribe. We love subscribers

Sydney Spidell:

Turn on your notifications allow us to like dig in your pocket every Wednesday

Corina Waldie:

Wednesday because yes, I started Monday...

Sydney Spidell:

These noisy pricks are talking and you got to listen.

Corina Waldie:

But Wednesday because hashtag wedding Wednesday because why not? You know I had to get a little cheesy when when I did that. But we also have a number of awesome resources blogs access to the entirety of all of our podcasts to date, as well as a wonderful resource that you are free to download. You can go to our website at @unweddingmovement dot com to access those or we are at Un-Wedding movement on all of our social media platforms. And until next week,

Sydney Spidell:

cheers. You can find us on the internet unweddingmovement.com or on Instagram TikTok, Facebook and Pinterest at Un-Wedding movement. Our podcast episodes are released weekly and available wherever you like to stream