I love watching the show Four Weddings on TLC. I love seeing the different takes on weddings, and the style and expense of weddings is so far beyond what I am used to. Here in Utah it is rare to attend a wedding that is a full-day event and includes a sit-down dinner. Only a few close friends and family members are invited to the ceremony; a larger number of people are invited to the reception. After the ceremony there is usually a luncheon or breakfast for members of the wedding party and the guests that attended the ceremony. The reception is generally held in a backyard or a church building, with a few brides taking advantage of the few reception centers available.
I suppose I should state that some brides in Salt Lake City do have more lavish affairs, but it's not the standard.
Guests arrive at the reception, sign the guest book—the current trend is scrapbook pages to sign that can be placed directly into the wedding scrapbook. Guests either place their gift on a table or a young child comes and carries it for them. Usually the guests then stand in line to congratulate the bride and groom. Depending on the size of the wedding party, this can take a long time. After the line, you get a cup of punch and a small dessert. Sometimes someone will bring it to you. A lot of times you pick it up yourself.
A recent trend that I quite enjoy is the chocolate fountain at weddings. Let's face it, anything you dip in chocolate is a good dessert. Ice cream bars are becoming quite popular as well.
You can actually have a nice wedding in Utah for under $1,000. My SIL Katlyn had a lovely casual wedding in my dad's backyard. We rented some round tables, borrowed chairs from friends and family. She wore a beautiful gown that cost around $600. My brother wore a tux and the groomsmen wore matching polo shirts and khaki shorts. The bridesmaids wore matching shirts and white capris or skirts. Since it was July 5th and very hot we were all very happy about not having to be formal. Katlyn opted not to have a wedding cake, deeming it an unnecessary expense. Her stepmom did the food. My husband did the music. The flower girls wore the cutest matching tank tops and shorts. They got married, had a nice reception, and didn't break the bank.
I have yet to go to an all-day wedding. Sometimes the ceremony will be right before the wedding at the same location, but I've yet to see a full meal served for all wedding guests.