Bucking Traditions, a DIY Reception Wedding Report

I attended my cousin’s wedding on the 4th of July in upstate New York. It was a beautiful wedding with lots of little touches that were unique and impressive. Since I’m always the DJ at weddings (about 25/year), it was nice to experience this as a guest. Here are some items I’d like to discuss that really stood out to me:

Ceremony: I was actually an usher for the ceremony, which was new to me. Besides being the DJ at weddings, I’ve only ever been a groom and a groomsman. So I experienced a new wedding role!

Special items:

  • The bride walked down the aisle with both of her parents, not “traditional” – we love non-traditional!
  • The groom and his groomsman had shotgun shell boutonnières – again, non-traditional!
  • The bride had just a Matron of Honor / the groom had his two brothers as his groomsmen. Most couples feel they need symmetry in their bridal parties. Completely unnecessary.
  • The ceremony was at 2:30, lasted about 30-45 minutes. Cocktail hour didn’t start until 5:30 – so a bit of a space there to allow guests the time to return to their hotels to rest, or to go explore the local area. My wife and I used that time to rest up before the big party!

Cocktail Hour:

  • I’d say the most impressive part of cocktail hour was the food! They had charcuterie boards with olives, capers, pickles, cheese, meats, flatbreads, mustard, local honey and my favorite, fig jam!
  • Also impressive was the bar – as a scotch drinker, I couldn’t believe their open bar included Macallan 12 and Glenlivet! They also had an array of upscale wines, other spirits, and a great beer selection.
  • In addition to the charcuterie boards, they had servers walking around handing out various cocktail hour foods (think shrimp, curried chicken, figs with blue cheese, etc). They also had servers handing out the wedding’s signature drink: Blueberry Mojitos! So delicious (and they included little American flags).


They had various food stations – a meat station at one end of the tent, salads and noodle station at the other. The food was delicious.


  • After their first dance, the couple danced with their bridal party. It was neat and only works when the bridal party are close. Sometimes we’ve noticed that bridal party members don’t know each other, so this tends to be awkward. But it was nice at this wedding.
  • They had a DJ during cocktail hour and dinner – but when it came to dancing, they had an incredible wedding band playing everything from 60s-80s music and even busted out some “Blurred Lines” and Usher’s “Yeah!” I’m normally not a fan of bands, but this band was amazing!

I always love weddings that opt to do things their way – bucking tradition is always great (as long as it’s not completely spitting in the face of tradition).

We love DIY in all aspects of our lives and that is why we started this DIYReception service – we know there are thousands of you out there who like to buck tradition – and if bucking tradition at your wedding means no DJ or band, then the DIYReception guide will be your best friend!

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