Wedding Receptions in the You-Tube Era

 Posted by N. M. Cedeño



What’s going on with wedding receptions these days?

My husband and I were apparently married in a bygone era, the pre-YouTube era. Consequently, our bridesmaids and groomsmen did not choreograph dances, put on a ballet, or produce a Broadway musical during our reception for the entertainment of our guests. I would never have asked them to do so. And, it wouldn’t have occurred to them.

Now, the newly engaged search YouTube for what’s “traditional” at wedding receptions. Because if it’s “traditional,” it must be on YouTube, right? And, if the newly engaged believe the videos online, then an important part of the reception is the “Introduction of the Bridal Party” who are called out by name and title by a DJ, as if he were introducing contestants on the Price is Right.

“Introducing the Mother of the Bride! Mary Smith, come on down!” yells the DJ as music booms loudly in the background.

The members of the bridal party then enter the room in pairs or individually, dancing into the room possibly with props, to the applause of the gathered guests. Sometimes, the entire wedding party then gets together and performs a choreographed dance number for the watching crowd. Based on YouTube, this is a required duty of the bridal party and an important part of entertaining the guests. The bridal party had better be ready to put on a show.

My wedding cake

Not having been involved in any weddings recently, I had no idea that this practice had become so ubiquitous. Back when I got married, the bridesmaids went to showers, paid for a dress, showed up at the wedding, and posed for pictures. The maid of honor and best man had a few other duties as well: giving speeches and planning parties. So, when asked to be a bridesmaid recently, I said yes, not knowing that I would be receiving instructions on choosing an appropriate song for my grand entrance, selecting props and/or costume items, and, of course, choreographing my dance moves.

I have never aspired to be on Broadway or dance in musical theater. I have two left feet and no sense of rhythm. The ballroom dance class I took in college taught me quickly that my ability to see a dance step and then copy it was almost nonexistent. Imagine my shock when I received my instructions.

So of course, I told the bridal couple that my husband wasn’t willing to do any of that stuff. He’s a required member of the wedding party, so I threw him under the bus. The bride was surprised, but understanding. Having carefully studied YouTube, she hadn’t realized that bridal parties haven’t always danced into the reception. It never occurred to her that we didn’t know that entertaining the crowd with a dance routine was a duty of the bridal party.

In days past, I remember the bride and groom being introduced as they came to do their first dance. No one bothered to introduce the entire bridal party. Bridal parties didn’t do choreographed dances and post them online in the pre-YouTube era, that bygone era, before 2005.


N. M. Cedeño writes short stories and novels that are typically set in Texas. Her stories vary from traditional mystery, to science fiction, to paranormal mystery in genre. Her debut novel, All in Her Head, was published in 2014, followed by her second novel, For the Children’s Sake, in 2015. In 2016, For the Children’s Sake was selected as a finalist for the East Texas Writers Guild Book Award in the Mystery/Thriller category. Most recently, she has begun writing the Bad Vibes Removal Services Series which includes short stories and the novel The Walls Can Talk (2017).

Visit her at or find her books at her Amazon author page .



On The Move

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Since I’m still on the mend from my hospital stay and following doctor’s orders to rest, I’m sharing a post I wrote on my blog in the fall of 2013.

It’s that time of year again when I’m on the move. I don’t travel incognito; in fact, I’m very visible in my shorts and tank top, as I shiver uncontrollably in a Midwest airportwhile I wait for my flight to board. The weather here this week has dropped below sixty degrees Fahrenheit and my thin blood longs for the tropical heat Mexico. The trees here in Wisconsin are turning lovely shades of orange, red and yellow and the weatherman says there will be frost tonight. There are pumpkins still on the vine and lots of them already set out as fall decorations on porches and driveways in our rural area. Time to leave. Another month and there’ll be snow. Lots of snow.snow I donated my boots and coat to Goodwill a few years ago. I’m unprepared for this chilly climate. My feet are freezing all the time and I look like an Eskimo, layering clothes to keep warm. I grew up in Michigan and loved the winter and the outdoor sports it offers. Not any more. My idea of an outdoor sport now is lying on a tropical beach holding a drink with an umbrella in my hand as I watch the wavescaress the white sandy beach.umb A few years ago I migrated to Mexico for the winter and now I can’t seem to get it out of my blood. I do my best writing there. I haven’t quite decided if it’s the perpetual sunny days, the fact that I walk everywhere and have time to think, the beautiful blue ocean water, or a combination of them all. I get great ideas and I write about them. I am anxious to return.

You may have seen me in an airport or bus station scribbling madly on a receipt I pulled out of my purse because it’s the only piece of paper I can find. You may have heard me dictating into my portable recorder as I sit patiently in the waiting area. I’m the one toting two Kindles, a computer, a guitar and fiddle, an iPod and a tiny suitcase (I do change my clothes you know!) and whining to the ticket agent that I cannot possibly tag my guitar as luggage. Sorry for the inconvenience to all of you in the line behind me, but my guitar is like my best friend (it pulls me out of a lot of the writing doldrums) and I can’t possibly leave it behind or treat it inhumanely. air Oh, I almost forgot, I am toting a big loveable man along too. My husband just shakes his head and smiles as I struggle to board the plane with all my paraphernalia. He even offers to help but I usually tell him I’m fine. (I do have a sense of pride you know – he’s not the one who needs all this stuff!).

We settle into our seat on the plane and I type a few words into my laptop until I am told to turn it off. Once I get the ok again I go back to writing. The trip seems short and when we arrive I embrace the balmy tropical heat. I can’t wait to get home, open the door and stow our stuff and head to our favorite corner restaurant for a bowl of wonderful homemade Tortilla Soup and the most awesome Margarita you’ve ever had.

My girlfriends are returning in the next couple of weeks and we’ll get back into our routine of weekly beach trips and pool days, monthly pedicures and craft classes. Hubby and I will meander down quiet streets to greet old and new friends, take in the opera, and hit the flea market. I’ll meet up with my weekly music group and we’ll jam.

My writing group begins in November and I can’t wait to get together to exchange ideas and critique each other’s manuscripts.

Summer has been fun – no, wonderful. We have been to local Wisconsin parades, corn roasts, Amish breakfasts, music festivals, family reunions, camping and the like. I have spent the better part of every day at the local library writing. Hubby and I have had lots of fun, but I am not inspired to write because I’m too busy! No matter. By the end of next week I’ll be back in my little casa and resume a somewhat normal life.

I love the fact that we use public transportation in Mexico and don’t drive. I lose weight and I feel good! Daily trips to the market yield lots of fresh fruit and veggies and a little taco stand on the corner makes the most delicious lunch you can imagine for only $2.00 U.S.

Inzared was born in Mexico. I learned about her life and did all my research there. She has lots more to tell me as I write the second book in the INZARED Queen of the Elephant Riders series. I can’t wait to hear from her. We’ll have the best chats, I just know!

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Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders 


INZARED bookcoverkindle







Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer Inzared

The Fortune Teller (Book Two)









13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing










13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an eBook









You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

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L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews





It’s a hens do!

mug shot 200This post is by Nancy Jardine

I’m starting this blog post with an apology. If I’m a bit tardy in commenting this time around please forgive me – I’m hoping it’ll be because I’m having a whale of a time at my niece’s ‘hen party’.

I’m taking an approximately 300 mile round trip to the fantastic city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

I adore visiting Edinburgh, and selfishly, I’m delighted that my lovely niece has decided to stay closer to home so that more of her friends and family (read old fogies like me) can attend!

hen party

Are we going in ‘themed’ attire? Not that I know of…yet! But I expect maybe something will ‘brand’ us together. I had fun a few years ago when I went to a ‘sixties’ one- the ‘vintage’ clothes bought from the internet. I’m a hoarder of all sorts of things, but sadly not the same size as I was back then!

(photo from wikimedia)

So it’s a  ‘Hen Weekend‘.

What are the common names for this event? In Scotland (and UK generally) we tend to call it ‘Hen Night, or Henny Party’. European countries tend to have a translation of the word ‘hen’ as well. The US often names it a ‘Bachelorette Party and I’ve heard it’s not unknown for Canadians to call it a ‘Stagette Party’. ‘Kitchen Tea’ in South Africa is a new one for me, though! Hens, and the ilk, for OZ and NZ are fairly similar to the European names.

Traditions for a ‘Hen’ event vary a lot and have also changed quite staggeringly over time.

Googling a little, I found some interesting comments on the origins. It’s been said that the ‘hen night’ started in the North African, Middle Eastern and Asian culture and the ‘hen’ part relates to the application of, and wearing of henna patterns by the bride on the eve of her wedding – to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.



(I do hope if these patterns means anything, then it’s all good!)

Another blog post states the tradition started during the reign of King Charles II (1630-1685) where the bride would contemplate her ‘bottom drawer’ goods and would sit quietly at home with the women of the family. (Sounds like a whole lot of fun to me  – *big grimace* )

There are plenty of ideas out there which mirror the traditions of the stag event and the tendency nowadays  is for it to be a bit ‘over the top’ in a partying sense. These events are not often held on the traditional eve of the wedding, but leave plenty of time for the bride to recover her poise and equilibrium *wink*.

When I got married in 1974 in Glasgow (Scotland), on the eve of the wedding day friends, family and neighbours of the bride would gather together – usually in the bride’s home. There would be stacks of home baking, gallons of tea and coffee, and horror of horrors!! – Alcohol for those who wanted to indulge themselves. It would be a noisy, though more restrained, party than generally happens today, since the bride had to look fantastic the following day.

All of that is pretty tame, but the traditional bit in my neighbourhood was the ‘bride procession’.

Sometimes an open cart would be acquired (driver provided) and the bride would be seated on top – as on a ‘float’ during a parade. The bride would be dressed up in frilly undies, or some other frivolity (thermals underneath for that biting Scottish wind and rain) and wore an old veil. She would hold an enamel potty/ ceramic chamber pot pottywhich held a layer of salt in it- salt for luck and prosperity.(Plastic potties are useless as they don’t  sound the same)

This ‘potty’ would be rattled in front of anyone who happened to be in the streets (with especially funny comments if it was a man) as the procession wended it’s way around for an hour or two- coins expected to be added to the collection.

There was happy singing – usually a raucous clamour – as the procession traipsed the local streets, though the event was always held in good humour by all the neighbours. Wooden spoons were banged on metal pots by all the walking ‘attendants’ to alert all to the ‘bride’ coming, the hooters and tooters hard to ignore. People would hang out of the windows and join in with ribald wishes for the bride. (We’ll skip the part where these were often more than a bit risqué)

If there was no ‘open topped’ vehicle available, the procession walked around. The bride rarely made a fortune out of it, but that wasn’t the point. Any money collected was supposed lucky and some brides set it aside for a ‘layette’ for the first baby.

Embarrassing for the bride? Absolutely! But it was a way of having fun with friends and neighbours who would perhaps not be attending the wedding.

Weddings, or the promise of, appear in all of my novels, but the most challenging to write was the ‘wedding scene’ in my historical novel –The Beltane Choice. Set in AD 71 it took a bit of imagination to create the wedding vows for Lorcan of the Brigantes and Nara of the Selgovae. Nara, I’m afraid had no ‘hen party’. If such a thing was celebrated then I’m afraid I’ve found no record of in my researches…

BeltaneB 500

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What sort of ‘hen do’ traditions can you add? I’d love to know (and I promise to respond as soon as possible… *big smiles*)

Some more sites to view ‘hen/stag’ details :
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Nancy Jardine can be found at:   Twitter @nansjar   Google+  Nancy Jardine

I wish you all a spectacular weekend!