The dinner and dance are the bridal couple's opportunities to talk with people that came to the wedding, particularly their out of town guests. My family is from farm stock, and if my relatives are going to find someone to care for their animals and leave town to attend a wedding, they expect to be able to talk to the couple for at least a couple of minutes at some point. This was another reason that my relatives were irritated by the brevity of the Georgia wedding -- some of them never got to talk with my cousin after flying cross-country to attend the festivities. My cousin left her 90 minute reception directly for her honeymoon.
Wedding dances here each have their own sense of timing, but generally by nine or so the very old and the very young (and their parents) leave for home. By eleven thirty or so, people that are plus-or-minus ten years of the bridal party are the only people left, the rest having moved on to a bar or to a hotel room "hospitality" suite. If the bride and groom are smart, they leave a half hour or so before the dance closes down, so that they don't have to help clean up! Obviously, they don't leave for their honeymoon that night. Most couples I know are so exhausted from the wedding day festivities that their "wedding night" means collapsing into bed somewhere, likely their own at home, for SLEEP and nothing else!
Maybe a third of couples will have a gift-opening brunch the next day for family members; the rest leave that task until they get home from their honeymoon.
This message has been edited by DarcyMae on Nov 8, 2011 7:19 AM