Reception Timeline

A wedding reception

The reception can be the most wonderful party in the world. Without the proper timing and organization however, it can be a total nightmare. Be prepared, have a game plan in place and everything will run smoothly.

A wedding reception starts before most brides and grooms arrive. Once guests leave the ceremony site and arrive at the reception site, this is when the party begins. You may not realize time flying by while you are out ridding in the limousine having your own fun. Your guests may be stranded at the site awaiting your arrival for up to an hour or more! Make sure they are entertained and well taken care of.

Have your caterer ready and standing by with drinks and hors d’oeuvres. If you have a host and hostess, they will oversea the reception for you. Have the DJ set-up and playing background music while guests mingle and prepare for your arrival. Prepare your guests with announcements if you are going to be detained with formal photographs for some time after the ceremony. Consider letting your guests eat their meal if the hour is particularly late in the evening, you and your party can eat once you arrive.

Your reception officially starts once you and the wedding party arrive. Your DJ might announce your entrance. Discuss with them your desires before the date and how you wish for them to handle this.

A short amount of time should be given to you so you can mingle and handle any details. Within an hour of the official start, you should begin the meal with the wedding party being served first. Before eating, you may call upon the clergy or other special person to bless the food.

Cake cutting

Cake cutting is next on the list of events. The DJ should announce this event. Photographs are taken and the bride and groom cut the cake and feed each other. Discuss with your fiancé how you wish to be fed and agree not to smash cake into each other’s face. Cake can then be cut and served to guests.

Back at the head table, the best man should be preparing for his toast. Champagne or another toasting beverage should be poured and served to guests. The best man toasts the couple, followed by the maid or matron of honor. Bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents and other guests can feel free to join in giving toasts to the couple. The bride and groom may also feel it is necessary to speak or toast parents and friends.

A short period is usually devoted to mingling and desert.

Within two hours of the receptions official start: you should begin the first dance as bride and groom. This dance can be followed by several other special dances such as the father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, parent’s dance, bridal party dance and dollar dance.

Then it is time for the removal of the garter and the tossing of the bouquet! Talk with your DJ prior to the night about special requests or how you would like them to handle this.

Your DJ will take it from here playing special requests and other games with the crowd.

As the night rolls on, the bride and groom may find it time to slip away. Say goodbye to guests, wedding party and parents, the party may continue without you there. Later, when parents or hosts feel it is time, or the time allotted for the site rental has ran out, they may request the DJ to stop the music, ask the bar to close and bid farewell to the guests.

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