Your wedding reception is going to be one of the essential parts of your wedding night. Having a set wedding reception timeline will ensure the best possible experience for you and your wedding guests!
Here we share a sample wedding reception timeline to help you figure out how to break things down. You don’t have to follow this sequence strictly, but yes, it will help you make your reception an unforgettable event for one and all.
Here we go……
» Moving of your Guests from Ceremony into Cocktail Hour
Once your ceremony is over, you will get busy in your photo session. And at the same time, your guests would get enough time to mingle with each other. The best is to have them attending cocktail hour so that they don’t get bored and you also don’t have to worry about them. They can have a nice time together, drinking and chitchatting before they go into the main reception. More often than not, it takes around 1 hour to 1.5 hours for a photoshoot. But you can still check with your Wedding Photographer, and accordingly, you can allot time for the cocktail hour.
» Guests Heading Towards Reception Hall
After the cocktail hours, all your guests would head to the reception hall. Your wedding coordinator or MC or DJ will get all of your wedding guests seated in the reception hall so that the party can be started. If need be, the coordinator can explain to your guests how they can find their seats. Besides, he/she will also give any other special announcements (if any) during this time. How much time will it take will totally depend on the size of your gathering! In a small gathering, it takes around 15 – 20 minutes. However, in the case of large gatherings, it could even take more time.
» Wedding Party Entry Introduction
Your DJ/MC will now announce your family and wedding party entrances. It may take 5 – 10 minutes in all. Your wedding party can choose to make their entry funny, such as they can enter the reception hall with a dance move or a funny action. Usually, it starts with the best man and maid of honor.
» Newlyweds Grand Entrance
Once the wedding party has made it inside, it’s time for the newlyweds to make a grand entrance. This is for the first time when you will be introduced as Mr. & Mrs. Make your entry as grand as possible. Let it be an unforgettable moment for you and your guests. You can pick your favorite party song to make your way in, or you can choose some adventurous style for the same. Like one of my friends and his wife entered into their reception hall on his dirt bike. It was absolute fun. You can also think of something like this. Newlyweds’ entrance will take 5 – 10 minutes.
» First Dance
Now it’s time for the first dance, the moment which you have been waiting for long. After you make your grand entrance, it’s time to hit the dance floor for your first dance as a married couple. This is your moment; if you want, you can get your first dance choreographed or choose a sentimental song for a slow and sweet dance moves. It is absolutely up to you! It will take 5 – 10 minutes in all.
» Welcome Speech
After you are done with your first dance, it’s time to get seated at your head table and give your welcome speech. Thank your wedding guests for making time to be part of your life’s biggest celebration. Either the bride or the groom or the parents of the bride can give the welcome speech. It will take 5 – 10 minutes. You don’t need to have a lengthy speech; just a few simple words will be enough to show your gratitude.
Also Read: Tips To Give a Best Wedding Speech
» Dinner Time
Now it’s time for you and your guests to fuel up for the party ahead. Make sure you also have your meal. If you haven’t set aside your time to greet your guests somewhere else in your wedding reception timeline, then it’s a perfect time to mingle with your guests. After having your meal, you can make your rounds and mingle with your guests before returning to your table for the toasts. Make sure you spend not more than 2-3 minutes in each table.
Time for toasts! When all your guests are enjoying their meal, you can utilize the time for toasts. It will start with the Best Man and Maid of Honor toasts, followed by others whoever you have asked to toast. If your parents have given a welcome speech, now is a great time to thank all your wedding guests for attending your Wedding. Overall it will take half an hour or maybe more depending on the number of toasts.
» Family Dances
It’s time for the family to hit the dance floor. Start with the mother & son (groom) and father & daughter (bride) dances. Once your family members finish dancing, have your MC or DJ ask your wedding guests to come to the dance floor for a group photo. So, when the music hits, all your guests would be set to show their favorite dance moves!
» Get the Party Started
Now it’s time to get the party started! Let all your guests dance on upbeat songs. In between, you can have fun activities such as a shoe game, money dance, or any other entertainment that you have planned for your wedding reception. It is a great time to have all your guests dancing, shaking, and celebrating. You’ll want everyone from your grandmother to your baby niece showing off their finest moves. For that, you will need to make a soundtrack that spans genres and generations. Your guests would want to feed on something light; you can consider some late-night snacks during this time. 45 – 60 minutes.
» Cake Cutting
It’s time for the cake cutting ceremony and letting your guests know that the party will get over soon. Cake cutting ceremony can be an hour before your grand exit or at the end of the reception. While your guests enjoy their dessert, have your DJ play some slow music. Also, if you haven’t thanked your guests for their presence, then it is a good time to go ahead with thanking them all! Also, make sure to get your cake photographed before cutting it. After all, you will want to have some sweet memories of the day in your wedding album as well!
» Bouquet and Garter Toss
After the newlyweds cut their pieces of cake, it’s time for the bouquet and garter toss. Both the bouquet and garter toss go hand in hand. Typically the bride tosses her bouquet to the waiting ladies, and the groom tosses the garter for the guys. During the bouquet and garter toss, have your DJ play some ultra-sexy songs!
» Night Time Photo Session
In between the last dance set and cake cutting, it is a perfect time for the newlyweds to sneak out for their nighttime couple photoshoot. You will have to schedule this with your Photographer very well in advance. This is the time when you can make the best memories of your big day with your pictures that you will cherish all your life. But yeah, don’t forget to return to your last dance!
» Last Call
Of course, nobody wants a party to end, but it has to end anyways. Have your DJ or MC announce when the last call is an hour out. It is a great way to let your guests know that they have enough time to get to the bar and order their favorite wine or know that this is their last chance to get on the floor and dance before the party’s end.
» Last Dance
Choose an upbeat that will make all your guests hit the dance floor before you end the party! This is the end of your big day; make it a memorable one. Pick up an upbeat song that will get all of your guests out of their seats and onto the dance floor. Let your Wedding go out with a bang!
» Exit Time – Make it Grand
After the last dance, it’s time to make your grand exit. Have your Coordinator or DJ usher all of your guests outside for you to make your grand exit to your getaway car. You can make your exit as grand as your entry. Get creative!
» Breakdown Time
Once all of your guests have left the place, the venue’s staff will start the process of dismantling. They will remove your centerpieces, table covers and pack away all your remaining wedding cake. If you want to keep anything such as floral arrangements from your reception or deliver the leftover food to the local community center, let the person-in-charge of breakdown know this in advance. Make sure you deploy your family member or your friend or some reliable person for this task, who can ensure everything is going to the right place and tip vendors at last.
So, this is the wedding reception timeline that you can use for your wedding as well!
Happy wedding…. ☺ ☺