The wedding reception is an occasion that is held immediately after the completion of a marriage ceremony. Receptions include many rituals and traditions, but they most often include a meal, music, and dancing. Wedding receptions are mostly held during the weekends, as it gives the invited guests an opportunity to attend the event.
The order of events for a wedding reception mostly follows this format:
Guests Arrive At The Reception Site | 15-20 Minutes
Some guests arrive early at the reception. So be sure all reception to-dos are completed by the time your wedding’s scheduled to start. Also, all wedding vendors should be suited up in proper attire for early and lingering guests. All tables should be set up, including the cake table, the entertainment’s table, the sign-in table, food tables, and tables with chairs for all guests.
If you have a seating arrangement, all seating lists should be at the reception with everyone’s name indicating where they sit. Your wedding coordinator and/or DJ/MC will get all of your guests rounded up and seated in the reception hall so that they are ready for the party to start. If necessary, they will explain how guests can find their seats and will give any other special announcements during this time.
The start of getting your guests into the reception and the estimation of how long this will take based on how many are in attendance is an essential part of your wedding reception timeline.
Opening Prayer And Welcome Speech | 5-10 Minutes
Now you and your forever honey are seated at your head table and it’s time to thank your guests for coming. This can be done by the bride and groom or the mother and father of the bride. In some cases, this is also a good time for a blessing from a family member to commence the meal!
Introducing The Wedding Party | 10-15 Minutes
This step isn’t mandatory, but it’s nice for everyone to know who the wedding party — many guests haven’t met them before your wedding. Create a “Reception Planning Guide,” and give this to your emcee before the wedding.
Among other things, this guide should detail your party by the order they enter the reception site and give their names and titles. Your DJ/MC will announce your family and wedding party entrances here.
This is a fun time for your wedding party and/or immediate family members to enter the reception hall with a funny dance or action that gets your guests excited and ready for your grand entrance.
In addition, go over how to pronounce the wedding party’s names with the emcee.
The order of entrance is parents of the bride, parents of the groom, ushers with bridesmaids, flower girl, and ring bearer, special guests, best man, maid/matron of honor, bride and groom.
Introducing The Bride and Groom | 5-10 Minutes
This is your time to celebrate being introduced for the first time as the newlyweds that you are. Pick your favorite party song and flaunt yourself!
Make sure the bride and groom entrance is separated from the other wedding party entrances on your wedding reception timeline so that you can have your own shining moment in the spotlight!. Everyone should stand before the bride and groom enter.
In addition, you can arrange a special song with musical entertainment and a special announcement with the emcee to punctuate a truly grand entrance. Also, inform the emcee how you’d like to be introduced: Mr. and Mrs. Smith? John and Jane Doe?
Cutting The Cake
Of course, the bride and groom traditionally cut the first slice on their wedding cake. The bride feeds half of the piece of cake to the groom, and the groom feeds the remainder to the bride. The ceremonial cutting is meant to symbolize the couple’s caring and sharing for one another. Don’t be afraid to use forks for this step, since they look great in pictures. They almost minimize the possibility of smearing cake all over the wedding regalia.
Toasting The Happy Couple
In the first stage of toasting, the bride and groom toast each other, then interlock arms and drink. Immediately following, the best man and maid/matron of honor make toasts to the bridal couple. Be prepared for other family and friends to follow, too.
Forks At The Ready!
It’s time to eat! The guests start to eat as the wedding reception continues. It could be either serve yourself event or a waiter serving event.
Tip: the food serving and the toast could happen simultaneously or immediately after the other, to ensure everyone is fed before the dance, and this could be accompanied by a slow song.
Bride & Groom’s First Dance | 5-10 Minutes
The Bride & Groom’s Dance is the first dance between a bride and groom as a married couple. Where you choose to place this in the schedule depends on your preferences. One common option: immediately following the grand entrance, with the wedding party circling the dance.
Father & Daughter’s Dance
The Father & Daughter’s Dance or the Father Bride Dance is the dance between the father(s) of the bride and the bride. Brides, if you have more than one father in your life, one can tap the other on the shoulder in the middle of the dance so you can dance with both of them. If you don’t have a father, a common substitute is a father figure. Even your brother would make a very nice gesture.
Mother & Groom’s Dance
The Mother & Groom’s dance is the dance between the mother(s) of the groom and the groom. Grooms, if you have more than one mother in your life, one can tap the other on the shoulder in the middle of the dance so you can dance with both. If you don’t have a mother, a common substitute is a mother figure or your sister.
Like many people, you might have some songs that are near and dear to your heart. You can ask the entertainment to play them immediately after the formal dances. Example: If someone close to you passed recently, you could ask the entertainment to play “Angels Among Us” by Alabama.
Bouquet And Garter Toss(For Christians)
In the traditional tossing of the bouquet, the bride tosses her bouquet (or a substitute) to all the single women in attendance. Immediately after the tossing, a chair is set in the middle of the dance floor, for the bride to sit on while the groom removes the garter from her leg, and tosses it to all the single men in attendance. The man and woman who catches the garter and bouquet are said to be the next to marry.
Dancing, Fun And Couple Games
This is what you pay the music entertainment to do — get people out of their chairs and on to the dance floor. Give the entertainment your favorite songs and some absolute no-gos, but don’t try to conscript them to a list of 100 songs you picked out in advance.