A Wedding Reception Timeline


Wedding CollageYou could have participated in numerous wedding receptions, yet it is not easy to figure exactly what to expect to take place when it’s your own wedding reception. Not to worry, I would try and create a convenient wedding reception timeline so that you can follow it and don’t have to worry about the timings anymore. Well, the course of actions listed in this timeline is very close to any traditional timeline and you could always modify it according to your priorities or requirements.

Here we will assume that you are going to have an afternoon wedding scheduled at 11 am. So, you would have about an hour to exchange the rings and vows. Then of course you would spend another half an hour for the photo shoot and be at the reception venue around 12.30 pm.

The reception starts at 1 pm and assuming you’ve rented the venue for 5 hours, ends at about 6 pm.

Since the reception is scheduled in the afternoon hours, you would probably be serving hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at the reception.

1 PM – Cocktail Hour

The guests would head for the reception area for cocktails. Based on how the entire event has been planned, the cocktail hour may start once the couple, their families and the guests have reached the reception site. However, if the venue is same where the wedding ceremony was held, it may start immediately after the photo session. Cocktails would instate the reception and is going to continue for a minimum of an hour. Appetizers and drinks would be served by the attendants. This would allow people to socialize and create the appropriate ambiance for the celebration.

2 PM – The Couple Arrives, First Dance

Next it’s time for the newlyweds to make the grand entrance to the hall. Somebody should ensure that the guests have taken their seats before the couple shows up. Traditionally, the parents of the couple and the rest of the wedding party are introduced first to the guests, and after that the bride and groom are introduced for the very first time as wife and husband. On most occasions, the first dance would commence as the couple walk in to the floor during their introduction. Optionally, you may hold back until at least the first course of food has been served or even after the speeches and toasts have been given.

2.30 pm – Speeches and Toasts

Right after the first dance, the bride and groom might want to thank everybody to be a part of their wedding. They might return later to give their individual wedding speeches, especially the groom who might speak on behalf of his wife also. A few individuals like the parents and close relatives and friends of the couple then would deliver their speeches and toast them. The parents of the bride, being the host of the event, would welcome the guests. In his speech the groom should thank and appreciate the groomsmen and the bridesmaids and thank everybody who helped directly or indirectly with all the decorations and arrangements. Foods and drinks may be served in between the speeches.

4.00 pm – Some More Dancing

As soon as the dinner is over and the dishes and bowls are removed, the couple should be back on the dance floor and thus letting everybody knows that’s it’s time to party. But before that there are a couple of more customary dances like the father-daughter dance and the groom-mother of the bride dance. In fact, there would be a lot of more dancing with everybody from the family stepping in. It’s also time to open the bar for once and all.

5.00 pm – Cutting the Wedding Cake

It’s now time to cut the cake. It signals that the reception is already in it’s final hour.

5.15 pm – The Last Dance

If it’s your wedding you would want to end the reception party on a terrific note and maybe you could ask the DJ to play a song that would invite everybody to have one final swing and sign off leaving a moment behind that would be cherished for a long time.

5.45 pm – au revoir

Now it’s finally time to say adieu. The couple would now step out of the reception venue ready to make their grand exit, leaving behind the rest of the attendees to cheer and wish them a happy and prosperous future ahead. But before that, if they are intending to do so, might do things like tossing the bouquet and throwing the garter.

Every wedding is unique and manifests the preferences and wishes of the wedding couple as well as their family traditions. Please remember that the specifics of the wedding reception timeline might differ to some (or a great) extent than what you just read.

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