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Posted by Amanda

Do you have your reception all planned and ready for guests? Are you sure? Do you know the approximate time that each portion of the reception will occur such as the when the wedding cake will be cut? If not, then you may run out of time if you have rented the reception hall for a specific amount of time. It would be terrible if you rented the catering hall for lets say five hours starting at 12am and ending at 5pm on a Saturday and the hall has another event planned for that evening starting at 6pm and your guests are still in the hall when the next group is arriving to decorate for their event. This is the main reason you want to have your wedding reception on a schedule unless you have actually rented a catering hall for the entire day and night.

A basic guideline to ensure that all runs well at your wedding reception would ensure that all guests enjoy the reception and the event goes smoothly. You can also include the events on your invitation, so your guests also have an idea of how the event will go. The also provides those in your wedding party with a guide to follow, so they know their role at the reception. All guests as well as those in the wedding party will know when food when be served, when the best man will toast the happy couple, when the wedding cake will be cut, and when the bride and groom will enjoy their first dance as husband and wife, to name a few.

To help you with the timeline you can follow this basic guide.

Prior to heading to the reception hall, the bride, groom, and parents stand by the doors and greet guests as they are leaving the church or other venue where the wedding occurred. This could be reversed if the couple chooses, with the couple and the parents greeting the guests as they arrive at the catering hall for lunch.

Since we are having a wedding reception in the middle of the day instead of the evening, a few things may be a bit different from what you have seen at receptions. You should allow your guests about 30 minutes to enter the catering hall and find their assigned table. Once everyone is seated, now would be the time for the welcome and the first toast.

12:30pm The father of the bride will welcome everyone and thank them for attending. The blessing will now be given to the couple. The toast by the best man and the maid of honor can be given prior to the meal or in between courses.

1:00 The first course should be served. The band or DJ can now play the chosen music quietly in the background while the meal is being served and enjoyed.

2:30 The meal should be over and it is time to enjoy the dance floor. The wedding planner or coordinator will now introduce the bride and groom, along with parents of each. The bride and groom are introduced as Mr. & Mrs. and are giving the dance floor for their first dance. After the first dance, the father/daughter and mother/son dance along with wedding party members. Now, all the guests are invited to dance.
The bride and groom will dance to one entire song. During the dance portion of the reception, the bride will throw the bouquet, the groom with throw the garter belt, centerpieces will be given away, and all other activities the couple has chosen at different intervals.

Drinks of course can be served after the dancing portion begins.

3:30 Time to cut the cake. In most cases, the cake is served with champagne or coffee/tea. The choice again is up to the couple. If alcoholic drinks have been served prior to the cake cutting, coffee may be your best bet.

4:00 The newlyweds are now given time to give their speech. The bride and groom can give separate speeches or one together, thanking their parents, family, and friends for sharing this special day.

4:30 The last dance – here again you have father/daughter and mother/son dancing. About half way through the song, the guests are invited to join the dance. This is normally a faster dance leaving the guests with a festive atmosphere.

4:50 Everyone should be lining the way for the couple to leave through the doorway with some on the outside. All guests should be given rice, confetti, or rose petals to throw as the couple walk past.
Of course, the timeline can be changed according to the time of day you have your wedding and the things you have planned for your reception. You may not plan to have a sit down meal at all and may only serve finger foods. The choices are yours, but this guideline should give you an idea of how much time to allot for the various activities at your wedding reception.

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