Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Wedding Reception Itinerary

No joke: I have actually attended weddings during which the father-of-the-bride approached me (the family wedding expert) to ask when they should cut the wedding cake! Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, but it did strike me as somewhat odd that neither the bride nor the groom had taken the time to research a sample wedding reception itinerary! After all, it was their own wedding ceremony and wedding reception. They had a vested interest while I did not.

To ensure that your loved ones never have to do the same at your wedding reception, here is a sample wedding reception timeline that will give you a rough guide you can modify based on your own needs and wants.

First Hour of Reception
  • 5:00 Wedding guests arrive. Cocktail hour begins. Waiters may serve trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvres to guests.
  • 5:15 Bride and groom arrive. Photographs may or may not be taken at this time. If not, bride and groom may mingle with guests or retire to a private bridal chamber for some quiet time.
Second Hour of Reception
  • 6:00 Wedding party and guests of honor line up to be announced by the emcee or wedding disc jockey.
  • 6:05 Wedding DJ makes formal announcements.
  • 6:10 Bride and groom's first dance. Caterer begins serving champagne to the tables for the champagne toast.
  • 6:20 Cocktail hour ends. Cash bar may begin here. The wedding disc jockey may announce dinner and introduce the wedding officiant if he or she is saying a blessing.
  • 6:25 Wedding DJ introduces the best man for his toast.
  • 6:30 Dinner is served.
Third Hour of Reception
  • 7:00 Bride and groom cut the cake.
  • 7:15 Father-daughter dance.
  • 7:25 Mother-son dance.
  • 7:35 Wedding party dance.
  • 7:40 Wedding DJ invites all wedding guests to hit the dance floor.
  • 7:45 Wedding cake and coffee are served.
Fourth Hour of Reception
  • 8:00 Wedding DJ announces the Bride's bouquet toss.
  • 8:15 Garter toss.
  • 8:45 Bride and Groom's last dance.
  • 9:00 Bride and Groom say goodnight and leave for honeymoon destination or hotel.
  • 9:15 Parents of the bride (or other designated persons) gather all the wedding presents and other items (see After the Reception Checklist for more details).

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