What Should Happen In A Wedding Reception?

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    Different wedding celebrations are as individual as fingerprints or snowflakes. However, the below events typically occur together. You can safely disregard this guide if you have been to even one wedding previously, as you will be well-versed in all the aforementioned details. Beyond this stage, only first-time brides and grooms should proceed with the wedding preparations.

    A wedding is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable events in anyone's life. When the ceremony concludes, though, what comes next? The welcome! Usually, it's up to the wedding planner, emcee, or manager of the venue to keep things running well. That's why it's crucial that you give them a wedding reception schedule.

    Check out our post on Wedding Reception Venue Selection

    Our five-hour event timeline and answers to seven frequently asked wedding and party questions can help your special night operate well.

    There are no hard and fast guidelines for wedding receptions, although many adhere to a tried and true pattern. Check out this rundown of the events that usually take place during a wedding reception if you've been invited to one but aren't sure what your host has in store for you. The following elements are likely to be present even if the event you are attending is unconventional or casual:

    Want to have a memorable and enjoyable wedding reception but have no idea where to begin? Knowing when things are intended to happen is essential for throwing a successful wedding party. Using the standard format of a one-hour cocktail hour followed by a four-hour reception, here is a detailed schedule of the events that will take place after the wedding ceremony.

    The reception is a major element of the wedding night. Maintaining a strict schedule will guarantee that you and your guests have an unforgettable evening. This article provides an example timeline for a wedding reception, as well as some additional suggestions for getting the festivities underway.

    A well-organized schedule is essential for a successful reception. The following are some sample reception schedules that you can use as a starting point for planning your own wedding celebration. When planning your wedding, take into account the time of day and whether or not the ceremony will take place at the same venue as the reception so that you may adjust the times accordingly.

    Once you've settled on a timeline, be sure to share it with your caterer, photographer, and performers. The chief bridesmaid, best man, and the rest of the wedding party can keep things on track so that you, your guests, and, most importantly, you and your new husband can relax and enjoy yourselves.

    Check out Boutique events group Wedding Venue for your ultimate wedding reception.

    There are several early birds at the reception. Make sure you have nothing left to accomplish before the wedding celebration begins. In addition, all wedding service providers should dress appropriately for both the ceremony and reception. The sign-in table, the food tables, the cake table, and the tables with chairs for all of the guests should all be set up. All names and seating assignments should be clearly displayed at the reception if there is a designated seating area.

    Event Order At Your Wedding Reception

    Receptions for weddings typically follow a standard format, with a number of customs and rituals repeated. This should help you organise the flow of events for a formal or casual meal.

    Guests Arrive At The Reception Site

    There are several early birds at the reception. Make sure you have nothing left to accomplish before the wedding celebration begins. In addition, all wedding service providers should dress appropriately for both the ceremony and reception. The sign-in table, the food tables, the cake table, and the tables with chairs for all of the guests should all be set up. All names and seating assignments should be clearly displayed at the reception if there is a designated seating area.

    You and your new spouse will likely be the first guests to leave the ceremony once you've been called husband and wife, and you'll likely be accompanied by a photographer as you leave for photos before the reception begins. Cocktails will be served at the reception spot, where your guests will gather. If the ceremony and reception are being held at the same location, your cocktail hour can start right away; otherwise, it may not begin for more than half an hour. Your reception will begin with cocktails and continue for at least an hour. Staff will set out appetisers and drinks at stationary or passing stations to encourage conversation and socialising.

    A great opportunity to take formal family portraits and a couples session is immediately following the ceremony, while guests are still socialising. The cocktail hour is a great opportunity for your guests to unwind and enjoy some hors d' oeuvres and drinks before the main reception begins, even if the bride and groom are unable to make it. Check out this Wedding Photography You can use the timeline to figure out how long your cocktail hour should be based on the number of formal photographs you plan to take.

    Your wedding planner and DJ/MC will herd all of your guests into the reception area and seat them before the festivities begin. During this time, hosts will make any last-minute announcements and walk attendees through the seating arrangement process, if necessary. The time you estimate it will take to bring all of your guests into the reception building depends heavily on how many people you expect to attend.

    Wedding Reception in Melbourne

    Entrants For Wedding Parties

    Here is where the DJ/MC will make the announcements for the wedding party and family members. In order to get the party started and the guests amped up for the bride and groom's big entrance, it's a good idea for the wedding party and close relatives to make their entrance into the reception hall first.

    That time has come when you must make your entry. Once everyone has been seated, the host will announce your arrival. This is the job of the coordinator. After introducing the parents and wedding party, you and your spouse-to-be will often be met for the first time. Not only will sticking to this timeframe on your wedding reception timetable be extremely crucial as it will help set the pace for the events that follow, but it will also be one of the more memorable moments of your special day as you are formally introduced as a married couple.

    As the reception begins, the newlyweds, together with their parents and wedding party, enter the building. In this first official step of their marriage, the bride and groom are presented to each other. The entire wedding planning process will make you feel like you're participating in a beauty pageant or a 1960s variety show.

    The Wedding Speeches

    Your guests have arrived, and you and your forever sweetheart have taken your seats at the head table. Both the bride and groom, or only the bride's parents, can do this. It's also a nice opportunity to start the dinner off with a blessing from a loved one.

    After the initial festivities have concluded, the master of ceremonies (MC) can welcome guests and offer a toast to the bride and groom before calling upon the best man to take the stage. The best man typically gives a speech about the bride and groom after thanking the bridal party and bridesmaids for their efforts. After the best man has spoken, the bride's father typically gives a short speech. The speech of the groom has finally arrived.

    The speeches given at weddings are supposed to be light and brief, yet they often end up being much longer than expected. Many wedding speeches involve looking back on fond memories or recognising the efforts of certain guests who travelled long distances to share in the couple's joy. After the toasts have been said, the main course is brought out.

    First Dance

    When you and your new spouse are announced and make your way onto the dance floor, the first dance can officially begin. Since everyone is cheering you on as you approach the reception, you can choose to wait until after the first dish of the meal is served, but the clapping should be enough to help you overcome any shyness you might feel. Looking for a new tune to write? Don't forget to check out our recommended first dance tracks!

    The newlyweds are ready for their first dance. The bride's father and the groom's mother will take the following jump. The nighttime party officially starts when people start hitting the dance floor.

    All eyes will be on the newlyweds after their spectacular entry, so this is the ideal time for their first dance as man and wife. This is your opportunity to shine as a couple, whether you're performing a choreographed dance or just sharing a tender moment to a heartfelt song.

    During this time, some couples like to do their parent dances by switching partners and inviting their parents onto the dance floor, while others choose to do this after dinner to urge visitors out onto the dance floor.


    After waiting for what seems like forever, guests are surely starting to wonder, "Hey, where's the food?" More on the topic of what to offer and how to serve it may be found in the section under "Dinner." Dinner is served, and it can be anything from fine dining to an intimate family meal to a catered Chipotle buffet, depending on your preference.

    While reception buffets are common, some newlyweds choose to have their guests served individually. Standard three-course dinners typically consist of an appetiser, a main dish, and a dessert. It's not uncommon to serve cheese and biscuits after these dishes. While people are eating and chatting, music keeps playing in the background.

    Toasting wines and champagnes are usually set out for each table during the speeches. It's becoming increasingly common for the groom to foot the bill for an open bar at the reception, but some couples still opt to serve simply table wine and offer a cash bar for those interested in purchasing more alcoholic beverages.

    It's time to get down to business and start eating the main course. When guests are seated for a dinner, the band or DJ will play music that is relaxing and conducive to conversation. Your planner, DJ, or bandleader will keep everyone in line at a buffet by calling out specific times for each table to move up. Remember that you must do everything in your power to occupy their places at the table.

    Upon arriving at the reception, the first thing you should do is grab some lunch. Afterward, you can choose to go around and say hello to everyone before coming back to your seat for the toasts. If you haven't scheduled more time for mingling with guests during other parts of your wedding reception's schedule, this is the time to do it. Allow at least three minutes at each table and adjust the meals appropriately if you plan to use that time to meet and greet guests or pose for photos.

    Cheers & Toasts

    Following the first dance, while everyone's attention is still on you (anyway, We hope nobody got hammered.), you should take a moment to thank everyone for coming to your wedding. Depending on their respective religions, the families may exchange blessings, usually spoken by a parent of the bride. Following this, the bride's parents will give a toast to thank guests for coming and welcome them to eat and celebrate with the newlyweds. Toasts from the best man and maid of honour should be offered between courses to keep guests engaged and spread out the high-energy, must-see moments.

    It is convenient to go over the toasts while your guests are still seated and eating. Best Man and Maid of Honour toasts should be given first, followed by any other guests who have been invited to do so. Before the reception gets started, the bride and groom should take a moment to thank their guests for sharing in their special day.

    Family Dances

    The mother-son and father-daughter dances are a wonderful way to kick off the dancing section of your reception. When it's time for the final family dance, have the DJ gather everyone on the dance floor for a memorable group shot. This encourages everyone to leave their seats and join the party on the dance floor before the music even starts playing.

    When the father or fathers of the bride dance with the bride, they are referred to as the Father Bride Dance or Father & Daughter's Dance. If the bride has more than one father, she can ask each one to dance by tapping them on the shoulder throughout the song. An alternative to a biological father is a father figure. Someone as simple as your sibling could do something sweet.

    The dance performed by the groom and his mother or mothers is called the Mother & Groom's dance. If the groom has more than one mother, he might ask to dance with each by tapping the other on the shoulder throughout the song. When one does not have a biological mother, a mother figure or a sister can step in.

    Special Dances

    You, like a lot of others, probably have a few songs that mean a lot to you. After the formal dances, you can have the band play them if you choose. One request could be for the band to play "Angels Among Us" by Alabama in memory of a loved one who recently died away.

    The Cake's Cutting

    The newlyweds traditionally share a slice of cake after the ceremony. At some events, the flower girls are in charge of distributing cake to the guests. After cutting the cake, the party typically keeps going for a little while longer with more mingling and dancing.

    Your wait staff should begin setting up coffee and dessert tables about an hour before the reception ends, when the celebration begins to grow raucous. Don't cut the cake too soon, as this customarily implies to guests that it's appropriate to leave shortly thereafter, and the party could wind down before you're ready to call it a night.

    The best time to serve cake at a wedding reception is around an hour before it ends, when guests are likely to be hungry and beginning to tire out on the dance floor.

    Bouquet And Garter Toss

    The bride traditionally tosses her bouquet (or an equivalent) to the single women in attendance, symbolising the union of the couple. The groom then removes the garter from the bride's leg, and tosses it to all the unmarried men in attendance, while the bride sits on a chair in the middle of the dance floor. Traditionally, the next to get engaged are the man and woman who catch the garter and bouquet.

    These are common at weddings, but their deeper connotations can be a little spooky if you stop to consider them (more on that later). Choose wisely or create your own rituals; more on this in the Fun section.

    The bouquet and garter throw, if you plan to have one at your reception, can come after guests have had some opportunity to let loose on the dance floor. These events have a long history of customs and rituals. Remember that you don't have to do them if you don't want to. If they don't fit the tone of your celebration, you can easily exclude them. If you do decide to toss the bouquet, it's important to pick the right bouquet toss song and request a "tossing fragrance" from the florist so you can save the real one as a memento.

    Keep The Party Going

    When the sugar rush from dessert starts to set in, it's time to keep the party going with some more dancing. On the wedding reception schedule, the last dance set will fall right after the nighttime photo shoot. You should inform your visitors that this is the closing song of the night by having the DJ make an announcement. Pick a lively, radio-friendly smash that will have everyone on the dance floor and ready to call it a night.

    Do not forget that the guests will not begin dancing until you do. After the first dance, it's up to the newlyweds, their attendants, and the groomsmen to get the dance floor going. Encourage everyone at your wedding to join you on the dance floor as soon as the first song begins. We should be able to persuade them without too much trouble.


    The wedding reception is the focal point of the celebration. Keeping to a rigid plan will ensure a fantastic evening for you and your guests. Here is a sample schedule for a wedding reception, along with some helpful hints for getting the party started. The following are some examples of potential reception timetables. You should inform the caterer, photographer, and performers of the schedule once it has been finalised.

    Everything will run smoothly if the chief bridesmaid, best man, and wedding party all work together. At the reception location, where your guests will congregate, they will be offered cocktails. Before the main reception begins, the cocktail hour is a wonderful time for your guests to relax and mingle while enjoying hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Immediately after the ceremony, while the guests are still mingling, is a fantastic time to take formal family photographs and a couples session. The best man is introduced after a toast from the master of ceremonies.

    The newlyweds should start their first dance at this moment. Invite your parents to the dance floor for a special parent dance if you and your partner are among those people. Dinner is provided, and it may be a formal affair or a simple meal with the family. Wines and champagnes for toasting are often placed on each table for the duration of the remarks. The tradition of the groom footing the cost for the open bar at the reception is becoming more and more widespread.

    To get the dancing portion of your reception started off right, have the mother-son and father-daughter dances. Each guest who has been invited to deliver a toast should do so once the Best Man and Maid of Honor have done so. Have the DJ call everyone out for one last dance as a family and snap some pictures of them together. When guests are hungry and starting to get tired on the dance floor, which is often an hour before the celebration closes, that's the optimum time to serve the cake. The bride traditionally throws flowers or a token of similar value to the unattached female guests.

    After the guests have had a chance to get their dance on, then it's appropriate to do the bouquet and garter toss. Choose an appropriate bouquet throwing tune and ask the flower shop for some "tossing fragrance." The bride and groom, along with their attendants and best men, are responsible for getting the party rocking again after the first dance.

    Content Summary

    1. For the most part, it's the responsibility of the wedding coordinator, emcee, or venue manager to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
    2. You'll find below a comprehensive breakdown of what will happen after the ceremony, broken down into the customary cocktail hour (lasting an hour) and reception (lasting four hours).
    3. The wedding reception is the focal point of the celebration.
    4. You'll find a sample timeline for a wedding reception here, along with some helpful pointers for getting the party started.
    5. Having a well-planned agenda is crucial for running a smooth party.
    6. Quite a few people have arrived at the reception early.
    7. At the reception location, where your guests will congregate, they will be offered cocktails.
    8. Cocktails will be served at the beginning of your reception, which will last for at least an hour.
    9. Even if the bride and groom can't make it to the cocktail hour, it's still a fantastic time for guests to mingle and have some light refreshments before the main celebration begins.
    10. The amount of formal shots you want to take can be entered into the timetable to help you determine how long your cocktail hour should be.
    11. Before the celebrations begin, the wedding planner and the DJ/MC will seat all of your guests in the reception area.
    12. It's customary for members of the wedding party and other close relatives to enter the reception hall first, in order to get the party started and the guests excited for the bride and groom's big arrival.
    13. Following the conclusion of the pre-ceremony activities, the best man will be asked to give a toast to the bride and groom on behalf of the master of ceremonies (MC).
    14. At long last, it's time for the groom's speech.
    15. To set the mood for your first dance, we highly recommend the following songs.
    16. In preparation for their first dance as husband and wife, the couple has finally arrived.
    17. An appetiser, main course, and dessert make up the traditional course structure of a dinner.
    18. Guests will be seated to music that is both enjoyable and suitable for conversation when a band or DJ takes the stage.
    19. If you're having a buffet, your planner, DJ, or conductor will keep everyone in order by announcing when each table should advance.
    20. This is the time to mix and mingle with guests if you didn't do so earlier in the wedding reception's programme.
    21. It's important to express gratitude to those who made the trip to your wedding.
    22. Each guest who has been invited to deliver a toast should do so once the Best Man and Maid of Honor have done so.
    23. Have the DJ call everyone out for one last dance as a family and snap some pictures of them together.
    24. A father figure can fill the role of a biological parent.
    25. Traditional Dances
    26. If you'd like, the band can play them after the formal dances are over.
    27. Cutting the CakeThe newlyweds will cut a cake and enjoy a slice together after the ceremony.
    28. Cake at such events is typically handed out by flower girls.
    29. After the cake has been cut, the celebration usually continues with additional socialising and dancing.
    30. At a wedding reception, the optimal time to serve the cake is around an hour before it ends, when guests are likely to be hungry and beginning to tyre out on the dance floor.
    31. The couple who catches the garter and the bouquet at a wedding usually becomes engaged next.
    32. Read up on this topic in the Interesting part of the site for more information, or make up your own rituals if you'd like.
    33. You can wait until your guests have had a chance to let loose on the dance floor before doing the bouquet and garter throw, if you choose to do one.
    34. Visitors should be informed that this is the last song of the night by having the DJ make an announcement.
    35. After the first dance, the bride and groom, along with their attendants and best men, are responsible for getting the party started on the dance floor.
    36. Get everyone at the wedding on the dance floor as soon as the first song starts playing.

    FAQs About Wedding Reception

    Typically, the newlywed couple are the first to leave the reception. Guests often join together to form a tunnel with their hands through which the couple may exit the room.

    As an exit song plays, the bride and groom leave from their seats and file through the living tunnel, thanking guests along the way.

    Usually, the order of wedding reception speeches goes as follows: The best man goes first, followed by the maid of honour, and parents of either spouse (traditionally, this spot is reserved for the father of the bride, but any parent/host can speak).

    When planning an unforgettable wedding, you will need to think about the reception hall, your dress, the music, photography, etc., but what might surprise you is that the most important element that contributes to the success of a wedding reception is actually the food!

    The cocktail hour is an opportunity to further personalise the decor, drinks, food, and other elements of your wedding celebration. During the cocktail hour, you can showcase your family history, your personality as a couple, or your culture or ethnicity.

    Most wedding receptions are made in the evening for dinner; however, the couple may opt for a luncheon, brunch, or even afternoon tea. Ultimately the married couple chooses the details and location of the reception.

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