Tap to Read ➤

Wedding Reception Timeline

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Feb 6, 2019
A wedding reception timeline serves as a guide to ensure the events take place in an orderly fashion without losing track of time. Here's a general idea of the proceedings that ideally take place, one activity at a time.
Planning a wedding reception based on a timeline is very crucial for hosting a fabulous party. A timeline helps you decide a systematic manner in which the various events would follow at the party.
Printing the schedule on the invitations you give to your guests, will give them a fair idea about how the evening will unfold. The hosts are aware about their roles during the reception and any last minute confusions are avoided.
Everyone knows when the food will be served, when the best man will raise his toast, when will the cake be cut, etc.


Cocktail Time- 5.00 pm: It's time for the newly weds to click their wedding photographs after they say, "I Do". The guests follow the couple towards the reception area for cocktails. The reception starts with the serving of cocktails and appetizers.
It usually lasts for about an hour and is used as a time to mingle with the other guests. Before leaving the venue, the couple and their parents along with the bridal party, line up for the customary greetings with the guests.
Grand Arrival & First Dance - 6.00 pm: The coordinator makes sure the guests are seated and then announces the arrival of the newly weds. The parents of the bride and groom are introduced, followed by the announcement of the couple as 'Mr & Mrs.' for the first time.
The newly weds make a grand entrance. This is the perfect time to step on the floor for your first dance. The father-daughter and mother-son dance can be kept on hold until after the meal.
Welcomes and First Toast - 6.20 pm: After the first dance, with all eyes still set on the couple, it's the right time for the father of the bride to give the welcome speech and thank the guests for gracing the occasion with their presence.
Then, someone from the family can raise a toast and give their blessings. The toasts will be given by the best man and the maid of honor between the courses. This helps maintain the emotion quotient and keep everyone stable.
Serving the First Course - 6.45 pm: If you are having a seated meal, then advise the band to play subdued music, so that it won't disturb the guests during conversations. The bride and groom can also sit and eat their food at this time.
Time to Groove - 7.30 pm: The DJ invites the couple on the floor. The couple should dance on one entire song. The DJ may also invite the bridal party during the second half of the song.
Extra activities like throwing the bouquet, centerpiece giveaways, and any other activity you would like to include can be done during the jamming session. The guests can then join in the dance.
Cutting the Cake- 8.15 pm: Cutting the cake signals the guests that it is now OK to leave the party. Therefore, plan this ceremony about an hour before the conclusion of the reception. The catering staff can serve the cake with coffee and/or champagne at the tables.
Newly Weds Thank You Speech- 8.30 pm: It is a very nice gesture, if the newly weds thank the parents and their guests.
Last dance- 8.40 pm: The father-daughter and mother-son dance followed by all the guests on the dance floor will end the reception on a high note. Choose a festive and fast number to get everyone grooving and twisting.
Final Farewell- 9.55 pm: The coordinator should usher everyone on the foyer or the steps outdoors and the couple makes a grand exit from the reception. Friends and family can throw confetti, blow bubbles, rose petals, and light sparklers and cheer the couple for a successful future together.
The timeline can be changed according to your convenience. It is always better to have a wedding reception timeline and schedule planned, as it will keep you in a relaxed mood. It will help you fit in everything and won't make anyone feel left out.