Wedding Reception Time Line

March 26, 2019
wedding reception

Here’s Your Wedding Reception Timeline

While the one purpose of your wedding reception may be to do nonstop party all night long without any care, just like your celebration, you’re going to need a little bit of structure to make everything go smoothly. If you are confused about where to place your first wedding dance or when to schedule dinner, use these tips for your wedding reception timeline. Needless to say, you don’t have to follow this order, but it will surely help you figure out how to break things down.

Here is your wedding reception timeline.

Cocktail Hour

The cocktail hour is where the celebration begins. Your inmates will have the occasion to mix and mingle, getting on a first name basis before they begin competing in dance-offs after dinner. Try not to serve very boozy drinks at this point; there will be plenty of time for that after you complete your toasts and meals.

Wedding Party/Newlywed Introductions

Ready for your grand entry? First, your wedding party will shake and shimmy into the hall, usually starting with the best man and maid of the hour. Once everybody has made their ways inside, the newlyweds will make their way in.

Source: Ariana Tennyson Photography

First Dance

Now is the time in your wedding reception timeline you have been waiting for since long, your first wedding dance. You have found the perfect song, and you have been learning your dance steps for literally months, but now is the time to put all of them to the test. The fundamental rules here are: never stress, trust your feet and enjoy yourself dancing. Prepare to hear some “awww”s come out of the guests because it is bound to be absolutely adorable.

Source: Ariana Tennyson Photography

Welcome Speech/Toast

Once you have finished swirling around the dance floor with your new mate, you may need to give your guests a quick thank you. This doesn’t require a long speech, just a few mere words to confer your gratitude. Seldom the parents will get in on the action, mainly if they are also appearing as hosts.


Now it is time for your guests to fuel up some energy for the party ahead. If you want them being there until the crack of dawn they’re going to need some food, so don’t be skimpy when it comes to ordering food. Keep this in mind; there are loads of ways to serve up your meals, so get familiarized with the catering techniques and find one that gratifies the vibe of your big day.

Toasts (During Dinner)

During dinner, a few of your marriages MVPs will take the mic to display you some love with a toast. The first speech is typically by the best man, accompanied by the maid of honor and seldom the parents. Don’t forget to keep extra tissues, a few of these are sure to get the waterworks running.

Source: Ariana Tennyson Photography

Father-Daughter Dance/Mother-Son Dance

Yes, you will plausibly want to spend the majority of the evening with your new mate. However, you will need to push yourself away from them for at least some moments to rock the dance floor with your dear parents. You can either merge the two dances with a single song or give each their own time. It is your wedding; you are to make the rules.

Party Time

Here is where the party actually begins. It is the time to get all your inmates moving, shaking, and having fun. You will want everybody from your baby nephew to your grandmother showing off the finest dance moves – even if that implies channeling Elaine Benes – so be sure you make a playlist that traverses genres and generations.

This is also when you’ll schedule any fun and games like the shoe game, money dance or any other entertainment you have ever planned. As this portion of the evening advances, you may also need to serve some late-night snacks.

Source: Ariana Tennyson Photography

Cake Cutting

Time for the delicious part of your wedding reception timeline. You and your S.O. will slice open your sumptuous cake and stuff it in each other’s faces – the perfect photo. Remember to keep your hands off the top tier if you intend preserving it for your first wedding anniversary.

Bouquet Toss/Garter Toss

The wreath and tie toss go hand in hand. Typically the bride is supposed to toss her bouquet to the waiting girls before the groom does the same with the tie for the lads. These age-old customs need some ultra sexy background music, so have something like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” for the former and JT’s “SexyBack” for the latter.

Source: Ariana Tennyson Photography

Last Call

Everybody’s least favorite words when they are having a good time are “the last call!”, So be sure all your inmates have enough time to get to the bar before your mixologist begins packing up the wine and drinks. Require for your emcee to announce when the last call is an hour out so that everybody can order their last drinks.

Last Dance

Ah, the last hurrah of your wedding reception day. You will want to make it the best one, so do not forget to pick a karaoke-worthy jam that will get all of your dancing buddies out of their places and right onto the dance floor. Your wedding deserves to go out with a bang, so do not let it die out to a mellow track.

Source: Ariana Tennyson Photography


Once all of your inmates have cleared out, the hall staff will start to remove your centerpieces, undress your tables and pack away the leftover of your wedding cake (sad I know). If you want to keep anything – say, floral arrangements or food – ensure that those in charge of the breakdown process know that it is not up for clutches.

It is a good idea to give this responsibility a trustworthy member of your family with assuring everything will be in the right place and tipping any additional helpful vendors. The newlyweds should be long gone by the time breakdown starts, not helping stack dishes and folding chairs.

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