Reception Timeline – “So how is the day going to look?”
Written by Marie G.
I am often asked by our brides to explain what happens during a typical wedding reception. So, in this blog I am going to map out what your wedding reception could look like. Keep in mind that this is only a template, and the details of your wedding may vary!
A typical wedding reception, not including cocktail hour, is four hours long. Approximately five minutes before the reception is scheduled to start, a representative of the wedding venue will invite your guests to be seated in the main dining room. While the guests are getting settled at their tables, the band is playing instrumental background music, and the maître d’ at the venue will gather the bride, groom, bridal party and parents to prepare for the introductions. This is the point at which I become involved: for example, I will go over the order of the introductions with the entire bridal party to make sure I have the correct order and pronunciations. Any last minute instructions that the bride and groom may have for me are also discussed at this time. I will then ensure that the band and the maître d’ know exactly what to do once you are introduced.
Introducing Mr. and Mrs.…… Once you are introduced as a married couple (and the crowd goes wild!), you will have your first dance. Some couples like to dance solo; others prefer the bridal party and guests to join in. When your dance is complete, I will invite everyone to sit down, and then introduce whomever you have designated to say a blessing (if applicable). After the blessing I will introduce the person(s) you have designated to give the toast(s) and/or speeches. For the blessing and toasts we use our wireless microphone, which enables the speaker to stand close to the head table. As such, the photographer and videographer can get great shots of your reaction to their words. I will be standing off to the side to avoid dropping a photo-bomb!
After the toasts your caterer will serve the first course. The band will play lighter music while people are eating, and then we’ll step it up a bit to get people dancing once they are finished with their first course. This is the pattern with all appetizer courses until the main entree is served, at which point we will play a couple of light selections and then take our first break for dinner. While the band is eating there will be music playing through our sound system from our iPod. Once your guests have finished the main course the band returns and starts playing dance music. This is the best time to cut your cake, even if it isn’t served right away, and have the bride/father dance as well as the groom/mother dance. If you decide to have a bouquet and/or garter toss ceremony, this is also a great time to do that. I will ensure that the photographer, videographer and venue’s maître d’ are ready for these ceremonies.
There is often a concern that there are too many formalities in a row, but no worries, it goes by very fast! This is also the best way to ensure all necessary parties are present, and you aren’t wasting precious reception time looking for someone! Now it is DANCE TIME! The band will play for approximately another hour, then take a short break. During this break we will put on some current dance music to keep your guests on the dance floor. After that second and final break, we continue to play until the very last minute of your reception. We generally play one last slow song and feature the bride and groom on the dance floor again, then keep you rockin’ until the end.
Happily ever after! This is a “typical” wedding reception timeline, and I hope it helps to clarify a few things that may be of concern. Note that we’re very flexible and accommodating, so if you have a different vision than what I described – we can do that too! Let’s talk!