Post # 1
Hey all! Can you help me clear up some things? Here is the deal: We are having our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception on the same property, and are planning for about 250-300 guests.
1. Should we have a receiving line? If so, when should this occur?
2. When should we do our first dance? Immediately upon entering the reception, or can we wait until after dinner? If we don’t do it right away, what do we do when we enter the reception for the first time (i.e., do we just sit down?)?
3. When should we do the cake cutting?
Why am I so clueless? Good question! I have never paid attention to the order of events at others’ weddings, and now I have no idea what plan for our wedding! It would be super helpful if you laid out the order of these "events" at your own wedding and reception (and also, if you don’t mind, why you decided to do it that way).
Post # 3
I should start by saying you can do or not do any of these things whenever you feel like it. That said. Here’s what we did when we had our ceremony, cocktail hour and reception at the same place:
After the ceremony, we did pictures immediately and had the cocktail hour start immediately (our ceremony was outside and the reception was in a tent 100 feet away from where the ceremony was; the cocktail hour was held outside the reception ten) We didn’t do a receiving line, only because of the time factor and we didn’t want it to interfere with how much time we had for pictures. That is totally a personal choice so go with what is right fo ryou.
When the cocktail hour was over, we all gathered around the clam-bake reveal (which i realize you probably don’t have, but I’m throwing it in there anyway so you can see that there really are no rules here). The clam-bake was explained to all of our guests and then revealed. Then everyone but the bridal party went into the tent for the reception and sat down.
Once all were seated (and this was facilitated by the band leader) the bridal party was introduced and they headed to their seats. Then, my husband and I were introduced and we went right into our first dance.
Then we had toasts, a prayer, and started serving dinner. About 1/2 way through serving dinner, we did the other dances…father/daughter, mother/son. Then when it was time for dessert, we cut the cake.
Pacing it like this kept the evening moving, but also helped keep it from feeling rushed. If you plan on hiring a day-of-event coordinator, they will certainly be able to help you with this. If not, you need to assign someone to work with the DJ or band leader to organize this so that it doesn’t end up jumbled and confusinig.
Post # 4
PS – we went around to tables and said ‘hi’ to everyone instead of the receiving line. If you build more time into your cocktail hour, you can do a receiving line and still have time to do your pics, if not, I would suggest table visits. It will take away from your time eating or dancing, but you won’t sacrifice your picture time.
Post # 5
May be a bit unconventional but we completely skipped the receiving line and just went visiting the tables and was so much fun. Had a bit more time to really talk to our guests. Also gets you out of having to hug everyone as well.
We cut the cake right away but just so that we could eat it. Why save it for last?
For my daughters wedding later this year we are serving non alcholic drinks before the ceremony and having a buffet meal right after. She is going pretty non traditional in her desires for the sequence of the day and I say "Why not" Let the whole day reflect who you are.
Post # 6
Mrs. Corn I def love the way you had your wedding day planned out and I think I will take this timeline for my fiance and myself if you dont mind! It just sounds well planned and simple. ANd I def love the idea of visiting each table. I def don’t want to see him before the wedding so we are also planning to have pics taken during cocktail hour. And can do pics with just the bridal party and mom and dad before the wedding. And then with his family after the ceremony. GOSH the more and more I talk about it…the more excited I get!!
Post # 7
PS… def pick a style that works for you and your day…
Post # 8
Other than the music, I think the timeline is the hardest part (for me, at least) of the entire planning process – esp since I also have to take into consideration how long my photographer will be there!
I’ve heard of it being done all kinds of ways – grand entrance followed by first dance & cake cutting if you’re going for a very condensed timeline, or you can draw it out as long as you want to.
Post # 9
You should definately do things however you want, but just to let you know I’ve heard that traditionally the cake cutting signals that guests are allowed to leave so you may want to consider that. At a wedding I went to recently they cut the cake kinda early and the bride was really disappointed when people started to leave earlier than she had expected.
Post # 10
I went to a wedding where the bride and groom didn’t want to pay the photographer to stay throughout the night at the reception.
So they were presented at the reception as the new husband and wife, they walked into the hall. They did their first dance right off the bat, followed by speeches, and then they had their cake cutting… I was starving for dinner at this point and was wondering why everything was being rushed (mind you ALL the guests were sitting at their assigned dinner tables!) And then after the cake cutting, the photog left (after capturing all the shots of the cake cutting/speeches/first dances), AND THEN we all got to go to the buffet style stations and served ourselves dinner. It was quite odd till we found out why everything went in the order it had.
I also went to a wedding where there were two hundred people. Instead of a receiving line they did a prom kind of thing where you stand in line to take a pic with the bride and groom with a little back drop… After the reception, the bride and groom went back to the back drop, and continued taking pics with the remainder of their guests- in lieu of a receiving line.
I think it’s safe to say- you can do whatever order you want!
Post # 11
Talk to your vendors, too! I had NO idea what order things were supposed to go in either, but meeting with our DJ was a huge help–they’re used to orchestrating things and should have some good ideas about how to make things flow.