Reception – order of dances, etc!?!?

posted 1 year ago in Reception
Post # 2
33 posts
  • Wedding: June 2019 - Eaton, CO

Yesss!!!! I was LITERALLY just about to post the same thing!!!! Me wedding is June 1st and I need a time line , or order of events!!

We are doing:


Cocktail Hour (while we do photos)

then I need to know what happens from there ! I do not have a wedding planner, as I am doing it all my own so I need to have a very structured idea of what order of operations are!

Post # 3
952 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

This is what we’re doing. We are kinda smushing things together because we only have our photographer until 10:30, so we may not be doing things the “normal” order.

8:00 – Entrances

8:10 – First dance

8:15 – Welcome/dinner served

8:30ish (after first course) – speeches

9:30 – Cake cutting

9:40 – Father/daughter & mother/son dance

9:45 – Open dancing

My dad is giving the welcome/thank you to start, and then the Bridesmaid or Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor are each doing a speech as well. I think it’s entirely up to you who does the speeches. If you’re doing a champagne toast, IMO, I’d have whomever’s doing the welcome also do the toast.

Edit: I actually had our cake cutting and dances mixed up. Our DJ recommended cutting the cake before the special dances, because they use the end of the special dances to segway into the “main” dancing, and it could disrupt the flow if we shortly after stopped the dancing in order to cut the cake. 

Post # 4
2245 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

We did similar to above, but we didn’t have a cocktail hour. But since you do, assuming the cocktail hour is from 6-7: 

7:00 Announced in (this will also show that the cocktail hour is ending. Have the emcee get people in their seats a little before this) 

7:05 Welcome speech (my dad did this) 

7:10 Start serving food 

After head table had eaten: MOH/Best Man Speeches

First dances started: Bride groom/ Bride Father/ Groom Mother 

Then dance floor opens! 

We didn’t do a formal cake cutting, but I know they usually do that after you are announced now. 

We did the MOH/BM speeches during dinner so people weren’t bored listening to 3 speeches in a row. 


Post # 5
1945 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

All I know is we are doing the dances before the cake cutting. The cake cutting is traditionally the signal that people can begin to leave (elderly, children, etc.) – so we’re doing it before people begin to leave. 

Likely we are doing the dances while dinner is being served, since there are a bazillion tables and it’ll take a lot of lag time to get everyone served. We are having a sit-down dinner, so tables won’t be getting called and interrupting stuff like you would have at a buffet.

Post # 6
71 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

There is no right or wrong way to do it. Do whatever works for you and your wedding.

My timeline, as an example, is below for this Saturday. No wedding party, cake cutting, toast, bouquet nor garter toss. I do have two Emcees and a day-of wedding coordinator to keep things running smoothly on schedule. 

**immediate family & couple photos earlier in the day**
4pm: Ceremony
4:30pm: Receiving Line into the Cocktail Hour (Couple to do photos around the venue during cocktail hour)
6pm: Couple Entrance into Reception, Couple Welcome and quick thank you speech.
6:15pm: Dinner Buffet
7:30pm: Shoe Game & Parents’ Speeches (Dinner Buffet cleared and Dessert buffet ready to go)
8:00pm: Dessert Buffet
8:30pm: First Dances (Couple, M/S & F/D at the same time), Dance Floor Opens
9:00pm: Photobooth for guests until 11pm
10:00pm: First Shuttle back to Hotel
10:30pm: Late Night Treats
12:00am: Closing Time, Second Shuttle back to Hotel

Post # 7
1494 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

5:30-6:30 cocktail hour

6:30 coursed dinner (Best Man & Maid of Honour before first course, bride parents before second course, groom parents before dessert course)

8:15 cake cutting

8:30 first dance, followed by father-daughter-mother-son dance (we are combining)

Post # 8
18 posts
  • Wedding: September 2019

This is so hard–I’m struggling with the timelines as well, but these are some great examples here! I’ve heard of a couple ways to do it. One, you do the dances right away, as soon as you get into the room (you could even have everyone stand around the dance floor) and you do first dance, F/D and M/S and then everyone sits down and you serve dinner and do toasts. Or you can start with dinner and toasts right away after the entrance and then do the first dance and other dances right after dinner and let that be the start of the dancing for the evening. Or do your own thing!

I know I’m planning on having people give toasts during the first course/between courses, but some people really don’t like talking while people are eating! 

Post # 9
356 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2021 - British Columbia, Canada

We’re doing our first dance, then the father/daughter and mother/son at the same time, then I’m dancing with his dad as he has no daughters and fiance is dancing with my mom. We’re doing shortened versions of songs for these so no one gets bored staring at the dance floor for 20 minutes.

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