(Closed) Typical Reception Timeline

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 4
1426 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I haven’t set mine, but to the weddings I’ve been to, it hasn’t been in that order. They’ve all been different.

For example, the last one I went to was:

1. Arrival of the guests to drinks/hor devours

2. Arrival of wedding party & announcement of wedding party

3. First dance

4. Bride/father dance

5. Groom/mother dance

6. Bride/FIL and Groom/MIL dance at the same time (this was difficult to watch, as they didn’t seem to want to…)

7. Toasts and speeches

8. Main meal

9. Dancing

10. Bouquet/garter

11. Dancing

12. Cutting of the Cake

13.  More dancing, mainly group dancing and games (like YMCA and stuff like that)

14. Exit of the couple to getaway car


I think it really depends what you want to happen and in what order. I’ve yet to be at a wedding with a receiving line. The bride and groom mingle throughout the night to the tables.

Post # 5
301 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Here’s mine: (any feedback is more than welcome!)

7:30PM Ceremony

8:30 Guests begin finding tables (in the same room as the ceremony), are served drinks, live musicians start playing, etc. (while we’re off taking photos!)

9:00 Entrance of bride & groom

9:05 The Waltz (first dance)

9:15 Toast / Prayer by my Dad

9:30 Dinner is served

10:30 Dancing

11:00 Cake (maybe with toast by FI’s Dad?)

11:30 More Dancing until…

3:00AM Hotel kicks us out 🙁

Note: If times seem super late, it’s cultural and completely the norm. 7:30 is actually slightly earlier than people would like it to start. And 3:00 is super early for it to end, but oh well! Wink

Post # 6
540 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

keep them coming, want to see more.

Post # 7
4336 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Here was mine:

5 pm – guests arrive for cocktail hour)

6 pm – guests seated in hall

6:15 pm – Wedding Party arrives

6:20 pm – dinner, toasts

7 pm dessert, special dances

7:45 pm open dancing

(8 pm photographer leaves)

11 pm bar closes

11:30 or 12 am last dance

Post # 8
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

1pm First look + wedding party/family photos

4pm Ceremony – outdoor gazebo

4:45pm Photos with guests + receiving line

5pm Cocktails – pavilion foyer

6pm Main pavilion opens + seating of guests

6:15pm Entrance of bride and groom + acknowledgment of guests

6:30pm Dinner

8:15pm MOH/Best Man toasts + first dance

9:30pm Cutting of the cake

10:30pm Word of thanks from bride and groom + fireworks display

10:45pm Late night snacks

5pm-12mn Photobooth

8:15pm-12:30am Live band

9:30pm-12mn Open bar

We want to keep the speeches and traditional dances to a minimum.

Post # 9
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Here’s the one our coordinator wrote up, ceremony started at 5, reception 5:30-11.

3:00 PM First Look Pictures

4:00-4:30 PM Bridal Party Pictures

4:15 PM Officiant arrives

4:30 PM Guest arrivals

5:00 PM Wedding Ceremony (Container Garden, facing North)

5:30 PM Guests Directed to Reception (California Courtyard)

5:30-6:30 PM Hors D’oeuvres Passed

5:30-6:30 PM Family Pictures

5:30-9:30 PM Host Bar Open

5:30-7:30 PM Photobooth Open

6:30 PM Guests Directed to Seats

6:45 PM Grand Entrance (Includes bridal party and kids, no parents)

6:55 PM Toasts (Maid of Honor and Best Man)

7:05 PM Bride and Groom Thank You

7:10 PM Buffet Dinner Served

Bride and Groom Visit Tables

8:15 PM Couples First Dance

8:20 PM Mother Son Dance and Mother-Daughter Dance

8:25 PM Cake Cutting

8:30 PM Bouquet and Garter Toss

8:40 PM Money Dance

9:00 PM Open Dancing

11:00 PM Reception Ends

11:00 PM Limo returns Bride and Groom to hotel

Post # 11
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@Miss Mochaccino:  We ate right after our thank you speech.  We had our coordinator actually bring our plates to our sweetheart table (her suggestion, I had never even thought of it) so we didn’t go to the buffet or get caught up talking to guests.  So we ate first, then walked around.  It was really nice going to all the tables, we got a chance to talk to pretty much every guest we had.

Post # 12
336 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012


Well we’re not having a ceremony-just a reception. And we’re not having alcohol so it probably seems pretty dull and not very “party-like” (sacrifices lol)

5:30 PM Guests arrive to Reception

5:45 PM Bride & Groom Grand Entrance

5:50 PM Bride and Groom Thank You

6:00 PM Buffet Dinner Served

Bride and Groom Visit Tables

7:15 PM Couples First Dance

7:20 PM Mother Son Dance and Father-Daughter Dance

Open Dancing

8:30 PM Cake Cutting

8:40 PM Money Dance

9:00 PM Open Dancing

11:00 PM Reception Ends

Post # 13
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2001

saving this

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