Your wedding reception itinerary doesn’t have to be planned down to the minute but you should have a good idea of what you would like to happen and when, so that your reception goes as smoothly as possible and your time is maximized and optimized as much as possible.
Having a wedding reception itinerary in place will also ensure you don’t forget any activities or traditions you want to include.
Below are two wedding reception itineraries, one broken down by the hour and the other by grouped sections.
Sample Wedding Reception Itinerary -
5 Hour Reception
Hour 1 - Cocktail hour will begin immediately after the ceremony while the bride and groom are taking pictures. During this time appetizers and drinks are served. Often there is entertainment during this time such as a band or DJ.
Hour 2 - Bride and Groom make their official entrance and have their first dance. Some people choose to have the DJ announce the whole wedding party. Dinner is served or the buffet is opened up. Background music is played at a low level to people can converse. Speeches and toasts can take place towards the end of dinner. (Although I’ve been to several weddings where they took place immediately before the cake cutting).
Hour 3 - The bride and groom should be the first ones back to the dance floor to let everyone know it’s time to par.tay. The father/daughter, mother/son dance also take place during this time. Mingling and merriment commence!
Hour 4 - Cut that cake or dive into your cupcakes – Mmmmmmm! More mingling and merriment.
Hour 4.5 - The bouquet and garter toss if you’re having one.
Hour 4.75 - The last dance (OMG it’s almost over!)
Hour 4.90 - Say your goodbyes and thank your guests for coming andsharing in your magical day! See you at the after party!
Your guests being celebrating with libations and appetizers while you and your honey (and wedding party) take pics.
You and your new husband enter, upon announcement by the DJ or band leader or other appointed person. Sometimes the entire wedding party is announced as well.
May I Have This Dance?
Immediately after the announcement you can head straight to the dance floor for your first dance as husband and wife.
The courses start to be served or the food stations or buffet is opened up.
Here’s To You
Speeches and toasts are made towards the end of dinner. Usually the best man starts things off followed by the maid or matron of honor.
Get Down Like James Brown
The dance floor shenanigans commence usually started off by the father/daughter and mother/son dance.
Calling All Sweet Tooths
Time to cut the cake. Or the cupcakes. Or the pies. Or whatever else you’ve chosen for your this part of the reception. Some wedding have speeches and toasts immediately before the cake cutting.
To Toss or not to Toss
Tradition says at this time the bouquet will be tossed, and then the garter. Some brides are eliminating these wedding activities and instead giving thebouquet away to the couple there that has been married the longest. Your single, older sister thanks you! The garter toss is also being phased out, for reasons only known to the grooms out there I suppose.
Also at this time the “dollar dance” usually takes place, but I cannot tell you how unbelievably tacky this ritual is and thankfully it seems to have been left in the 90′s where it belongs.
This is the time where you say goodbye to all your guests, thank them for coming and tell them where the after party is!