Lifestyle Magazine

9 Expert Tips To Creating A Traditional Wedding Reception Timeline

By Olga

Congratulations! Viva the newlyweds! The triumph of the ceremony is over, now you and your guests deserve a great and fabulous party and some tasty refreshments. But, when it comes to planning wedding reception timeline, you may face more difficulties than you’ve expected. Thus, we have prepared for you some tips which may come in handy while organizing your wedding reception itinerary.
Also, check our infographic about wedding day timeline:

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What Is Wedding Reception?

Wedding reception is an event that we can call a “wedding party”. It goes right after the wedding ceremony as a part of gaiety and celebration. Traditional wedding reception timeline includes different parts, like cocktails, toasts, dancing and so on and so forth. Young couples prefer organizing this party to make their wedding memorable, to have lots of fun and what is the most important, to celebrate their newborn union. And watching funny photos from wedding reception dances is a perfect entertainment while on holidays! The caliber, the style, the order of wedding reception may vary according to your plans and desires. Planning the wedding reception timeline is a key point of a wedding checklist for bride.

How To Make Up A Perfect Wedding Reception Schedule?

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There aren’t any standards for the perfect wedding reception schedule. Its “ideality” ranks depending on whether you like it or not. Surely, you should use some advice and tips. However, always keep in mind that this is your day and it must be perfect for you and your husband only. If you have an opportunity and you are keen on planning, you are absolutely able to plan your reception timeline from scratch. In this case, it would be genuine, creative and your very own. You may also find a lot of ready templates on the Internet. And there’s no reason to neglect them! Use everything that may be useful.

But be careful, for some couples and for certain weddings they aren’t suitable, or they can contain some parts that you don’t want to have. The best what you can do is to make a mix and create your own wedding schedule of events.

To sum up, here are our tips for a perfect reception:

  • define what you want from this event;
  • set the time, the venue, number of people, etc.;
  • choose ready templates consciously and with creativity;
  • extract any part that is not appropriate for you.

Two Wedding Camps

Nowadays both civil and Christian weddings are popular. Still, each of the options has its own peculiarities and features.  According to the general definition, a civil marriage is performed and recognized by a law. Basically, it’s a civil contract between a man and a woman who sign it and get marriage licenses after. On the other hand, a religious wedding is solemnized by a Christian official and church. Historians claim, that marriage as a custom appeared far beyond any religion. Speaking about wedding reception itinerary, these two wedding types also differ.

Religious Wedding Reception Outline

After the solemn wedding ceremony,people probably won’t fancy any noisy and crazy party.  In most cases, reception timeline is a quite short event. It offers a cocktail section, a dinner, the first dance of bride and groom, toasts and sometimes family dances. Of course, everything is optional, but, let’s face the truth – there isn’t any wedding without a cake. After cutting the cake, the newlyweds and their families usually have a photo shot. Religious wedding reception program seldom contains anecdotes section, a lot of alcohol and any of embarrassing moments. Pay attention to it while working on your wedding checklist timeline

Civil Wedding Reception Timeline

Civil reception may have the same wedding order of events like in traditional wedding reception. However, it is more “sensational”.  The start time of the party varies, of course.If you wonder how long should a wedding reception be, then it usually lasts till the dawn and is the brightest part of a wedding timeline! It doesn’t really matter that you should organize a crazy party with loud music, lots of alcohol and so on. But still, comparing with the religious one, the order of reception activities at civil wedding probably will be more jovial.

Your Rational Order Of Wedding Reception Events

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Here is one of the most common and rational program we’ve completed for your own benefit. Use it as a base, eliminate something you don’t like, add options, which you’d like to include to your wedding day.

Cocktails for Everybody| 1 h

Cocktails part starts an hour before the seated dinner. During the cocktail hour, the guests can relax, mingle, socialize, have some hors-d’oeuvres. This part of traditional wedding timeline is a nice chance for a couple to take wedding photos, while guests are busy with their drinks. Use this time to renew your look and have some rest before the great party. Sometimes the bride and groom leave the ceremony to a photoshoot in parks or different sights. In this case, your guests will be enjoying cocktails at the venue and be waiting for you.

Guests Seating| 5-10 min

After a cocktail refreshment, according to the order of wedding reception, you should ask your DJ or wedding coordinator to invite guests to their places.  Now they are ready for the party to begin.  Having found their seats, an emcee introduces parents and wedding guests. Sometimes bride’s father handles this.

Finally, there must be an announcement of your arrival.

Here Come the Bride and Groom| 5 min

Okey-dokey, the photos are ready, now let’s go back to the wedding site. All the guests are looking forward to your entrance to announce you for the first time Husband and Wife.  So, next time they will ask you “What’s your name?”, be sure you know the difference between ms and mrs.

Let’s Dance First| 10 min

After your entrance, everybody will applause and cheer but then, be ready for the most romantic dance in your life – the First Dance. All the eyes will be on you and your husband. It’s a high time to a grand performance. If you’ve practiced your first dance, refresh it mind while commuting to the venue. If no –   just waltz slowly. Try to relax, don’t cram your head with any issues and worries, like how to change your last name.  Anyway, that’s the remarkable moment for a happy couple.

Dinner Is Served| 30 min

Well, it’s easy to predict, that at this very moment everybody will be simply starving. So, when the dinner is served, it’s the chance to fortify yourself. One of handy wedding reception ideas – to grab something quickly and use this time to greet guests. In this case, wander round the tables and swim in your friends’ congratulations, blessings, and wishes. Be very careful with taking photos at this stage. There are plenty of funny and embarrassing situations with eating people in the background.

 Toasting and Speeches| 45 min

While the guests are having the main course, it’s a good time to diversify eating with toasts. In traditional wedding reception timeline, the first speeches are for the Best Man and the Maid of Honor.  Keep in mind, it’s either very emotional part or very funny. So, organize toasts not one by one, but one toast in 10-15 minutes. Warn people in advance about this section, as many people feel absolutely lost and frustrated when they get a microphone. Give them a chance to prepare a beautiful speech. Check out also these wedding gift registry ideas.

Dance Floor |45 min

Okay, now it’s time to move a bit. Time to wedding reception dances!  You can start witha family dance of father and daughter or mother and son. Then the partybegins! Invite all of your guests to wedding reception dances! Choose the playlist carefully, make it fun, bright, but still moving and memorable. Play several old songs for parents and older guests. Google for some typical wedding songs, which will add romance and bright feel to your wedding party.  Feel happy, feel free, enjoy this moment, because this is your day!

Cutting the Cake| 15 min

While you are dancing, your wedding stuff should lay the table for you to be ready for cutting the wedding cake. This part of wedding reception timeline hints that it is almost the end of the party.  Usually, the cake part comes one hour before the party comes to the end. Traditionally, the emcee announces the ceremony of cutting the cake, bride and groom take several photos near their wedding dessert and then take first pieces of it. Then,the guests may taste it. While people enjoy their dessert, ask your DJ to play calm and peaceful music. Some couples use this part of reception timeline to thank their family and friends for coming.  Tip: don’t plan this part for too late. Some elderly guests may get tired, but no one wants to miss the cake.

Freeze the Moment with Photos | 20 min

This section is not obligatory. It’s very appropriate if this part happens to be at night or late evening. You can have an amazing night photo shoot with your husband, family, and friends. If you do want to have it, then you should think in advance about set and decorations for these photos. Don’t forget to plan this in your wedding schedule of events and to arrange this with your photographer. Or he may go away a bit earlier!

Party Goes On| 30 min

To say goodbye right after the wedding cake wouldn’t be very polite. Moreover, people after the delicious dessert are full of energy and want to dance yet. Let’s plan this in your reception timeline, so your wedding party will have a bright and memorable end. Actually, it’s not really the end…Before the last dance, you will foretell someone’s future by tossing the bouquet!

Last Call | 15 min

You opened the party with the First Dance and your duty is to finish it with the Last one. Your DJ or emcee will make an announcement to gather your guests around the dance floor. This dance will leave the last impression of the party. In different wedding reception timelines, the bride tosses her bouquet before the last dance. Although, it occurs quite often that tossing the bouquet is the very last point of the party. After that, your guests accompany you to the car. Make your grand exit colorful with bobbles, ribbons or rose petals. The great story is ahead…

When To Toss Your Bouquet And Garter

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These days, the tradition of tossing bride’s things tends to fade. Modern couples don’t really understand these ancient rituals. The custom itself is nice, the bride’s accessories shall bring luck and love to one who catches it. So, if you decided to follow this customit’s suitable to toss your bouquet and/or garter before the last dance.

Tips and Hints

  1. Understand what you want

That’s like lines from the old song, but slightly changed – you CAN always get what you want. So, the first step to a successful wedding reception is to understand what you really want.

  1. Don’t be afraid of being creative!

If you’ve googled a lot and you didn’t find a…horse-riding section at your wedding, don’t skip it! Find this service provider and ride if you do want this.

  1. Plan in advance

To plan a wedding reception timeline, to organize a party is not an easy and quick process. Therefore, don’t postpone until the last moment. Use our planning scheme and you’re free to modify it as you wish.

  1. Choose the playlist carefully

It’s very seldom that all the guests are almost of the same age. Mind your parents, grandparents and other relatives who probably won’t enjoy techno music. Make dancing fun for them as well.

  1.  Let yourself to have enough time

A lot of couples in order to save money make their parties very short. In this case, you might be very tense and you’ll need to keep an eye on the clock all the time. So, either make it longer, or exclude some parts of a wedding reception timeline, but be free and relaxed.

  1. Enjoy!

That’s exactly what you must! Do everything to make it joyful, memorable and happy time! Do not let anything trouble you.

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All in all, planning a wedding reception timeline needs a lot of time and effort, but we hope with our hints and tips it’ll be like a piece of cake for you. The very best luck to you!

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