To ensure that your loved ones never have to do the same at your wedding reception, here is a sample wedding reception timeline that will give you a rough guide you can modify based on your own needs and wants.
First Hour of Reception
- 5:00 Wedding guests arrive. Cocktail hour begins. Waiters may serve trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvres to guests.
- 5:15 Bride and groom arrive. Photographs may or may not be taken at this time. If not, bride and groom may mingle with guests or retire to a private bridal chamber for some quiet time.
Second Hour of Reception
- 6:00 Wedding party and guests of honor line up to be announced by the emcee or wedding disc jockey.
- 6:05 Wedding DJ makes formal announcements.
- 6:10 Bride and groom's first dance. Caterer begins serving champagne to the tables for the champagne toast.
- 6:20 Cocktail hour ends. Cash bar may begin here. The wedding disc jockey may announce dinner and introduce the wedding officiant if he or she is saying a blessing.
- 6:25 Wedding DJ introduces the best man for his toast.
- 6:30 Dinner is served.
Third Hour of Reception
- 7:00 Bride and groom cut the cake.
- 7:15 Father-daughter dance.
- 7:25 Mother-son dance.
- 7:35 Wedding party dance.
- 7:40 Wedding DJ invites all wedding guests to hit the dance floor.
- 7:45 Wedding cake and coffee are served.
Fourth Hour of Reception
- 8:00 Wedding DJ announces the Bride's bouquet toss.
- 8:15 Garter toss.
- 8:45 Bride and Groom's last dance.
- 9:00 Bride and Groom say goodnight and leave for honeymoon destination or hotel.
- 9:15 Parents of the bride (or other designated persons) gather all the wedding presents and other items (see After the Reception Checklist for more details).