The Best Wedding Reception Timeline

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The Best Wedding Reception Timeline

A fun and stress-free wedding reception is a well-planned wedding reception. A step-by-step timetable of events, and an experienced DJ / Event Director to oversee them, will keep your party going.


Create the Best Weddig Reception Timetable

Evening wedding receptions in southeast Michigan typically begin at 6 p.m. and conclude at midnight. Here’s an EXAMPLE:

6 – 7:00 Guests arrive. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served.
7:00 – 7:15 Guests are seated. Bridal Party is introduced into the room. Bride and Groom enjoy their “Grand Entrance”. Cake is cut. Bridal party is seated at head table.
7:15 – 7:30 Toasts are made. Grace is said.
7:30 – 8:40 Dinner is served.
8:40 – 8:59 Dinner is cleared while Bride & Groom pose for photos and visit with guests. Guests are free to stretch, visit restrooms; go outside to smoke, call home, etc. DJ gathers bridal party for the special dances.
8:59 – 9:00 Special introductions (usually grandparents)
9:00 – 9:15 Bridal dances
9:15 – 9:45 Dance & party music
9:45 – 10 Bouquet & garter toss. Anniversary Dance (OPTIONAL)
10:00 – 12 Dance & Party Music

Important Considerations:


Regarding your Reception Hall

If you have invited out-of-town guests, and there is more than an hour between the ceremony and the reception, ask your reception hall what time it will open its doors and if you’ll be charged for asking staff to open early for your visiting guests. Remember to share opening and closing times with your vendors, too.


Bridal Dance Alternative
Occasionally, the bride and groom will choose to do their bridal dance immediately upon being introduced into the hall. This has become fashionable in New York City where, due to time constraints, wedding receptions generally last 3-4 hours. However, in Michigan, where wedding receptions are much longer, it is best for the bride and groom to enjoy their first dance after dinner, thus inviting other guests to join the party immediately following.


Cake Cutting
Michigan brides & grooms have found that the best time to cut their cake is immediately upon walking into the room. If the cake will be served as a dessert course, it should always be cut right away. If cake will be made available on buffet tables for self-service, although not recommended, it can be cut after dinner,


Who Will Give Speeches and Toasts?
Once the Bridal Party is seated at the head table, toasts can begin immediately. Speeches which accompany toasts should be kept between 2-5 minutes. It is VERY IMPORTANT to do all speeches, toasts and grace consecutively. It is very difficult to interrupt your guests table conversations multiple times.


Traditional Order of toasts, speeches & grace:

Father (or mother) of the Bride (IF he/she so desires)
Father (or mother) of the Groom (IF he/she so desires),
Best Man
Maid or Matron of Honor (increasingly popular)
Anyone else who wishes to toast or give a speech (Remember, less is best!)
Bride and Groom (If they want to thank their guests, etc.)
Grace (Always last. Usually said by clergy, parent or grandparent)


Bridal Dances
Avoid the temptation of having too many “formal” dances. If you want to share a special dance with your grandmother, for example, it is best to do it while guests can also dance. Remember, your guests attention will wander if asked to watch the newlyweds dance with everyone special to them.

Order of Dances:
Bride & Groom
Bridal Party (Including parents, flower girls, etc.)
Father – Daughter Dance
Mother – Son Dance
Everybody Dance (All of your guests are invited to join the newlyweds for a slow dance.)

Remember to use the timeline and considerations listed here as examples. Tap into the knowledge of wedding professionals to help guide you toward a timeline that works best for your wedding reception.


Start planning your wedding reception now!

3 Steps to Building the Ultimate Wedding Package


1. Pick Your Wedding Photographer(s)

Whether you want ultra-creative or classic photos, our professional wedding photographers can deliver whatever kind of aesthetic you’re looking for. Each photographer offers their own unique professional approach to wedding photography, and you can pick the right one for you. The photography is just the start of the ultimate wedding package.

2. Pick Your Wedding Videographer(s)

One of the biggest regrets we hear from the over 25,000 couples we have served is that they didn’t get a professional wedding video made. Don’t let that be your regret! Like our photographers, our videographers can create cinematic wedding videos that spotlight your love. Whatever you’re looking for, our videographers will deliver a wedding video that you’ll be able to enjoy for years and share with future generations.

3. Pick Your Wedding DJ & MC

In order to capture photos and videos of the touching, hilarious and memorable moments at your wedding reception, you’re going to need the right music at the right time. The final piece of the ultimate wedding package, our DJs will bring your wedding celebration to the next level. Pick the music, don’t pick the music, create a “do not play list”, or give us no list at all, we’ll get to know you and your guests and construct a playlist that fits just right. But our DJs do more than just play songs, they bring energy to your wedding with engaging announcements, introductions and more.

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