Wedding reception timeline

When it comes to your wedding reception timeline, you’re the boss and your imagination is the only limit. But still, most wedding receptions have the same basic structure since your guests have to eat, drink and have fun. The rest is up to you and your vision of that day.

In order to help you get started with planning, below is the basic wedding reception timeline that you can modify according to your needs.


Wedding reception protocol in most cases starts with welcome drink. This is an opportunity to treat your guests while you’re on your photo shooting session after the ceremony ends. There’s no harm done if you decide to add some music background.


This is the moment after the guests are escorted to their seats and the entire venue is anticipating the bride and groom to officially join them. You may or may not want to do it, but your guests will be excited to see your grand entrance as husband and wife.


You can choose to do the first dance immediately after the grand entrance, but that’s not always the case. This first dance is just for you, however you can have your parents or the bridal party join at the end if you want. At the end of your first dance your entertainment can continue until it is time to eat.


Usually, dinner doesn’t start without opening remark from the master of ceremonies. Although in that period the couple circle around the reception venue and greeting all the guests, remember to sit down at least for a couple of minutes and eat the lovely food you have chosen for your wedding reception.


Typically one of the more emotional parts of your reception, wedding speeches take place after the meal has been served. The best man leads things off followed by the maid or matron of honor. It is also OK for either of you to give a speech if you want to.


When we’re talking about entertainment, there’s no better than singing and dancing with your guests. Find songs that mean something to both of you. There are numerous YouTube videos of entire choreographies made by bride, groom or close family and they truly make weddings unforgettable. A good music choice is also important; it can keep the dance floor packed.


Cake presentation is also considered as a part of the entertainment for your guests. It usually comes together with fireworks or something of the sort, but it’s certainly a highlight of the evening. Other desserts along with coffee and tea can also be served during this time.


Traditionally couples leave at the end of the reception after saying goodnight to their remaining guests. If you really want to make a grand exit, consider lots of sparkles or leaving in an exotic car. It is never acceptable, however, to have a sneaky exit where your guests are wondering where you are.

What would you like to do? Follow the traditional path or make your own unique wedding reception timeline?


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