Wedding Day Schedule – What Should Happen (And When) Part 2

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In our Wedding Day Schedule – What Should Happen (and When) Part 1, we covered everything from getting ready in the morning, to the bit where you say “I do”.

Now, we’re going to focus on what is arguably the more enjoyable and less stressful part of the day – the Reception.

Remember, that while having a schedule can be useful, and help ease any anxiety you might be feeling, your wedding day is going to go by very quickly, so make sure you enjoy celebrating with friends and family, even if your planned timings don’t go quite to plan.

Part 2 – The Reception

· 1:00pm – Wedding Photos

Photos will be taken just after the ceremony of the Bride and Groom and the Bridal Party, as well as any requested group shots of all of the guests. As your guests make their way to the reception venue, the rest of your photos will be coordinated by your photographer.

For weddings with the ceremony and reception happening at different locations, it’s best to leave around a two hour gap between the end of the wedding service and the reception start time.

This gives guests enough time to check in to rooms, grab a coffee, mingle with other guests, and not feel rushed. It also gives you plenty of time to get your wedding photos taken. The time gap can still be very entertaining for guests – put on a cocktail hour, have some acoustic music playing, and serve a small selection of finger food to satiate guests until dinner.

· 4:00pm – Dinner and Toasts

Receiving lines seem to have gone out of fashion lately, but they do make for a good photo opportunity. This is where you greet all of your guests individually on the way in to the room where dinner is being held.

If possible, have the toasts spaced out at the start, middle, and end of dinner – you have a captive audience, and it will provide entertainment during the wait between courses. The order is: Father of the Bride, Groom, and Best Man. However, many modern weddings also allow for the Bride and Maid of Honour to speak. It is entirely up to you.

· 7:00pm – First Dance and Cake Cutting

The band or DJ will usually start setting up as dinner comes to a close, which leads on to the evening section of the reception. The First Dance is usually held after dinner, then the Father/Daughter dance, and Mother/Groom dance. Finally, the full Bridal Party will dance, before all guests are invited to join in. The cutting of the cake can be done at any stage, but it’s traditionally acceptable to leave a wedding once the cake has been cut. If you have older guests, you may want to factor this in.

Wedding Day Schedule

· 8:00pm – Party Time

The evening reception will kick off in earnest at this time. Plenty of drinks, dancing, and mingling will be had, and you may have a DJ who is also providing some additional entertainment (dress-up contests, dance-offs, and karaoke are popular). At some stage during the evening don’t forget to factor in the bouquet toss.

It has become very popular to serve a buffet, or some form of evening snacks, at the reception. This is great for refuelling day guests, and will be welcomed by evening guests who are likely to be peckish. Depending on your venue, you may have a set end time for the reception, but if it’s a hotel, it’s likely there will be an after party in the resident’s bar. Enjoy!

By Rachel Doherty, Excalibur Press