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Order of Events at Reception
I'm not sure what order everything should happen in. I might create a program or something so everything will run smoothly but what comes first? Father/daughter, First Dance, $$Dance, Toast, Cake? I don't know. Is there even an order? Any Ideas?

Married: 03/06/2010
Reviews: 5
Posted On: Aug 13, 2009 at 5:38 PM | Vendors are allowed | Add to My Watchlist | Flag As Inappropriate

9 Answers This question is closed for answers.

Aug 13, 2009 at 5:59 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Here's how we do things, and explanations why

- Ceremony
- Pictures, while guests mingle
- Grand Entrance
- Dinner
- Cake Cutting and Toasts
- First Dance
- Daddy/Daughter Dance
- Mother/Son Dance
- Garter Removal and Toss
- Bouquet Toss (we do this at this time because it starts into the fun part of the reception and the open dancing. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are on the floor dancing to the bouquet toss and garter toss music, so it gets the party going)
- A few songs of open dancing
- Money Dance, if the couple chooses
- Open dancing for the rest of the night

We have found that if you open the dance floor with fun dancing, then stop for cake cutting, bouquet and garter tosses, etc, it loses the momentum of the fun dancing, and people are tired.
Aug 13, 2009 at 6:27 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Hi Mrs2B, your program should be for the ceremony, and include the bridal party member names, parents, and any special remembrances to denote close family or friends who have passed. It should list the order of ceremony events, including special readings, songs, religious or ethnic traditions, etc. Wedding receptions, however, will sometimes take on a life of their own, and although you may set a schedule, you don't want to have your guests thinking, "Why aren't they cutting the cake now? It's what the program says!" Plus, do you really want them carrying a schedule around with them all night or have the booklets cluttering your pretty tables? Your site coordinator, caterer, dj/band and photographer will need one to know what to announce, shoot, serve, etc. You & your guests should just enjoy the night and not stress if things get off schedule. Reception order of events vary depending on if it's a plated meal or buffet, but you can find examples online. Good luck and have fun!
Aug 14, 2009 at 10:46 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Hello Mrs2B,
You have had 2 great responses already but yes I agree with Stacey in saying that you really shouldnt have a program for your guests for the reception. Your DJ or Venue (or your planner if you have one) will make a timeline for the vendors to go by to make sure everything runs smoothly or on time without letting the guests crowd tables and such. And as far as the order of everything... Squawkbox got it right however, if you are doing any toasts, that will come before dinner. :) I hope these replies have helped in someway!
Aug 14, 2009 at 12:41 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I know some brides think that programs are important. If you do create one, check with your officiant and get the ceremony order then enhance it with the additional information. I have seen some pretty, elaborate and crazy programs with the ceremony information, directions to the reception, tributes to family members, the menu, favorite songs and so much could spend a ton of money...just remember most of the time they end up on the floor or in the trash...Do you really need to spend the money??? I hope this least it is something to think about...Best Wishes!
Aug 14, 2009 at 2:16 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
We have a full planning guide for free if you would like. 30 years of Weddings!! or feel free to call or email me directly. 1-800-326-2378
Basically Ceremony, pics, intros, 1st dance, Father Daughter, Mother Son dances. Then the Toast leads into dinner. After dinner everyone has been sitting way too long so its time to start some dancing off with some fun mixers & open dancing for about 30 minutes. Then the Cake, More fun dancing about 30 min. Garter & Bouquet. Then more fun dancing to finish out the night. The reason for this type of time frame is that all of your bridal party is ready and gathered up front so it is best to do the intros, 1st dance... at that time. People are hungry, thirsty.. so then quickly move into dinner. After dinner they are re-charged & ready to party so get it going before people start to want to leave! They will tire out about 30-40 min in so its a great chance to slow it down with the cake.. call me.

No, 1 Wedding Planner

No.1 Wedding Planner
Aug 14, 2009 at 3:26 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
•Guests Arrive at the Reception Site
•Introducing the Wedding Party
•Introducing the Bride and Groom
•Giving the Blessing
•Forks at the Ready! (Eat)
•Cutting the Cake
•Toasting the Happy Couple
•Bride & Groom's First Dance
•Father & Daughter's Dance
•Mother & Groom's Dance
•Special Dances
•Bouquet and Garter Toss
•Dancing and Fun

Hope this will help. Please feel free to call or email me, if you need some help planning your wedding.

No.1 Wedding Planner/President
Aug 14, 2009 at 5:13 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
No hard and fast rules. But you should talk to the people responsible for serving the food and drink to find out if they have any issues. Also, some vendors sell their services based on a number of hours, not a full day, and you'll certainly want them present for the important things.

Around Chicagoland the most common order is

introduction of bridal party
blessing of meal
cake cutting
first dance
bride/father dance
mother/son dance
bridal party
bouquet toss
Aug 14, 2009 at 9:19 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
you have some very good advice from everyone. I do agree that you only give schedules to dj's, officient, site coordinators, and wedding planners. you do not want to bog guests down with timelines. that's for the wedding planners to keep under control if you have one. if you don't try a "Day of" package from a coordinator in the area. You'll be happy you did. good luck!


The Flower Lady
Aug 19, 2009 at 4:02 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
The best thing is...people aren't really going to know something is out of order. Most are just looking and feeling all the Love and Joy.
So, if something is a bit off, don't even be concerned most everyone is not!

Yes all great advice!!

Vow of Conduct