Just returned from a wedding... bad flow - reception timeline?
So I just got back from an afternoon wedding and my FH and I thought that the flow was terrible. The bride and groom weren't introduced, we had our entire dinner before they had their first dance, people only danced a few songs, etc.

I have been to weddings where people dance throughout the affair and everything just flows naturally. (And time just flies!) My last friend who had a fantastic wedding unfortunately didn't know what the timeline was. Has anyone been to a reception with great flow where everyone had a great time and known what the timeline was?

We know we have great food, an open bar and a great DJ... so we want to make sure that people can enjoy all of the above throughout the reception rather than it feeling choppy!

Married: 09/17/2011
Posted On: Jun 18, 2011 at 8:22 PM • Vendors are allowed • Add to My WatchlistFlag As Inappropriate1 like

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Married: 07/02/2011
Jun 18, 2011 at 9:45 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Well we have all of the above too (great food, open bar & DJ) and an MC to guide our guests through it but we still plan on completing dinner before dancing. This is what we are doing (based off on what we want and seen work for other friends. Note the times are flexible) ...

5:00 - 6:00 Cocktail Hour w/ Signature Drinks

06:00 Everyone seated (I am told it can take a while to get everyone together and settled after mingling and drinking during cocktails)

06:10 Wedding Party and Couple Introduced

06:15 Welcome and Prayer

1st course (soup) served while guest performs

06: 30 Main Course: Buffet Style

07:30 Cake Cutting

07: 35 Cake Served/ Toasts
-Maid of Honour
-Best Man
-Toast to Bride's Parents
-Toast to Groom's Parents

08:00 Bouquet Toss

08:05 Garter Find/ Garter Toss

08:15 First Dance

08:20 Slow Section/ Couples Dances

08:45 Party!

Only wine/ champagne will be served throughout dinner but the bar opens up after with bartenders on hand

Married: 10/01/2011
Jun 18, 2011 at 9:49 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
We are eating dinner before the 1st dance too - is that a bad idea

Married: 07/24/2010
Reviews: 6
Jun 18, 2011 at 9:59 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Not bad at all, to eat prior to the first dance.

I would, however, do the first dance prior to cake cutting. Once the cake is cut, you will have some guests depart.

Married: 06/04/2010
Reviews: 6
Jun 18, 2011 at 10:03 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
we went straight into the first dance, then the dinner, speeches during dessert, then party time! we had a brief few minute break while we cut the cake.

Married: 07/23/2011
Reviews: 5
Jun 18, 2011 at 10:06 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
We're doing Father/Daughter dance, dinner, toasts, first dance, followed by lots of dancing interspersed with cake, and later bouquet toss. Once we do the first dance, we want the party to continue to amp up and for everyone to get out on the dance floor.

Married: 09/17/2011
Jun 18, 2011 at 10:09 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
My thing is that we have five courses.... I'm not sure that A) I want to wait that long to dance and B) that anyone will even be able to move after that much food all in a row!

A friend had her food spread out throughout the entire night and cake cutting less than an hour before the reception ended... we didn't even know how late it was we were having so much fun and everyone stayed until at least 30 minutes before the reception ended! (People didn't leave early!) I thought it was also nice to eat a little and dance a little and keep going back and forth.

Married: 07/02/2011
Jun 18, 2011 at 10:43 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
http://www.frugalbride.com/stepbystepreception.html Here is a useful site. They also have several other useful articles there. The reception order of events is very flexible and is dependent somewhat on your crowd and other reception details (like how many courses and speeches you are having).

In my situation, we are a party crowd so it suits us to get all the formalities out of the way so we can dance the rest of the night away. The entire wedding (guests and all) are overnighting at the villa where the wedding is so as noone has to drive/travel afterwards, we're that much surer persons will stick around a bit.

The only special dance we are having is our 1st dance and we are only having 3 courses (including the cake/ dessert).

Married: 09/17/2011
Jun 19, 2011 at 12:41 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
The site does have some great ideas - thanks!

Married: 11/05/2011
Jun 19, 2011 at 12:48 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
We are going straight into the 1st dance after we are introduced. My best friend did that at her wedding and I've been in love with that idea ever since. All eyes are already on you. Plus our guests wont be too hungry because they will have just completed cocktail hour
Jun 19, 2011 at 2:33 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
My guess is they didn't have a very good/professional DJ and/or didn't hire a coordinator. The timeline is one of the most crucial services we provide for our clients and we really believe in it.

There are different ways to do a timeline. No two weddings are alike for us. We take in consideration the time of the wedding, the location and the age of the guests when we create a timeline. It's not a matter of just assigning things to a time... there's usually a reason for doing things that way.

Married: 08/21/2012
Jun 19, 2011 at 4:56 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
I think some people are more comfortable with not having the attention completely on them. They are the bride and groom so if that is their choice, who cares. The last wedding we went to was like this - yes it was the first time I had seen it. Puts a different twist on the wedding. I think there is nothing worse then the same old "traditional" spin on things. As for dancing before dinner, have never seen it. Once again though, it is your wedding, so whatever you are comfortable with.

Married: 03/17/2012
Reviews: 5
Jun 19, 2011 at 5:10 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
Zahra W. Thanks you.Great time line, I am also having a evening wedding and this seem like it can work perfect for us.

Wedding: 09/10/2016
Jun 19, 2011 at 10:24 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
I have been to both a wedding with a good time line and one without a good time line. The one with the bad time line turned out to not be the fault of the couple. The DJ screwed up the schedule and the reception venue had the wrong info for the bride and groom. They were basing the time line off someone elses wedding and it took then two hours to figure it out! Sometimes these things happen. But the best was made out of the bad situation and everyone still had a good time. I definitely did not criticize the couple for the mishaps.

(User No Longer Exists)
Jun 19, 2011 at 10:32 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
lol! Did you read the very bottom of that link...crackin up over here!!
Edited On: Jun 19, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Married: 10/29/2011
Jun 19, 2011 at 11:42 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
@Singing, ya I did read the bottom! LOL.
I was recently at a wedding where my FH wasn't there..I'm part of the party type crowd. so I feel that having the couples dance right after the first dance or wherever kinda alienates those without their partner, or who don't have one..personally I was antsy to be able to get up on the floor and shake it but had to wait quite awhile..Here is the order we are doing things:

reception 5-10..we probably will arrive at 545 or 6
6ish: dinner served (toasts start as dinner is being served)
7-cake cutting and first dance (then father-daughter after that).
(we have a photobooth just for 3 hours so I wanted it from 7-10 so try to get lots out of the way before 7 so people can actually use it)
7:15- (i'm having everyone surround us during the first dance if they want..then after father-daughter having black eyed peas I gotta feeling to get the party started..we will do a couples dance later on. (i may change a few things, not sure about exact times)

Married: 10/29/2011
Jun 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM • Flag As Inappropriate
ps-(we aren't doing garter/bouquet toss) also I was recently at a Friday wedding that had allotted 2 hours for all of the dances, garter toss, cake cutting, etc. I was having so much fun especially once we got to the faster songs. that I felt like I wanted more time..I guess that's better than being bored. but it left me thirsty for more lol.
Edited On: Jun 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Hayley C™
Married: 2+ years ago
Reviews: 1
Jun 19, 2011 at 12:09 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
My Only suggestion is to have the first dance Before the cake. You don't want cake up your nose while having your 1st dance.

(User No Longer Exists)
Jun 19, 2011 at 12:24 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I always get confused on when the 1st dance and the father/daughter mother/son dances should take place. Suggestions??

Wedding: [Private]
Jun 19, 2011 at 2:35 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
The last wedding I went to, the bride and groom were introduced *after* they had spent an hour mingling with guests. Then they served food because everyone was starving, and everything was thrown off from there. Even the bride herself was confused about what was happening because the coordinator wasn't doing her job.

The most important thing to me *as a guest* is getting fed immediately after the ceremony. Not hors d'oeuvres, but real food. I can't enjoy anything if I'm hungry. What the bride and groom do with the rest of the timeline is up to them.

Married: 09/17/2011
Jun 19, 2011 at 3:26 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
We have 10 passed hors d'oeuvres and a stationary display (vegetable crudite). (And a top shelf open bar!) We're also having an afternoon reception (12-5). If we're there at say 1:05, would you really be hungry as a guest to sit through the first dance before lunch is served?

Our reception is an hour away from the ceremony, so we're also contemplating snacks (say muffins/croissants) and coffee/tea for the ride. (It's an easy drive - mainly open highway and just a few turns.)

The best wedding I ever went to... the plated dinner was served throughout the night and I was able to dance between courses. I'd come back to my seat and food would be there. :) Is it really weird to have dinner spread out rather than served one course immediately following the next and have dancing following it all?
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