Sample Wedding Ceremony and Reception Timeline
Wedding receptions come in many shapes and sizes – and that’s awesome! Sometimes trends emerge because they work very well across different receptions. However, you’re preparing for your big day, not anyone else’s, so you get to do things your way!
You’re not alone in this quest, though. We can help make suggestions and recommendations based on experience that can help guide you along each step of the timeline planning process. During your final meeting with your DJ (typically the week before or week of the wedding), you’ll be able to mentally walk through your Wedding Reception and Ceremony Planner, including the timeline. This will ensure there is a mutual understanding of what will take place and allows you to fill in any gaps that may still be pending. By the end of the meeting, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can sit back and enjoy your wedding while we make it all come together.
Below is a sample timeline for a typical wedding day. Feel free to use the sample wedding ceremony and reception timeline below as is, or revise it to make your own.
A Sample Wedding Ceremony and Reception Timeline
4:00 p.m. – Wedding Prelude Music as Guests Arrive
4:30 p.m. – Wedding Ceremony
5:00 p.m. – Photos/Cocktail Hour
5:35 p.m. – Wedding Party Arrival/Introductions
5:40 p.m. – First Dance
5:45 p.m. – Father-Bride Dance
5:50 p.m. – Mother-Groom Dance
5:55 p.m. – Blessing on the Food
6:00 p.m. – Dinner is Served
7:00 p.m. – Toasts
7:15 p.m. – Cake Cutting
7:30 p.m. – Generations Dance
7:35 p.m. – Dancing Begins
8:00 p.m. – Garter Retrieval/Toss
8:05 p.m. – Bouquet Toss
9:35 p.m. – Last Dance(s)
9:45 p.m. – Send-Off
10:00 p.m. – Reception Officially Ends
Remember, this is just one example of how a typical wedding day timeline might progress. It has been proven to work very well. However, feel free to deviate from this timeline as much as you would like. The key is to break up dancing as little as possible. Try not to spread things out too much and keep two portions of the evening clearly divided: the more formal portion (introductions, formal dances, dinner, etc.) and the less formal portion (mostly dancing, but can also include the garter/bouquet tosses).
It’s best to have a formal wedding ceremony and reception timeline written out as you go into your wedding day, but it’s also important to know that events often don’t always fall exactly on the time they’re listed, and that’s okay. Whether dinner is slightly delayed or pictures are taking longer than expected, we’ll adjust accordingly and make sure a smooth transition happens no matter what. Not sure how you want to arrange your timeline or have additional questions? We can help make suggestions and guide you along the way.
Photo Credit: Terri Smith