What Couples Need To Do To Prepare For The Reception Dinner

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What is a wedding reception dinner?

Dinner. Once cocktails are finished, the couple and wedding party have been announced, and the first dance is over (if you've chosen to dance before the meal), dinner should be served. Generally, not much more than half an hour should have passed since guests entered the main reception room.


What is the basic wedding reception timeline?

Here's the order of the wedding reception, based on a basic four-hour celebration. How long each event lasts depends on your party, is it a simple cocktail wedding reception or a seated dinner? (The average reception with full meal lasts about four hours). Keep in mind that you're probably not orchestrating the wedding reception alone — your banquet manager, caterer, bandleader (who might act as MC) and other wedding vendors are pros hands at this stuff, so they know what's supposed to happen when. Remember, that nothing is set in stone, there are always options, and if the timing of one thing or the other doesn't suit your style, you can always mix it up. Then, to make sure your entire wedding day, not just the reception, runs as smoothly as possible, get your full, personalized wedding timeline.

Want your wedding reception to be both memorable and stress-free, but don't know the first thing about throwing a good party? The crucial thing for hosting a fabulous wedding celebration is knowing what's supposed to happen and when. Here's a handy wedding reception timeline, based on a cocktail hour and a four-hour reception, to give you an hour-by-hour guide to the day's post ceremonial events. Here are some reception and wedding timelines.


18:00 | Cocktail Hour


After being pronounced husband and wife, you're often the first to leave the wedding ceremony, heading off (with the photographer in tow) for pictures together before the partying gets underway. Your guests will head to the reception site for cocktails. During this time the catering services will serve or pass around canapés & drinks, which will get people mingling and in the mood.

Depending on the logistics of the event, your cocktail hour will begin immediately (if the ceremony and reception are held at the same venue), or it might start more than half an hour later (if there's travel involved). Cocktails will kick off your reception and will last for at least an hour.


19:00 | Newlywed's Arrival


Here's the part where you make your grand entrance. The Wedding Organizer will usually make sure guests are seated before the MC alert them by asking all the guest to take their sit based on the arrangement so they will alert the guests that the couple will do imminently arrive. Generally, both sets of parents and the wedding party are introduced, followed by the announcement of you both for the first time as husband and wife everyone is already cheering you as you enter the reception,. To make this more memorable you may add some special effect by preparing some sparkles stick and the wedding organizer will distribute these to all of the guests and the MC will announce that the guests should make a tunnel from the beginning of entrance until the end up on dance floor.


19:20 | Speech by Newlywed, Cheers & Toasts


Following your first dance, you might want to take the opportunity—while all eyes are still on you since hopefully no one yet has had too much to drink—to thank everyone en masse for taking part in your wedding. On behalf of the Parents & Bride, the Groom will usually give his speech and thank all family members & guests for attending their wedding. Also sometimes a family member, often a parent of the bride, will say a blessing (depending on the families' faiths). Then, since toasting signifies a transition in the course of an event, the mother and father of the bride will thank guests for attending and invite everyone to enjoy the celebratory meal. Keep in mind that the toasts given by the best man and the maid of honor should occur between courses, to spread out all the high-emotion, much-anticipated moments and keep guests in their seats.


19:30 | Dinner Time!


Time to dig into the dinner. Catering services will start to serve you. At this time the live band or live DJ performances will start to play.  If you're having a seated meal, the MC will announce that the food will be served to the table and ask all the guests to wait for the waitress to make the rounds. If you're having a buffet, your Wedding Organizer, & MC will dictate how the rotation will work by calling each table when it's time to head to the front of the line. Just remember: You need to do everything possible to take their seats and eat!


20:15 | Cake Cutting


The cake cutting created for the sole purpose of giving the bride and groom the opportunity to participate in a tradition. The cutting cake could be done during dessert time, so after cutting cake procession, the wedding organizer and services from catering could serve the cake to the guest table or to be set up at dessert corner so the guest could enjoy it.

The meaning of Cutting cake in a wedding is the hand of the groom is placed over the hand of the bride when cutting the cake to symbolize his support for her and her promise to take care of him and their family. Furthermore, the fact that couples are encouraged to cut from the bottom tier symbolizes the longevity and continuity of their relationship.


 20:30 | Games & Entertainment


Outdoor games: If you're having a wedding outdoors with lots of space, consider to have wedding games that could involve guests in the games. The MC could lead the games so the games will be more entertaining and the guest will be having fun. Games could be split into 2, the first game could be play by the picked audience by MC (example: chair games and the second game are for the newlywed.


20:45 | First Dance & First Kiss


Generally, both sets of parents and the wedding party are introduced, followed by the announcement of you both for the first time as husband and wife. In many cases, your newlywed first dance will begin as you step out onto the floor and into the spotlight after being announced. You may end your first Dance with the First Kiss with some special effects such as Pyrotechnic/Waterfall Pyro/Pyro wheels/Fireworks to make the ending more dramatic. So make sure your photographer &Videographer stand by to get a good angle when the special effect was release during your first kiss.


20:50 | Throwing Bouquet/Garter Toss


Before MC announces the closing of the after-party the MC will announce for the single gentlemen and woman to gather in the front of Dance Floor. Because the Groom and Bride will do the garter Toss/Throwing bouquet. For the Garter Toss, the groom removes the garter from the bride's leg, sometimes with his hands or perhaps with his teeth, while a crowd watches. Following the bride's bouquet toss, the groom tosses the garter to all of the eligible bachelors at the wedding. In order to deter guests, the bride begins tossing her bouquet into the crowd to distract people, then making a break for it with her husband to the bridal chamber. ... While obtaining the bouquet is only meant to bring good luck to women, the garter offers the same tradition for the men. If you do choose to toss the bouquet, make sure to get a tossing bouquet from the florist so you can keep your original one as a memento.


21:00 | Last Dance/After Party


End your wedding on a high note and choose a song that will leave a lasting impression. You'll want everyone to have a chance for one last twirl, so select something fast and festive. Guests are going to follow your lead. Once dinner dishes are cleared, you should be the first ones on the dance floor so people know it's time to start partying. Throughout the dancing, the music will stop for any extracurricular.


23:00 | Final Farewell


Now it's time to say goodbye. Your MC will announce to everyone that the wedding reception is finished and say thank you to all the guests and family on behalf of newlywed. The Wedding Organizer team will escort everyone into the foyer or onto the steps outdoors so that as you make your grand exit from the reception, friends and family can blow bubbles, light sparklers, or toss rose petals—and cheer to your successful celebration and future together.