I think THE key to a smooth-flowing wedding reception is to think through ALL the elements of the wedding day and really understand how it will all unfold. It’s like a theatrical production – you need to know who is going to do what where. And then what does that lead to. I’m really passionate about the difference this level of planning can have on the couples’ and guests’ experience. So I pretty much spilled my guts.
There are SO many factors that go into creating a great timeline. Fridays and Sundays are way different from Saturdays. Large receptions require more time for everyone to eat. Sometimes, it’s helpful to the caterers to cut the cake or pass champagne for toasts at a certain time. Sometimes, a couple is going to get whisked away for sunset photos. Sometimes, dinner tables needs to be moved to create a dancefloor.
So each situation is different. However, here is a VERY broad timeline based on my conversation with Kim. I think it can give couples a starting point for discussion.
4:00 pm Guests start to arrive
4:30 pm Ceremony
5:00 pm Ceremony over. Cocktails for guests. Couple signs certificate and finishes photos.
5:45 pm Grand Entrance, Couple says thank you to guests.
6:00 pm Meal
7:00 pm Post-meal activities (slideshow, shoe game, cake cutting, toasts)
7:30 pm Ceremonial dances (First Dance, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, Longevity/Anniversary Dance)
7:45 pm Open Dancing
8:30 pm Bouquet and Garter (may or may not want to even do this)
9:50 pm Last Dance
9:55 pm Exit