Your wedding reception is a time to celebrate the beautiful union of a husband and wife and also a time to celebrate that the stress of planning and organising a wedding is finally over! Organising the wedding reception, while there is a suggested order of events that has been used traditionally, you can certainly choose to customise any portion of it to fit your personal circumstances, but keep in mind that this order has worked successfully for countless couples and is likely what your guests will expect.
Organising the wedding reception – Suggested order of events at the wedding reception:
1) The guests arrive at the reception. They may be there for a while before the wedding party arrives due to wedding photos being taken so you will want to have drinks and hors d’oeuvres ready for them to enjoy.
2) The wedding party arrives. You may wish to have a Toastmaster announce the Bride and Grooms arrival only or the entire wedding party.
3) Toasts. This time honored tradition allows kind words of encouragement to the Bride and Groom and sets the tone for the reception. The Best Man offers a toast first and may be followed by the Maid of Honor and possibly other family members such as the Bride’s father, but you will want to consider how long to leave the guests waiting before dinner.
4) Blessing of the meal. The Toastmaster should ask everyone to take their seats for dinner before the blessing. The blessing can be said by the Bride or Groom’s father or Grandfather or other special person that the Bride and Groom choose.
5) Dinner is served. Whether this will be a buffet or sit down meal, the Bride and Groom are served first followed by the wedding party and parents. Then the Toastmaster may want to call tables up one by one if it is a buffet, otherwise the guests should be served at this time.
6) The Bride and Groom’s first dance. This is the time your song is set for life. You will always remember this first dance together.
7) The Father-Daughter dance and any other special dances. The brides father gets his “last dance” with his little girl. You may want to make this just the first part of a song and then the DJ can announce the wedding party as they enter the dance floor, or you can do two separate songs. After this you want all the guests to join in on the dance floor as soon as possible so they don’t become lethargic after dinner and want to leave too early.
8) The tossing of the bridal bouquet and garter. The bride tosses the bouquet over her shoulder to all the single ladies, keep in mind that single means “never married” and not divorced and the groom tosses the garter to all the single men. The lucky guy who catches the garter then gets to place it on the leg of the lucky lady who caught the bouquet.
9) Cutting of the cake. Now the DJ can announce the cutting of the cake. The Bride and Groom make the first cut together and then serve each other a piece with their fingers. This is a great photo op. Someone else, even the kitchen help, can then cut and serve the cake to the guests or place the slices on the dessert table for people to eat when they want or wrap up and take home.
10) Dance until they drop. Now guests should feel free to dance and party until their hearts content. The Bride and Groom are free to dance or leave early if they have a plane to catch or just want to get the honeymoon started.
Once again, this order to consider when organising the wedding reception, is just a suggestion. This is your big day and everything should be planned to make it feel right for you. The most important thing is to just enjoy yourself and take some time to remember what is really important about this day—you got married! Everything else is really secondary to that.