Traditional Wedding Reception Timeline Guide

Best 2023 timeline guide for Sydney Wedding Venues

We’ve all attended weddings that have gone way past their schedules and appeared disorganized. Not only does it show a lack of respect for your guests’ time but it reflects poorly on your organizational skills. To avoid being the talk of the town take time to learn about the wedding run sheet and what a wedding reception timeline should look like.

So, without further ado here is what your traditional wedding reception schedule of events should resemble:

1. Cocktail Hour

Duration: 1 Hour

Cocktail hour ushers guests into the first phase of your reception. Ideally, this is the time your guests get a chance to mix and mingle while family photos are being taken. As a couple, you’ll probably miss out on this part so ensure that there’s plenty of entertainment perhaps in the form of a live band or a DJ to keep things running smoothly. Platters of food and drink should be readily available.

2. Invite Guests to Sit Down for Dinner

Duration: 15 Minutes

As soon as the bride and groom arrive from their photoshoot, have someone start inviting guests to proceed to their seats to get ready for the wedding dinner. The bride and groom can take the time this is happening to freshen up.

3. Bride and Groom Entrance

Duration: 10 Minutes

With your guests all seated, it’s time to make your grand entrance as husband and wife into the reception space. Today couples are opting to make their debut entrance through song and dance. It’s up to you really how you wish to be introduced to your guests at this time.

4. First Dance of the Night

Duration: 5 Minutes

While everyone is still in festive spirits, this is the ideal time to slot in your first dance as a couple. You’ll likely have people join you after the first song, so you might like to slot in extra time for this.

5. Welcome Remarks and Toasts

Duration: 5 Minutes

After the first dance, a family member should welcome guests. This toast should not devolve into a speech about the bride and groom. Instead, it should merely be a courtesy call to welcome guests and hope they enjoy the meal, anything beyond five minutes is now a speech!

6. Dinner Is Served

Duration: 45 Minutes

Depending on what type of catering you’ve chosen, this can take 45 minutes to an hour. If you’ve selected a family-style traditional sit-down meal, then your service staff will be on-hand to ensure that serving is carried out in an orderly fashion. If you’ve gone with a buffet, you might need to give more leeway as self-service can take slightly longer.

7. Wedding Party Toasts Bride and Groom

Duration: 10 Minutes

While meals are being served, this is the perfect moment for members of your wedding party to take it in turns to say a few words about you. This doesn’t have to be everyone in your train. It can simply be the maid-of-honor and the best man. Let people know ahead of time that their wedding speeches should not exceed four minutes maximum.

8. Dances with the Parents

Duration: 10 Minutes

There is nothing like that father-daughter dance or that mother-son dance. It’s a special and intimate moment. Once this is over, however, cue your DJ or band to take over with some high-energy songs that are sure to get people moving onto the dance floor!

9. Bouquet and Garter Toss.

Duration: 10 Minutes

In a normal wedding reception timeline, while people are still on the dance floor, you’d gather them around for the bouquet and garter toss. Many people are now, however, choosing to do away with these two traditions. So, if these aren’t quite up to your alley, feel free to skip them.

10. Cutting the Cake

Duration: 10 Minutes

Cake cutting can ideally be done towards the end of the traditional wedding ceremony timeline. The service staff should be ready to start passing dessert and getting coffee out to guests. Most people will start leaving after this moment as this signals that the event is coming to a close. Use this time to thank your guests one last time.

11. Final Dance and Exit

Duration: 5 Minutes

Some couples usually have one last song before they make their grand exit. Once the dance is over, your wedding party can send you off with much fanfare amid sparklers or you can opt for celebratory bells instead.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what a traditional reception event timeline looks like.

Are you looking for a wedding venue that can help you plan your wedding? Contact Clarence House today.