Do not know about you, but every time we go to a wedding reception, it is done differently. Sometimes the sentences are done before the meal, rather than after, and more commonly these days, not at all! How long is the receiving and welcome drink provided to be, or how long does the meal take. Obviously, a well known wedding venue knows exactly how long all this takes and will guide you gently through the day, without you having to worry about a thing!
But just to allay your fears, here is a timeline of what happens and when – which you can adapt to your own personality and style.
00:00 – Cocktail Hour – Time for Pictures
Well you've done it! You are now husband and wife and you leave the place of marriage followed by your bridesmaids and close relatives, with the photographer snapping the happy event. You may have some photographs taken at the Church or Registry office and then head off to your reception. This is where the fun starts with cocktails being handed to your guests as they arrive – you may have a string quartet playing – and you mingle for a while amongst your guests.
This is where you photographer gets busy and takes you and selected guests away for your photo shots. Meanwhile your guests are being kept happy by cocktails and canapes. Depending on where you got married allowed 2 hours for this.
02:00 -Receiving Line
The guests line up and the bride and groom typically receive their guests into the Wedding Breakfast room. The Bride and Groom then walk through last attended by their bridesmaids, bestman and parents to the top table. Usually to a round of whoops and applause from the guests. It may be appropriate at this stage for a blessing to be made before seating.
02:30 – The Wedding Meal
Usually everyone is starving by now – but it is etiquette to serve the bridal party first. If it is a buffet then you usually approach the buffet table by table after the bridal party. Background music or a pianist is a lovely compliment to the festive mood.
04:00 – The Speeches & Cake Cutting
Now is the time for speeches – they can be fairly speedy or long narrations of past exploits. It is usual at this point to present both Mother's with gifts or bouquets of flowers and to present the bridesmaids and bestman gifts and cut the cake. There is usually a lull of approximately one hour after this to allow your evening entertainment to set-up, and for the caterers to clear the tables for dancing.
05:00 – First Dance
End of Wedding Reception
Time for you to leave now. Tradition says that you remove your garter and toss it, or throw the bridal bouquet. If you want to keep yours, then get a smaller bouquet just for that !! The evening usually ends with a lovely slow number for you and your guests to smooch around to and then it is time to go.
You will remember the day forever, and the happiness you felt through the whole day. For more tips on Wedding planning .