Build Your Wedding Reception Timeline

A step-by-step timetable of events to share with your wedding DJ.

Tips For Building Your Wedding Reception Timeline 

Regarding your Hall

If you have invited out-of-town guests, and there is more than an hour between the ceremony and the reception, ask your reception hall what time it will open its doors and if you’ll be charged for asking staff to open early for your visiting guests. Remember to share opening and closing times with your vendors, too. These are all important factors for the wedding reception timeline.

Cake Cutting

Brides & grooms have found that the best time to cut their cake is immediately upon walking into the room. If the cake will be served as a dessert course, it should always be cut right away, allowing time for the cake to be plated and served. If the cake will be made available on buffet tables for self-service, although not recommended, it can be cut after dinner.

bride and groom cutting their cake
bride and groom dancing

Bridal Dances

Avoid the temptation of having too many formal dances. If you want to share a special dance with your grandmother, for example, it is best to do it while guests can also dance. Remember, your guests attention will wander if asked to watch the newlyweds dance with everyone special to them. Our Wedding DJ will keep this moving!

Order of Dances:

  • Bride & Groom
  • Bridal Party (Including parents, flower girls, etc.)
  • Father – Daughter Dance
  • Mother – Son Dance
  • Open Dance Floor for guests

Who Will Give Speeches and Toasts?

Once the Bridal Party is seated at the head table, toasts. Speeches which accompany toasts should be kept between 2-5 minutes. It is VERY IMPORTANT to do all speeches, toasts and grace consecutively. It is very difficult to interrupt your guests table conversations multiple times. It’s also easier to hear without the clanking of forks during dinner service. Remember to use the timeline and considerations listed here as examples. Tap into the knowledge of wedding professionals to help guide you toward a timeline that works best for your wedding reception.

maid of honor toast

Wedding Reception Timeline Sample

bride and groom entering reception
bride and groom slow dancing
party time at wedding reception

6:00 - 7:00pm

  • Guests arrive.
  • Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served. 
  • DJ plays light music.

7:00 - 7:15pm

  • Guests are seated. Bridal Party is introduced into the room.
  • Bride and Groom enjoy their Grand Entrance.
  • Cake is cut.
  • Bridal party is seated at head table.

7:15 - 7:30pm

  • Toasts are made.
  • Grace is said.

7:30 - 8:40pm

Dinner is served.

8:40 - 8:59pm

  • Dinner is cleared while Bride & Groom pose for photos and visit with guests.
  • Guests are free to mingle, grab drinks, etc.
  • DJ gathers bridal party for the special dances.

9:00 - 9:15pm

Bridal dances.

9:15 - 9:45pm

PARTY TIME

9:45 - 10:00pm

  • Bouquet & garter toss (OPTIONAL)
  • Anniversary Dance (OPTIONAL)

10:00pm - 12:00am

PARTY TIME

It takes more than music to pack a dance floor.

Most of the time, couples looking for wedding DJ services know they need someone who has a great playlist and professional equipment. But the truth is, music is just the beginning.

Great DJs like ours serve as a Master of Ceremonies—a classy, experienced and professional host who keeps your reception on track, gives meaningful introductions and announcements, and knows how to keep your party going.

We’ll help you throw the celebration of a lifetime.

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