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Bridal Club Magazine

An Itinerary For Your Wedding Reception - Planning Ahead Saves Confusion

Spending time and effort in planning ahead for your reception can save you allot of confusion and unnecessary distractions on your big day.

Here are some suggestions:
Give all your wedding vendors a plan of your day. Don't forget family members and wedding attendants. This way, they will know when and where they should be at any given time.
Don't be afraid to put instructions in detail. Be specific in your reception itinerary, including names, times, specific locations and song titles of special dances.
Don't get too hung up on exact times. They should act as a guide only to keep things moving in the right direction and to make sure that nothing gets forgotten.

Use our sample itinerary as a checklist guide to plan your wedding reception just the way you want it. The order of events is up to you - but should be firmly established ahead of time. For example, some brides prefer to do their first dance with their husband very early into the reception - before dinner is served. Other brides prefer to do it after dinner, when the general dancing begins.

Etiquette says: Dancing for the wedding guests is not supposed to begin until after the bride and groom has had their first dance. Wedding guests are not suppose to begin dancing until after the bride and groom have had their first dance. So, if you want people to start dancing early in the reception, schedule your first dance right away.

Here is an example of an itinerary for a four-hour reception that begins at 5:00pm:

2 hours before reception
3.00pm Caterer arrives
3.15pm Florist arrives to set up table centrepieces and other floral decorations
3.30pm DJ arrives and sets up equipment
3.40pm Wedding co-ordinator arrives to set up place cards, favours, toasting glasses, cake knife, guestbook with pen and basket or other holder for the money envelopes
3.45pm Wedding cake arrives and is set up. Florist to provide flowers and greenery to the cake designer who will arrange the flowers on and around the wedding cake

1st hour of reception
5.00pm Wedding guests arrive. Cocktail hour begins. Waiters serve trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvre's to guests
5.15pm Bride and Groom arrive and are escorted outside to take formal photographs on the lawn. All family members and wedding party gather outside for photographs. Make sure all the family members and the wedding party gathers outside for photographs
5.20pm Bride, Groom and family members take formal photographs

2nd hour of reception
6.00pm Bride and Groom, wedding party and parents of bride and groom gather in side room to 'line up' for announcements. Line up in order - groom's parents first, then bride's parents, flower girl and ring bearer, bridesmaids escorted by ushers, maid of honour escorted by the best man
6.20pm Cocktail hour ends and cash bar begins. DJ to announce that dinner is served and ask that all guests be seated. DJ introduces Officient or other designated person who will say the blessing
6.25pm DJ introduces the Best Man who will give the toast to the bride and groom
6.30pm Dinner is served

3rd hour of reception
7.00pm Bride and Groom to cut the cake. Cake cutting song to be played during this.
7.15pm DJ announces Bride to dance with her father (name of song here)
7.25pm DJ announces Groom to dance with his mother (name of song here)
7.35pm DJ announces the wedding party to dance (name of song here)
7.40pm Bride and Groom and wedding party invited to dance (name of song here)
7.45pm Cake and coffee are served to guests

4th hour of reception
8.00pm DJ announces the Bride's bouquet toss (name of song here to do this to)
8.15pm Garter toss
8.45pm Bride and Groom's last dance
9.00pm Bride and Groom say goodnight and leave for their honeymoon or hotel
9.15pm Parents of the bride gather all the gifts

This is intended as a guide only. Remember to add your own personal details that tailor-make the itinerary to your special needs.

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