Here is a great starting point to help you in planning the program for your reception.
We will discuss your program with you; this is just a guide to help get you started. We are flexible with the program, and we always try to work in with your venue. It’s a good idea to fine tune your program a few weeks prior to the wedding.
This is a guide only and is based on a 5 hour reception.
You generally want your guests to arrive around 2 hours after your ceremony commences. This will give you enough time with your photographer. Always communicate with your photographer about both your and their expectations on how much time should be allowed for photos.
From the moment your guests arrive through to your first dance we will play some nice background music, pausing for speeches.
Bridal Party Arrives
We like to have the bridal party arrive around 15 minutes after their guests. This gives your guests enough time to settle in and get themselves a drink before your arrival.
Entree & Main
Your entree will usually begin to be served around about 30 minutes after your guests arrive. This gives you & your bridal party around 15 minutes for your entrance, getting a drink, and settling in.
Speeches & Dessert
It is up to you whether you have speeches before or after dessert. If you are having the Wedding Cake as dessert, you will need to do the speeches and cutting of the cake first. Some venues like to serve dessert before speeches, and clear the plates after speeches. I personally prefer this way, but you have a bit of flexibility. Just bear in mind if you are clearing away dessert plates before speeches things can drag on a bit.
If you have any questions about who should speak, in what order and what they need to include, please let us know as we can provide you with a Speech Writing Guide.
Cutting Of The Cake
Immediately after your speeches we will move into the cutting of the cake. Move over to behind the cake. Your photographer should guide you from there.
We then move straight into the Bridal Waltz. Unless instructed otherwise, we try not to keep couples dancing too long on their own, as most couples aren’t particularly comfortable having everyone watching them dance for too long a period of time.
During bridal waltz, we will invite the Bridal Party to come up & join you. Most couples don’t do a father/daughter dance these days, so if that is something you do want to do, please let us know.
We like to follow your Bridal Waltz with another slow dance, giving all your guests the opportunity to join you in your first time dancing as husband and wife.
Following the second dance, we will then play a good variety of music for your guests to dance up until the bouquet toss.
Around about 20 minutes prior to the conclusion of your Wedding Reception we will get you to do the bouquet toss. Some Brides like to get a smaller bouquet just for this (so they can keep their bouquet.)
We then make sure we have a chair for the bride to sit on for the garter toss.
Some people are unsure as to whether or not they would like to do a farewell circle. We encourage couples to consider it. It is a great way to ensure that you get to speak to all of your guests before you go, as even with the best intentions, you may not get a chance to speak to everyone throughout the night.
It is also puts a full stop to your evening, ensuring it ends with a bang rather than fizzles out. Most couples find if they don’t do a farewell circle, they tend to spend more time saying their goodbyes than if they just did the circle.
We try to get the Bride & Grooms family or closest friends to be at the end of the circle nearest the exit you will be leaving from. This means you start at your family (ie: your parents or closest relative/friends). The bride & groom travel in opposite directions around the circle, saying goodbye to your guests, ending with your family, so they can see you off.
Sample Time Line
(Based on a 5 hour reception)
6:00 pm Guests Arrive
6:15 pm Bridal Party Arrives
6:30 pm Entrees
7:00 pm Main
8:00 pm Speeches
Cutting of the Wedding Cake
10:40 pm Bouquet Toss
11:00 pm Conclusion of Function
This is just a guide to get you started, it is important to communicate with your venue, caterer & other service providers when finalising your program.