Your Wedding Reception Timeline
Whether you have two, three, or four hours to party, here’s your guide for how it should flow.
Photo: Julie Mikos Photography
8:00 p.m. Guests head from the cocktail hour into the reception and find their seats.
8:15 p.m. Your emcee begins introducing the wedding party, starting with your parents.
8:20 p.m. The first dance.
8:25 p.m. A welcome speech or a blessing. If you’re not having either, begin the toasts now -- best man followed by maid of honor.
8:30 p.m. Dinner is served. The emcee asks guests to take their seats. Music should be low enough so guests can talk at their tables.
9:00 p.m. The music volume starts to increase gradually to get people who finished their meals out onto the dance floor.
9:30 p.m. The father-daughter dance, which is followed by the mother-son dance.
9:35 p.m. A dance set begins with more upbeat songs to entice most guests out of their seats.
9:45 p.m. A couple of slow songs play.
9:50 p.m. Back to more upbeat songs.
10:30 p.m. The cake cutting.
10:35 p.m. Some mid-paced songs play as cake is served so guests can dance if they want.
10:45 p.m. Guests are seated for cake.
11:00 p.m. The bouquet toss, followed by the garter toss, if you’re doing them.
11:10 p.m. The final dance set. Time to play those songs you felt funny playing while all the elderly guests were still there!
11:55 p.m. The last dance, followed by your grand exit if you’re making one.