Wedding Reception Timeline

  • Peggy A. Ojeda

A well-planned wedding reception timeline also known as an itinerary serves as a checklist that helps the bride and groom form a mental image of the order of events.

Directly below you'll find a sample wedding timeline checklist that we created to help you get organized. Use the information provided to re-create a personalized program that suits your own customs and specifications.

Sample Wedding Program

01. Your guests arrive at the wedding reception, they are greeted by a wedding reception usher and or the reception manager. At least one wedding usher should be at the wedding reception before the wedding guests arrive.

A wedding reception usher can be male or female, usually a trusted friend or relative. Their job is to greet your wedding guests and collect wedding gifts, on arrival. The reception manager works with the wedding usher/s directing the guests to their seats and crossing off their names as they arrive.

02. On arrival, the drinks waiter(s) offer your wedding guests a choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The food waiter(s) walk around offering appetizers to the wedding guests while they mingle. Your guests are either given their table numbers or escorted to their tables. In some cases, the guest can look up their own table number and seat themselves.

03. The Master of Ceremonies (MC) or DJ announces that dinner will be served soon and asks your guests to make their way to their seats.

04. The bridal party is announced: The Master of Ceremonies (MC) or DJ introduces the bridal party. Firstly the bride's parents, groom's parents, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the maid of honor and best man, then the ring bearer and flower girl and last of all the newlyweds.

05. The bride's father makes a short speech and welcomes everyone to the wedding reception and thanks them all for coming. (Optional)

06. The first course of dinner is served.

07. The Best man makes a toast to the newly married couple.

08. More wedding speeches and stories can be told during and after dinner, to entertain the guests. (Optional)

09. The Master of Ceremonies (MC) or DJ announces the First Dance for the newlyweds.

10. The Master of Ceremonies (MC) or DJ announces the Father and Daughter dance.

11. The Master of Ceremonies (MC) or DJ announces the Mother and Groom's dance. Like many people, you might have some songs that are near and dear to your heart. You can ask the entertainment to play them immediately after the formal dances.

12. After the formal dances are over the rest of the bridal party is asked to join the dance floor.

13. The Master of Ceremonies (MC) or DJ announces that everyone else can join the dance floor. At this point, the DJ will play some up-tempo music to dance to. This will give your guests the opportunity to stand up and get involved after being seated for long periods of time.

14. The Master of Ceremonies (MC) or DJ announces the Money Dance.

15. The Master of Ceremonies (MC) or DJ announces the cutting of the wedding cake.

16. The Groom removes and throws the wedding garter.

17. The Bride throws a bouquet, usually a bridesmaids bouquet.

18. The wedding cake is served along with coffee, tea or beverage of choice.

19. Time to have fun and dance the night away.