The wedding reception schedule is a a template the bride and groom may use in planning and arranging the wedding ceremony schedule. Please feel free to make any adjustments that is most comfortable and pleasing to you and your guests. See Wedding DJ Packages

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Wedding Reception Schedule

Ceremony Schedule Suggested
Timeline
Schedule of Events
Arrival of DJ / Set-Up 04:30 PM The wedding planner arrives 2 hours prior to start of the wedding.  The DJ should always arrive at least 60 minutes prior.  A sound check must be done with your wedding planner/officiate at least 30 minutes prior to wedding reception
Arrival of Guests -Background Music 05:40 PM Guest normally start arriving 10-15 minutes prior, so you will want music playing 20 minutes prior.  As a DJ we normally play a mix of smooth jazz and contemporary music, but you can choose any style you wish.
Wedding / BP Processional / Bridal March 06:00 PM Normally the bride and groom will choose a song for the wedding party entrance and a song for the bridal march.  You can go with the standard classical bridal march or choose something that matches your wedding theme.
Recessional – Start Reception / Cocktail Hour 06:30 PM As you exit the DJ will play the recessional song of your choice While you are taking pictures your DJ or wedding coordinator should verify all schedules are still coordinated. While cocktails and appetizers are served, the DJ will play background music consisting of vocalists like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Lou Rawls, and classic rock  and smooth jazz. The DJ will work with you in planning to choose the right music for your guest..
Arrival of Wedding Party 07:15 PM We give 45 minutes for photos and then another 10 minutes to get guests seated and the wedding party briefed on how the intro is being done and what order they are being introduced in.
Grand Introduction 07:25 PM This should be done in accordance with how you desire it.  If you want elegant intros or high energy sports type intros or something in between your master of ceremonies (DJ) should coordinate it to fulfill your desires.  We normally play a background song for the wedding party and a different song for the bride and groom. Important: Make sure the DJ knows exactly how you want to be addressed when being introduced to your guests!
First Dance 07:30 PM You are already on the dance floor and have everyone’s attention.  This is a perfect time to do your first dance.  Since you have already danced, your guests will not feel awkward if they want to dance to a song during dinner since the first dance has already been completed.  This also cuts down on the number of dances your guest must play spectator to after dinner is complete.
Blessing / Meal Served 07:35 PM If you want to say grace prior to your meal, let your master of ceremonies or DJ know who will give it so they can introduce them. Your DJ should coordinate with one another as to who will release tables and how it should be done.  Ask your DJ if they have any special things they do to interact with the crowd and release tables.
Best Man’s Toast 08:05 PM Traditionally the toast are prior to the meal.  We have found they work better if you pour the champagne / cider / wine as soon as the last guest has their main course served.  Normally the wedding party is finished eating and can now do toasts.  Everyone else can eat their meal while listening and easily raise glasses at the appropriate time.  This has a couple of effects. Your guests start eating a few minutes earlier while you do not waste any time while everyone waits for toasts to be finished, thus completing dinner a few minutes earlier.  Also, your toast beverage will be nice and cold.  If you do your toast immediately most caterers will pour the drinks before the guests are seated and you end up having it sit 15-20 minutes until you get to toasts.  Once again it is your event and you dictate when it happens, theses are just some ideas to think about.
Other Toast 08:10 PM Normally the maid of honor and one or more parents will want to give a toast as well.  You want to let people make toasts, but be aware that if you open it to all guests you could spend a long time listening to a multitude of people stumbling through saying the exact same thing.  I have seen toasts stretch to past an hour when the bride and groom insisted that everyone be allowed to speak that wanted to.
Father – Bride Dance 08:15 PM Pick a song that says what you want to convey to your father, or let him pick a song with a message to you.  Your guests could still be eating while you are doing this.
Mother – Groom Dance 08:20 PM Pick a song that says what you want to convey to your mother, or let her pick a song with a message to you.  Your guests could still be eating while you are doing this.  As the song is winding down this is a good time to invite all your guests to join in for a few slow songs.  They have been though a cocktail hour and dinner and you want them to get moving so everyone is awake and ready to move on with the party.
Open Dance 3 slow 3-4 fast 08:25 PM Play a few slow songs and then mix into some classic oldies Get people moving, if they are partying let it go for just a little while.  If they are not reacting then go back into events
Wedding Party Dedication (as part of open dance) 08:40 PM Rather than doing a wedding party dance with a floor filled with people who are there with other dates you may want to dedicate a song to the wedding party and just let everyone dance with their actual date for the night.
Cake Cutting 08:50 PM Some DJ’s will run this event.  But you might prefer to announce it and let your photographer run it as they see fit so they get the pictures exactly as they desire.
Honeymoon or Money Dance Songs 09:00 PM Many names – Apron Dance, Dollar Dance, Honeymoon Dance, Money Dance, etc…  About half of our brides and grooms want one if these.  The idea is to give each person the ability to spend 15-20 seconds alone with the bride or groom to share their thoughts and give them their private best wishes.  This is an opportunity to tactfully and maybe while having some fun, raise some money for the bride and groom for their honeymoon by accepting donations in return for the dances.  Many couples choose to substitute for this and have an elimination or reverse elimination dance where we recognize couples that have been married a long time.  many times the bride and groom present the couple married the longest with flowers or a gift.  Speak to your DJ about your personal tastes and desires.
Bouquet Toss / Teddy Bear Toss 09:10 PM Some couples are doing the elimination dance mentioned above instead of the entire bouquet garter sequence.  Most still do the traditional bouquet toss.  Choose a song for background music to get the ladies going. Ask your DJ about it and he will discuss details with you.
Remove Garter/ Garter Toss / Garter On 09:20 PM This should be one of your most fun times of your reception.  Have a good time and enjoy yourself.  If you don’t laugh your DJ did not handle this well.  Choose a separate song for removing garter and for throwing it to the guys.  Work with your DJ to make sure that having the gentleman who caught the garter put it back on the leg of the girl who caught the bouquet is what you want to do.  Most DJ’s will have some twists you can do on this.  The key is to handle it appropriately for your event and have a good time.
Open Dancing – Party Time 09:30 PM Discuss with your DJ if you have any other ethnic, religious or traditional events you need to do before it is party time, otherwise turn up the volume a little, hit the dance lights, and party it up on the dance floor.  A good DJ will normally work through several sets of music of various tastes so that all your guests hear something they will like and get a chance to hit the dance floor.
Reception Ends 12:00 AM Pack up your gifts, make sure you are square with all your vendors and head off to the honeymoon!

Thanks to Erin Greig for this Wedding Reception Schedule Sample

 

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