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How many of you have been to a wedding and waited over 2 hours for the bride and groom to join? No amount of free booze and food is going to make you be okay with that.
Picture this you’re scrolling Facebook. And in one of your wedding groups, you see someone saying, Help. My wedding is this weekend and I have no idea how the flow of the reception should go. You stop and you think, Oh, shoot, I better start thinking about that. And after over seven years in the industry, here is what I think works best.
We’re here with a couple unpopular opinions when it comes to reception timeline, but a few things that we really love to do.
Okay, this is my number one way to run a timeline. We did this for my wedding, and this is for the brides who are prioritizing the party, Right? Like you want to maximize fun.
Here are some things and tips that I talk to my clients about when it comes to how the wedding reception can unfold.
After doing over a hundred weddings, I find that this timeline works the best for the couple, for the guests and the dj.
We do cocktail hour. Do not keep your guests waiting more than an hour. Grand entrance, dinner, toasts, first dances, cake cutting, everything that people kind of need to be sitting down and paying attention to.
Because if you let them get up, it’s gone. It’s over. It’s like herding cats. You’re not going to get them to sit down again. It’s not going to happen. So if you do all those things in a row and then they’re done and then it’s party time and also dj does not like to have things interrupt their party dance time.
Shannon has been part of the wedding industry for the past years, functioning as Lead Wedding Planner of her company Periwinkle Events NW. Over these years, she has provided wedding planning services to 90+ amazing couples, and led a team of vendors for ‘Portland’s Venue Crawl’ who turned a downtown ballroom into a wedding reception showpiece. Shannon has also been featured in Art of Weddings, Bridal Musings & PNW Weddings magazine.
Design, vision, and working with others are Shannon’s strong suit. She has planned and facilitated multiple styled shoots, where vendors are able to come together and collaborate to create content. With this experience, she is able to lean into that knowledge when creating a design that brings her couple’s vision to life.
When she is not knee-deep in timelines, vendor correspondence, or designing a sweetheart table, she enjoys experiencing the northwest with family and friends. She loves reading a good book by the fire, listening to live music, walking on the Oregon Coast and visiting as many wineries, brew pubs, and amazing restaurants as she can. She is a native Oregonian and loves living in the PNW, however, she is always daydreaming of her next destination wedding or new place to explore.
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You finish photos after ceremony, you go in, you get announced bridal party, no bridal party, does not matter. Do your first dance right away. Just walk right into your first dance. We sent our flower girls out to grab the guests and bring them up. And the dj hyped it up for like three or four songs.
And then you turn it back down, get everybody in their seats, and then send people off to dinner while people are eating. You got to do speeches, make sure that you’re timing it so that the last table’s gotten food and come back. You start speeches right away. Otherwise, if you wait too long, then you have this weird period where like the first half of the room is done eating and the second half of the room is finishing up like an extra like 20 or 30 minutes, or people are just sitting around when you could have gotten speeches done earlier and like start the parties sooner.
So hopefully if it’s time correctly, the last table will be finishing up their food and then you start parent dances. Finish up parent dances, go right into bouquet and garter toss and have that like kick off the party. That will leave you a ton of time for continuing to celebrate, disappearing for photos, socializing with as many people as you can.
And that is just the best way to maximize the time.
As the owner of Seas Your Day Events, a renowned wedding planning company out of Orlando, Florida, Aubrey has been striving to help as many couples as possible enjoy a stress free wedding day since 2019. Aubrey graduated from Fiance to Wife in 2018 and planned her own wedding. Realizing the amount of work required to plan a seamless wedding while trying to be the guest of honor made her search for ways to help couples avoid to stress and pitfalls of her own wedding day. After seeing how her wedding planning company’s unique organizational strategies were helping their planning and coordination couples, Aubrey felt there were so many more couples that could be saving time, stress and money if they could only have the knowledge of her team of wedding planners.
This drove her to create the first ever Done-With-You-Wedding-Planning Journal, Winning Your Wedding Planning. Just because you don’t live in Florida, or perhaps decided a wedding planner isn’t for you does not mean you shouldn’t be able to have access to the knowledge a wedding planner possesses! Now don’t get us wrong, there is nothing that can replace an amazing coordinator on wedding day, but Aubrey and her team believe that everything leading up to that day should be as organized and stress free as possible and they wanted to provide you with direct access to the exact information to Win Your Wedding Planning!!
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After everyone is seated for dinner, you will cue up the bridal party for their grand entrance, and then after you and your fiancée enter the straight into your first dance, then a special someone or whoever you want can give a welcome speech or a prayer to kick off dinner, follow dinner with the cake cutting or dessert cutting, toasts, and then followed by the father bride dance, mother son dance. Any special dances like that.
After that, the dance floor would open for the night. And then about an hour into that, you could do garter toss the bouquet toss. If you’re doing things like that. Of course, the end of the night when everything is over, doing your exit if you choose to do so.
Lydia is a Master Certified Wedding Planner and Certified Design Consultant through the Certified Wedding Planner Society. With years of experience in the wedding industry, Lydia has earned a reputation for creating dream weddings that surpass all expectations.
In addition to her impressive certifications, Lydia is also a certified Timeline Genius, ensuring that every moment of your special day is carefully planned and executed to perfection. Lydia obtained her MBA degree from Grand Canyon University, which has equipped her with the business acumen needed to run a successful wedding planning business.
Lydia’s work has been featured in several publications, including The Carolina’s Magazine, Bustld, and Modern Wedding. Her designs are known for their elegance, sophistication, and attention to detail, which have garnered her a loyal following of clients who trust her to bring their wedding vision to life.
Whether you’re looking for a grand affair or an intimate ceremony, Lydia is here to guide you every step of the way. With her expertise, creativity, and dedication to excellence, you can rest assured that your wedding will be a truly unforgettable experience.
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The first is to have a first look or not. And really, truly, we go to whether you want that magical moment down the aisle of seeing each other for the first time, or if you’re okay with getting a lot of those photos done prior to your ceremony, we truly feel that you should make this decision based on your personal preference.
And if you have an emotional tie to one over the other, we will say if you choose to do a first look, what we love is it affords you the opportunity to join your cocktail hour, which I know a lot of our couples love to do. And one of the big perks for us and something that we do at TLC that I know some people are the biggest fan of is how you do your grand entrance into the cocktail hour.
That way your guests can cheer and hug you and embrace, and it’s more of a warm welcome. Our couples have expressed to us that they feel like they’re in a bit of a fishbowl when they do their grand entrance into the reception during dinner. They feel like people are just sitting at their table, standing up, staring at them, and they can’t really embrace them or do much.
Now the other one is toast. I know that people like to do toast during the middle of dinner. What We love to do is have you do your toast at the beginning of your reception. Now, the reason why is a lot of people have toasting anxiety and they’re worried about whether they’re going to be called up with food in their mouth or not.
And I know that this is kind of dead idle time in your timeline, but people are not starving. They just come from cocktail hour. They can sit and listen to a few toasts. So we like to have you start off the toast with a quick thank you and welcome and then go down the line of maybe two or three toast, usually maid of honor, best man, parent, and then kick off dinner.
Now, the last one I will talk about is dessert. I know traditionally dessert is served right after dinner, but let’s be honest. Your guests are not usually ready for cake or desserts right after eating a whole meal. And they’re ready to get on the dance floor and have some fun. So I suggest that you dance for about an hour and then have your cake cutting or do the dessert table announces open in the middle of that dance set, when your guests are kind of ready for that.
Our award winning planning and design team has been bringing our client’s heart bursting events to life for over 10 years! From celebrity award show events, to your commitment to your partner, there’s nothing that fires us up more than a great celebration full of community, and of course a lovely design.
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From Maui to Iceland and everywhere in between, Antonia has seen (and planned!) it all. Antonia is a 24 year veteran of the wedding and social events industry where she has made a name for herself as a destination planner. Named one of Destination Weddings and Honeymoons top 7 planners in the world in 2013, she has loved expanding her brand with a keen attention to detail and impeccable client experiences. Seen in the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings, Destination I Do, Brides, Bridal Guide and more.
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Do you feel like the industry charges more “because it’s a wedding” and they know it’s an emotional purchase?
Do companies think that they can charge more for weddings since the bride and groom may be willing to spend more on their dream wedding?
Hey wedding pros – is this higher price tag justified? Why? Do you charge more for your service if it is a wedding?
This is a taboo topic, whispered but not discussed… until now.
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