Timeline for a Wedding Reception

LDS wedding reception timeline from WeddingLDS.com
Photo Courtesy of JarvieDigital.com

When the Big Day finally arrives, you want everything to happen perfectly, without a hitch! While small hiccups will inevitably come up, you can dramatically increase the odds of your wedding and reception going smoothly if you take the time to plan out exactly how you want your big day to unfold. That means drawing up a detailed schedule for what should take place when and making sure everyone has a copy and knows his or her responsibilities.

Depending on whether you’re holding a morning, afternoon or evening wedding, including a wedding luncheon or breakfast, or even having the reception on a separate day, your schedule could be completely different than the ones in this article. Just adjust the times accordingly and make it work for you! The schedule below is fairly generic and should work with either a LDS Temple Sealing or a traditional church wedding.
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Wedding Reception Timeline from WeddingLDS.com

3 hours before the reception

timeline for a wedding reception
Photo Courtesy of Amelia Lyon Photography

3:00 Expect decorating the average cultural hall or other reception hall to take three to four hours. Of course, this will depend on the exact location, whether you’re using professional vendors, number of guest and how many tables, flowers, and overall decorations you’re using. If you’re hosting a backyard reception and have to transport your own tables and chairs, add loading and transit time.

2 hours before the reception

4:00 Band arrives for setup and cake is delivered. Decoration, food preparation and setup is ongoing.

1 hour before the reception

5:00 Wedding party arrives at reception.
5:30 Decorations and all setup should be complete.

Reception itself

6:00 Reception begins as guests arrive

wedding reception timeline
Photo Courtesy of Whitney Lewis Photography

6:30 Welcome by the father of the bride and wedding party introductions
6:50 First dance as husband and wife
7:00 Pre-dinner prayer and dinner is served
8:15 Father/daughter dance
8:20 Mother/son dance
8:30 Cake cutting
8:45 Toasts
9:00 Games, if desired
9:15 General dancing
10:30 Bouquet toss and garter toss
10:40 Guests line up for send-off
10:45 Send-off

Any of these times can be adjusted to fit your special circumstances! You can leave out the games, schedule more time for dancing, omit the garter toss, or add a “cocktail hour” at the beginning. Do whatever makes your day truly yours!

Congratulations! You made it through your Big Day!

♥ Emily H. Geddes
Exclusively for WeddingLDS.com
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