First things first? The Wedding Day Preparation and Coordination course is now live! Thank you to everyone that enrolled in November – I really hope you get a lot out of the course! I’ve spent the last few weeks coming up with a curriculum that I think will benefit coordinators at all levels (and maybe even some brides). It’s surreal (and slightly terrifying) to see it actually getting used.
If you haven’t signed up for the Wedding Preparation and Coordination online course, you can do so here!
Here is a little snippet from the lecture on Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline on how to plan out the reception. This is just a small portion of what is included in the course (a sneak peek from a portion of one of over a dozen lectures).
- Always give your guests enough time to get from one place to the next! Even if the cocktail hour and reception are taking place right next to each other, they will likely take some time to get seated. Give them enough time to get from point A to point B and find their table.
- Collect those participating in the grand entrance after they have found their seat, so there is no confusion as to where they are supposed to go after they formally enter. Try and get everyone together at least 5 minutes before the grand entrance is set to begin.
- If your couple has multiple courses and many toasts, it may be a good idea to try and schedule some of the toasts in between courses. If you decide to do toasts in between courses, you will want champagne poured before guests are seated or during the first course. Otherwise, schedule the champagne to start being poured 15 minutes before the first toast.
- If there is a large cake to be cut, try to schedule the bouquet and garter toss immediately after the cake cutting to give the catering staff enough time to cut and serve the cake!
- Be sure to ask the venue if the grand exit, such as the sparkler exit, needs to be done before the conclusion of the reception, or if it can be done after the music is turned off.
Reception Events and Estimated Timing
- Grand entrance 15 minutes
- Welcome (from couple) 5 minutes
- Welcome (parent) 10+ minutes
- First dance 5 minutes
- Parent dances 10 minutes (both)
- Cake cutting 10 minutes
- Bouquet toss 5 minutes
- Garter toss 5 minutes
- Sparkler exit 15 minutes
The bride(s) and/or groom(s) should not raise a glass during the toasts or when they speak! It’s considered bad etiquette. The exception would be if someone is toasting exclusively to one or the other – then the partner can raise a glass to their new spouse.
Dinner Service Estimated Timing (for 100 guests)*
- Appetizer course 20 minutes
- Salad course 20 minutes
- Entree course 40 minutes
- Dessert course 20 minutes
- Buffet 60 minutes
- Family service 60 minutes
*You will definitely want to check with your caterer as to what they recommend for dinner service timing!
- 6:15 p.m. Guests seated
- 6:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Grand entrance
- 6:30 p.m. to 6:35 p.m. Welcome from couple
- 6:35 p.m. Salad course served
- 6:55 p.m. Entree served
- 7:20 p.m. Begin pouring champagne
- 7:35 p.m. Toasts (Maid of Honor, Best Man, Father of the Bride, Father of the Groom x 5 minutes each)
- 7:55 p.m. First dance
- 8:00 p.m. Mother/son and father/daughter dances
- 8:10 p.m. Open dancing
- 8:40 p.m. Cake cutting
- 8:50 p.m. Bouquet toss
- 8:55 p.m. Garter toss
- 9:00 p.m. Cake served at table settings
- 11:00 p.m. Music ends
- 11:00 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. Sparkler exit
- 12:00 a.m. All guests must be off site
- 2:00 a.m. All vendors must be off site