How to Plan a Wedding Reception Timeline

When you start with a well-designed foundation, finalizing your wedding reception timeline will be a breeze. The sample timeline below is based on a commonly used traditional format starting with a ceremony at 4:00 p.m. followed by a reception ending at 10:00 p.m. However, feel free to alter this sample to your liking. If your ceremony and reception will take place in different locations, tweak this timeline slightly to factor in travel time for you and your guests from one location to the next.

Ceremony & Cocktail Hour

4:00 p.m. – Ceremony starts
4:45 p.m. – Ceremony ends and cocktail hour begins right after
6:00 p.m. – Cocktail hour ends and guests are signaled to take their seats


6:15 p.m. – Emcee introduces wedding party and newlyweds
6:20 p.m. – Bride and groom take their first dance upon entrance
6:25 p.m. – Welcome speech and/or blessing
6:30 p.m. – Dinner service begins
7:00 p.m. – Toasts
7:30 p.m. – Father-daughter dance and mother-son dance, respectively
7:45 p.m. – Guests are invited to dance
8:30 p.m. – Cake cutting
9:45 p.m. – Last call
9:55 p.m. – Last song and newlywed’s grand exit
10:00 p.m. – Reception ends, guests depart, and breakdown begins
11:00 p.m. – Breakdown complete

Featured Cover Image via White Willow Paper{"url":"","count":878})


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