Wedding Reception Styles
BREAKFAST OR BRUNCH
There is less time for you to get ready.
If you've got a band or DJ for dancing, many guests may be less likely to get up and "boogie" during the day.
This is the least expensive.
The guests aren't offered a full meal
COCKTAIL PARTY or "APPETISER ONLY" RECEPTION
Still in the evening, can be formal or informal.
The guests aren't offered a full meal, even though it is dinnertime.
Advantages: This is typically the most common time for a reception.
Guests are often in "party mode" and ready to dance the night away.
This is typically the most formal.
This is typically the most expensive reception type.
Here is an example of an itinerary for a four-hour reception that begins at 5:00pm:
Florist arrives to set up table centrepieces and other floral decorations.
DJ arrives and sets up equipment.
Wedding Coordinator (or designated person) arrives to set up place cards, favours, toasting flutes and cake knife, guest book with pen.
Wedding cake arrives and is set up.
Wedding guests arrive. Cocktail hour begins. Waiters serve trays of champagne and hors d'oeuvres to guests
Bride & Groom arrive and are escorted outside to take formal photographs on the lawn. All family members and wedding party gathers outside for photographs. Make sure all the family members and wedding attendants know where and when! You don't want to waste any time trying to track down people to be in pictures.
Bride and Groom, wedding party and parents of bride and groom gather in side room to "line up" for announcements.
Toastmaster/designated person says the blessing.
Caterer begins serving champagne to the tables for the champagne+ toast.
Toastmaster/designated person introduces the Best Man who will give the toast to the bride and groom.
Cocktail hour ends. (Cash bar begins). DJ to announce that dinner is served and asks that all guests be seated.
Dinner is served.
Toastmaster/designated person will make formal announcements.
Bride & Groom cut the cake.
Cake and coffee are served to guests.
Bride and Groom's first dance.
DJ announces Bride to dance with her father.
DJ announces Groom to dance with his mother.
DJ announces wedding party dance.
DJ plays song, Bride and Groom and wedding party dances. DJ invites all guests to join in.
DJ announces the Bride's bouquet toss. A nice alternative to the bouquet toss is for the Bride to "dedicate her bouquet" to someone special - maybe her mother or best friend. The bride can say a few words and then give (not throw) her bouquet away. This is a very tasteful and sentimental alternative... be prepared for a few tears.
Bride and Groom's last dance.
Bride and Groom say goodnight and leave for honeymoon destination or hotel.
Parents of the Bride (or other designated person) gather all the gifts, wedding presents and other items.
Here's the list of things to do and items you may need to bring home after the reception! Remember, this is still YOUR day even after the reception is over...so ask someone ahead of time to take care of these items for you!
After the Reception Checklist
All suppliers have been paid
Cake knife returned
Gifts taken home
All formal wear returned
Guest book and pen taken home
Left over decorations cleared away
Left over favours cleared away
Left over flowers/table centrepieces cleared away
Left over food cleared away
Rented items (i.e. Cake top, pillars, stand) returned
Top layer of the cake taken homeWedding dress (If changing into going away outfit) taken home
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