I’ve created a suggested timeline for a wedding reception below. This is based on the experience I have photographing weddings and seeing what previous couples have done that I thought worked really well.
If you had a first look and were able to get all photos done before the ceremony, you can head straight into the reception! If not, we’ll take about a hour - hour and a half to get all of the photos that we need. This is a great time to have a cocktail hour for your wedding guests.
If you’re having a wedding that involves more than 30 guests, I HIGHLY suggest having a plate of food made for the bride and groom, and eating in a separate area before the reception . Not only does this allow for you to actually have time to eat your dinner, but it allows for you two to have a little time to yourself on your wedding day.
The following is the order I suggest for the rest of the reception after dinner:
- couple’s entrance
- first dance
- other first dances (bride & father, groom & mother, etc.)
- take some time to mingle with your guests
- cut the cake
- garter & bouquet toss
Once you start traditions like cake cutting or toasts, I suggest to continue with the other things that you have planned since you have your guest's attention, and you don’t have to keep interrupting them. Another thing that I highly suggest is having a fake exit, especially if you’re wanting your reception to continue late. Be sure to have your DJ or whoever announce that it’s a fake exit so that your guests don’t think they’re getting kicked out afterward!
Traditions to keep your guests moving!
Over the years, I’ve seen some fun traditions that my couples have included in their receptions that kept the guests active and on the dance floor!
For this, all married couples get on the dance floor. The DJ will ask for all couples who have been married two years or less, to leave the dance floor. And so on until there is one couple left who has been married the longest! This is such a sweet tradition and I always love seeing the couple who has been married the longest.
This one is so fun, and you get money! Pick a special song and during this one song, guests have to give you money to be able to dance with you!
Table to Table Song
As a photographer, I love this one! This is a super fun way to get a photo with your guests! You pick one song and you have until the end of the song to jump from table to table to snap a photo with the guests at that table!