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Your Reception Schedule

As with the ceremony, the time goes by quickly, and it's a good idea to make a timetable for yourself, your caterer, musicians and photographer. Of course, this will be just a guideline to help maintain a smooth flow of events, but is especially necessary when you have a time limit on the location. Most receptions last from three to five hours. Adjust your schedule accordingly. Below is a sample schedule:

First Half-hour: Wedding pictures are taken, if they weren't before the ceremony. Guests start arriving, mingling, and getting something to drink. Music has begun.

Second Half-hour to Hour-and-a-half: Receiving line is formed, guests pass through. Guest book is signed, and table cards picked up, if any. Hors d'oeuvres or finger food are passed.

Second Hour: Buffet is announced or guests seated, if you are having a sit down meal. Wedding party is seated and served. Food is served to guests. Best man proposes the first toast.

Third Hour: Any speeches are made by the bride, groom or family. First course is cleared from head table. Bride and groom have the first dance. Guests may follow on the dance floor.

Three-and-a-half Hours: Tables are cleared. Guests may mingle or dance. Musicians announce cake-cutting ceremony. Cake is cut and served. Dance music resumes.

Last Half-hour: Bride throws bouquet. Groom throws the garter. Bride and groom change into going away clothes. Rice, birdseed or dried rose petals are given to guests, if not placed on the table earlier, then tossed on the bride and groom as they run to their car. The bar closes, music stops, and guests start to leave. Parents gather personal belongings and gifts before leaving

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