Monday, February 4, 2008

Reception Timeline & Tips

The reception timeline is a big detail, among other big details, that I keep putting off. I guess it's about time to begin to nail it down.
So, I turned to Martha and her "50 Tips for the Perfect Reception." Here's how Martha says the night should go down (assuming the cocktail hour starts at 5pm):

5:00 Cocktail hour starts.
6:00 The bride and groom enter the reception, are formally announced, and usually have their first dance.
6:30 If the reception is a sit-down meal, the first course is served. The host's welcome and best man's toast kick things off.
7:30 The main course is served.
8:00 The bride and groom dance with their parents, and guests join in.
8:50 The cake is cut.
9:00 Cake and dessert are served.
9:45 The bouquet is tossed.
10:00 The bride and groom depart.
Tip #49 from Martha: Leave in Style

( photo via bobbi + mike)

Other tips from Martha that lead to a great reception:

#27. Put Big Smiles on Little Faces:Young guests will enjoy goody bags that are all theirs. Fill a toteable container like ours with treats that aren't messy, such as age-appropriate toys, or animal crackers and Smarties. Add paper and washable crayons, and kids might even create one-of-a-kind cards for the bride and groom.

#28. Eschew the Receiving Line: If you will be hosting more than 50 people, the traditional meet-and-greet can take an hour or more. For groups of this size, it's more gracious of the newlyweds to thank guests by visiting every table.

#29. Tame the Toasts: An unplanned ramble can interrupt the flow of a party and make everyone uncomfortable. Encourage spur-of-the-moment speeches at the rehearsal dinner so the reception includes only words from the host, the newlyweds, and the best man and maid of honor. If you're concerned that your speakers may overindulge, schedule toasts to take place early in the festivities.

Not too shabby Martha.
What are some reception tips that should have made the list? How are you structuring your reception timeline?


Jennifer said...

Martha is spot on, as always. But I did find in the last few wedding a change in this formula that could be a fabulous option.

8:00 Cake Cutting
8:10 while the cake is being served, Toasts, Thanks You's from Bride and Groom, and Father/Daughter Mother/Son dances
9:45 Bouquet and Garter Toss
10:00 The bride and groom depart.

at all three weddings we did this set up, the dancing was uninterupted and lasted all night. Good Luck ~Jennifer

jessica said...

hmm, this is a good base, but changes drastically if you are planning a wedding overseas. my wedding will be in switzerland and we wont be arriving for dinner until about 7 30, because there is an aperitif beforehand. and then we probably end eating around 12, let old people and kids go home, and the rest stay. i completely agree about shucking the receiving line though. thanks for this.