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 A Typical Wedding Reception Timeline 

 A Typical Wedding Reception Timeline 

16 December 2022 / Caius Symboll®

A Typical Wedding Reception Timeline

After the vows have been exchanged, the documents have been signed and you’re now officially married, there will be a need to celebrate. With the weeks and months of planning, things going to plan is a reason to celebrate one of the most special days of your life. A typical wedding reception allows you to break bread with those you love, share a meal and a drink, and have as much fun doing so.

Your ultimate wedding timeline breakdown

16 December 2022 / Caius Symboll®

Lunch/Dinner Invite

This will involve inviting your guests to take their seats at the reception tent, ballroom, or space. The MC makes the announcement and a seating arrangement plan comes in handy, ensuring that your guests are as comfortable as possible. Also, ensure the locations are well-marked and easy to find and read.

Couple’s Entrance

Here, the couple enters the wedding reception venue for the celebrations. Depending on different cultures, the parents, the wedding party, and the new couple are introduced. This usually takes fifteen minutes max, if the wedding party isn’t big. Some cultures, however, like African weddings, will have a more elaborate, time-consuming process involving dancing, singing, and participation from the guests. You will notice that culture if you incorporate it into your wedding, will need you to adjust your schedule to please your guests without ruining your wedding reception timeline.


First Dance

This is done after the introduction and involves a brief dance between the couple. They can dance to their favorite song or one that has special memories for them, it’s also a good icebreaker for the crowd to enjoy and have something to do.

Meal Prayer

This is often a cue for the caterer to ready themselves for the incoming food service. Based on your religious affiliation, you can either have your religious official conduct the prayer for the food or a loved one.


After the prayer, the MC will guide the wedding guests toward the catering area. Depending on the guest list and number of courses, this is usually an hour-long process in your wedding reception timeline and is a good place for your guest to interact over food and drinks as the afternoon progresses. This allows the wedding party to make any outfit changes if necessary, some couples may want to switch to more comfortable clothing or even cultural regalia and makeup depending on culture, and this allows them time as the guest enjoy their meal. 



After the meal, and the guests and wedding party are done, there are usually toasts by select people to celebrate the couple and wish them well. To stick to your wedding reception timeline ensure that speakers are aware of a time limit to ensure that you are able to maintain the schedule.


These are usually done in the leadup to the cake cutting although you are free to make changes to suit your preference. Here the couple dances alongside parents, guests, and everyone has a good time. Makeup and hair will be affected by dancing so ensure that the dancing is done after all formal photography is done. Your photographer and videographer will especially love this part, because it will provide them with a lot of candid shots of your ceremony. Remember that family, colleagues, and friends will want to have a dance, so ensure that it doesn’t eat too much into the rest of the program.


Cake Cutting

This is one of the highlights of the entire wedding, alongside the vows. Usually, the cake is cut and the couple feed slices to each other, and parents and select guests. Some couples will have cake pre-packed and shared with the guests, who will be waiting for this occasion, as in most cultures it is acceptable to leave after. If gifting is an important part of your culture then slotting it before the cake is cut ensures that the couple are able to receive them before guests leave.  


Bouquet Toss

Some couples are choosing to skip this part of the ceremony altogether, but if it’s your thing, then you can arrange for it to happen. The bouquet toss is another favorite of photographers and videographers, as it enables them to capture the fun, smiles, and laughs that happen during this time.


Grand Exit

This is the informal end to the ceremony, as the couple is ushered out to a spray of confetti, and as the guests show and share their love and best wishes for them. The couple can perform the last dance, make an actual exit, and at this point, guests are free to leave at their own pleasure, and it symbolizes the end of the ceremony.


As a bonus event by the couple, guests who wish to remain behind are welcome to join the party where it’s an informal, merry celebration of the couple with drinks, more bitings and more dancing, speeches, and games. This party usually ends when it does, and the couple and their guest retreat to rest after a very involving and special day for them.



When planning a wedding reception timeline, you or your wedding planner need to have a structure that you follow. It is a very fun part of the wedding, but it also requires planning and order so that everything on the list can be accomplished within the set timelines.

We would be glad to help you answer any questions you might have about planning your wedding and having a reception that is in line with your dream ceremony. Talk to us about a quote and we will be happy to help.


Your Memories

At Symboll, our photographers have been trained in all aspects of photography, from lighting and posing to photo editing. They will make sure that your special day is captured beautifully so you can cherish it forever. And our customer service team is always available if you need help or have any questions. Sit back and relax knowing everything will be taken care of by people who love their job as much as they love helping brides-to-be like yourself! Contact us below to start your adventure.


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