Wedding Reception Forum

Reception timeline, does this sound ok?

**revised after reading more posts

5:30pm: ceremony
6pm - 7pm: cocktail hour/photos
7pm - 7:10pm - guests are seated for dinner
7:10pm - cake cutting
7:15pm - 8:15pm, dinner and toasts between courses


We are not having dancing. So at 7pm it will be dinner, speeches, cake and mingling.

As for the speeches, does it sound ok to do them at dinner while guests have their salad? Should it be after everyone is seated but before to food arrives? After dinner? The wedding coordinator at my venue isn't helping much with that. She just tells me, whatever I want to do. So I wanted to find out here what other people do.

We also don't have a DJ (because we can't at the venue) and the staff doesn't do "announcements" SO do we just walk right into the cocktail hour or after guests are seated for dinner? I am just so lost at all of this.

Any ideas/tips/suggestions you may have, I would love :)

Re: Reception timeline, does this sound ok?

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    I'd just walk right in as soon as photos are finished.  If cocktail hour is still going on, just let it go to the end.

    I'd start the speeches once the early courses for dinner have been served.

  • 5:30pm: ceremony
    6pm - 7pm: cocktail hour
    7pm: dinner, cake, mingle, etc

    We are not having dancing. So at 7pm it will be dinner, speeches, cake and mingling.

    As for the speeches, does it sound ok to do them at dinner while guests have their salad? Should it be after everyone is seated but before to food arrives? After dinner? The wedding coordinator at my venue isn't helping much with that. She just tells me, whatever I want to do. So I wanted to find out here what other people do.

    We also don't have a DJ (because we can't at the venue) and the staff doesn't do "announcements" SO do we just walk right into the cocktail hour or after guests are seated for dinner? I am just so lost at all of this.

    Any ideas/tips/suggestions you may have, I would love :)
    No speeches.  You can have Toasts, if people want to give them.  But you should limit the toasts to 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  Any longer than two minutes and you have to have the orchestra play them off and go to commercial.
    PrettyGirlLostMyNameIsNot
  • adk19 said:
    5:30pm: ceremony
    6pm - 7pm: cocktail hour
    7pm: dinner, cake, mingle, etc

    We are not having dancing. So at 7pm it will be dinner, speeches, cake and mingling.

    As for the speeches, does it sound ok to do them at dinner while guests have their salad? Should it be after everyone is seated but before to food arrives? After dinner? The wedding coordinator at my venue isn't helping much with that. She just tells me, whatever I want to do. So I wanted to find out here what other people do.

    We also don't have a DJ (because we can't at the venue) and the staff doesn't do "announcements" SO do we just walk right into the cocktail hour or after guests are seated for dinner? I am just so lost at all of this.

    Any ideas/tips/suggestions you may have, I would love :)
    No speeches.  You can have Toasts, if people want to give them.  But you should limit the toasts to 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  Any longer than two minutes and you have to have the orchestra play them off and go to commercial.

    Sorry, I totally meant toasts :)

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited July 2015
    Ugh, toasts have become speeches.  

    No shit, we had a wedding a few weeks ago and they has "toasts" between courses.   They ended up making us 35 minutes late getting the entrees out because we do not serve food during toasts or speeches.  The kitchen was pissed, the guests grumpy.   Overall it sucked, but it wasn't our fault.  It was the stupid 30+ minute "toasts".


    Did you ask the caterer/venue how long they expect dinner service would be?   An hour seem tight too me, butI forget how many people you have.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    lyndausvi said:
    Ugh, toasts have become speeches.  

    No shit, we had a wedding a few weeks ago and they has "toasts" between courses.   They ended up making us 35 minutes late getting the entrees out because we do not serve food during toasts or speeches.  The kitchen was pissed, the guests grumpy.   Overall it sucked, but it wasn't our fought.  It was the stupid 30+ minute "toasts".


    Did you ask the caterer/venue how long they expect dinner service would be?   An hour seem tight too me, butI forget how many people you have.
    I'd put that on the "speeches" and you guys. . . you guys choose not to serve food during toasts or speeches.  I understand it's a courtesy thing, but if you see guests are getting peckish and annoyed. . .

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    lyndausvi said:
    Ugh, toasts have become speeches.  

    No shit, we had a wedding a few weeks ago and they has "toasts" between courses.   They ended up making us 35 minutes late getting the entrees out because we do not serve food during toasts or speeches.  The kitchen was pissed, the guests grumpy.   Overall it sucked, but it wasn't our fought.  It was the stupid 30+ minute "toasts".


    Did you ask the caterer/venue how long they expect dinner service would be?   An hour seem tight too me, butI forget how many people you have.
    I'd put that on the "speeches" and you guys. . . you guys choose not to serve food during toasts or speeches.  I understand it's a courtesy thing, but if you see guests are getting peckish and annoyed. . .
    I get what you are saying, but we answer to the those who are paying and/or coordinating the event, not the individual event guest.

      15 servers running round dropping entrees on tables at the same time is distracting when the rest of the place is quiet trying to listen to the speaker.  Even though they really don't want to listen at that point.








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer



    lyndausvi said:
    lyndausvi said:
    Ugh, toasts have become speeches.  

    No shit, we had a wedding a few weeks ago and they has "toasts" between courses.   They ended up making us 35 minutes late getting the entrees out because we do not serve food during toasts or speeches.  The kitchen was pissed, the guests grumpy.   Overall it sucked, but it wasn't our fought.  It was the stupid 30+ minute "toasts".


    Did you ask the caterer/venue how long they expect dinner service would be?   An hour seem tight too me, butI forget how many people you have.
    I'd put that on the "speeches" and you guys. . . you guys choose not to serve food during toasts or speeches.  I understand it's a courtesy thing, but if you see guests are getting peckish and annoyed. . .
    I get what you are saying, but we answer to the those who are paying and/or coordinating the event, not the individual event guest.

      15 servers running round dropping entrees on tables at the same time is distracting when the rest of the place is quiet trying to listen to the speaker.  Even though they really don't want to listen at that point.


    Oh I get it.  I would have been walking into the kitchen or grabbing the mic ;-)

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • **revised after reading more posts

    5:30pm: ceremony
    6pm - 7pm: cocktail hour/photos
    7pm - 7:10pm - guests are seated for dinner
    7:10pm - cake cutting
    7:15pm - 8:15pm, dinner and toasts between courses


    We are not having dancing. So at 7pm it will be dinner, speeches, cake and mingling.

    As for the speeches, does it sound ok to do them at dinner while guests have their salad? Should it be after everyone is seated but before to food arrives? After dinner? The wedding coordinator at my venue isn't helping much with that. She just tells me, whatever I want to do. So I wanted to find out here what other people do.

    We also don't have a DJ (because we can't at the venue) and the staff doesn't do "announcements" SO do we just walk right into the cocktail hour or after guests are seated for dinner? I am just so lost at all of this.

    Any ideas/tips/suggestions you may have, I would love :)

    Just walk into cocktail hour and mingle with your guests. When it's time for everyone to get seated, go get seated yourselves and/or give a welcome toast to your guests after everyone is seated (or have someone else, maybe your parents, give a welcome toast after everyone is seated). That's a nice way to "kick off" the reception without any actual announcements. We did this (our parents gave the welcome) and it worked out great.

    If you're having two toasts (and really, more than this is overkill except maybe a welcome toast or blessing) then I'd do them back-to-back between the salad course and the main course. 

    Are you expecting people to leave after dinner, or have more mingling? Is there room for mingling? What time is the event ending? Will dessert be plated right after the main course, or will it be a dessert buffet? If you want people to stay and mingle I'd consider doing a dessert and coffee buffet-style, to encourage people to get up and move around. While you don't have a DJ, do you at least have music? You could always turn up the music a bit as well after dinner.
    soontobemrshamilton
  • @soontobemrshamilton
    I'd love to know more about your reception. My fiance and I aren't big dancers, but we feel so weird saying we didn't want to have dancing.

    We'd prefer mingling since our families do that best lol! We expect about 70 family/close friends. We were going to have an iPod play for background, but no 'dance floor.' I hadn't decided about a first dance or if we'd have one.

    Are you guys doing a first dance?
    soontobemrshamilton
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