Wedding Reception Forum

Alternative Reception Timeline

A lot of the model "reception timelines" I have found for afternoon/evening receptions have the first dance be the very first thing the couple does after their entrance, followed then by dinner. 

Personally, I'd really prefer that, after the wedding party entrance, my parents can do a quick "thank you all for coming" announcement, say the blessing, and we can go right into dinner. Once we get dinner going, then we can have the BM and MOH toast, and as dinner is finished, then we can segue into the dancing (spotlight dances, then open up the dance floor to all). After about an hour of dancing then we would cut the cake. 

Does this make sense? For some reason I just really dislike the idea of having the first dance happen first thing. I can't really explain why, I just think that I'd rather have it put in with the other dances -- it just seems to flow better in my mind. 

Has anybody done something similar, and what did the timeline look like if that was the case? 
                    


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Re: Alternative Reception Timeline

  • ei34ei34 member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Weddings I've attended the couple's first dance is immediately following WP intro to open up the dance floor, because there's some dancing before dinner.  (Maybe that's regional?)  Your plan sounds fine though, as long as the spotlight dances (I guess you and FI and then you and your dad/FI and his mom) aren't too long...I feel like if the songs were too long or there were lots of spotlight dances your guests might start to feel forced to just sit and watch.
  • TyvmTyvm member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer Name Dropper
    We're probably going to be doing a near identical timeline to this one, as the ceremony begins at 6pm. So hopefully cocktail hour 6:30-7:30p, couple announced at 7:30p, and then dinner right after. Toasts during dinner, then cut the cake, first dance, spotlight dances, open dancing.

    Nothing crazy about that at all!
    OR IS THERE?!


    k thnx bye

    tigerlily6
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    DD and SIL cut the wedding cake immediately after their entrance. That way you aren't interrupting the dancing to cut the cake. It worked well. 
    OurWildKingdomInLoveInQueens
  • DD and SIL cut the wedding cake immediately after their entrance. That way you aren't interrupting the dancing to cut the cake. It worked well. 
    That's the one thing I was going to suggest.  I like the idea of waiting until later to do the first dance, but the cake shouldn't be cut an hour into dancing.  One, people who want to get away from the loud music and dancing will want to leave before the cake is cut.  And if you need the servers to cut the cake into servings for people to eat, they should have the dinner hour to do so.
    OurWildKingdomtigerlily6
  • I also did the first dance AFTER dinner, as a way to open up the dance floor.

    We did:

    • Cocktail hour ending (bride and groom joined cocktail hour about half way through)
    • Everyone gets seated for dinner (people asked by wedding coordinator to make their way into the reception room...once people start going that way, everyone gets the hint). No intros were done.
    • "Welcome" toast by parents--literally about 20 seconds long
    • First course served
    • 2 quick toasts (about 2 minutes each) between first and main course
    • Main course served
    • Table visits by the bride and groom as main course was being cleared away
    • Cake cutting...
    • Right into first dance
    • Spotlight dance
    • Then the dance floor was open for the rest of the night, and no more "official" stuff happening. 
    • Cake was served at the tables a little while after the dance floor opened. Some people clearly left right after cake, and didn't stay for the last hour or two of dancing. 

    The only thing I think is odd about your proposal is that usually SOMETHING happens after intros, when they're done. It seems odd to have intros, then just go sit down. 

  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Tyvm said:
    We're probably going to be doing a near identical timeline to this one, as the ceremony begins at 6pm. So hopefully cocktail hour 6:30-7:30p, couple announced at 7:30p, and then dinner right after. Toasts during dinner, then cut the cake, first dance, spotlight dances, open dancing.

    Nothing crazy about that at all!
    OR IS THERE?!
    We did this, except after announcements we cut the cake so it could be served as dessert. After dessert we did our first dance, parent dances, and that opened the dance floor. Today's were during the salad course. 
    ________________________________


    OurWildKingdomtigerlily6
  • MandyMost said:
    I also did the first dance AFTER dinner, as a way to open up the dance floor.

    We did:

    • Cocktail hour ending (bride and groom joined cocktail hour about half way through)
    • Everyone gets seated for dinner (people asked by wedding coordinator to make their way into the reception room...once people start going that way, everyone gets the hint). No intros were done.
    • "Welcome" toast by parents--literally about 20 seconds long
    • First course served
    • 2 quick toasts (about 2 minutes each) between first and main course
    • Main course served
    • Table visits by the bride and groom as main course was being cleared away
    • Cake cutting...
    • Right into first dance
    • Spotlight dance
    • Then the dance floor was open for the rest of the night, and no more "official" stuff happening. 
    • Cake was served at the tables a little while after the dance floor opened. Some people clearly left right after cake, and didn't stay for the last hour or two of dancing. 

    The only thing I think is odd about your proposal is that usually SOMETHING happens after intros, when they're done. It seems odd to have intros, then just go sit down. 

    @MandyMost, I really like your timeline! I agree that it seems weird to just have intros then go to sit down, so we may avoid that by just joining in the end of the cocktail hour like it sounds you did. The schedule is still very much a work in progress, and it helps to see what others have done. 

    We're doing a buffet dinner, so I'm trying to figure out how to put BM and MOH toasts in there since there isn't really a "first course, main course" the same way there is with served dinners. 
                        


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  • adk19 said:
    DD and SIL cut the wedding cake immediately after their entrance. That way you aren't interrupting the dancing to cut the cake. It worked well. 
    That's the one thing I was going to suggest.  I like the idea of waiting until later to do the first dance, but the cake shouldn't be cut an hour into dancing.  One, people who want to get away from the loud music and dancing will want to leave before the cake is cut.  And if you need the servers to cut the cake into servings for people to eat, they should have the dinner hour to do so.
    Thanks! This is a good suggestion. I think we are opting for cupcakes, so hopefully they should be ready for guests quickly since servers won't need to cut them. But I like the idea of doing the cake cutting early on before the dancing -- like you said, I know some people may not want to wait around through the music and it also is kind of strange to interrupt the dancing for it. 
                        


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  • kvrunskvruns member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Your timeline is exactly what we did except we did cake right after spotlight dances we didn't have a break between them. That way people who weren't planning to stay long still got cupcakes 
    tigerlily6
  • MandyMost said:
    I also did the first dance AFTER dinner, as a way to open up the dance floor.

    We did:

    • Cocktail hour ending (bride and groom joined cocktail hour about half way through)
    • Everyone gets seated for dinner (people asked by wedding coordinator to make their way into the reception room...once people start going that way, everyone gets the hint). No intros were done.
    • "Welcome" toast by parents--literally about 20 seconds long
    • First course served
    • 2 quick toasts (about 2 minutes each) between first and main course
    • Main course served
    • Table visits by the bride and groom as main course was being cleared away
    • Cake cutting...
    • Right into first dance
    • Spotlight dance
    • Then the dance floor was open for the rest of the night, and no more "official" stuff happening. 
    • Cake was served at the tables a little while after the dance floor opened. Some people clearly left right after cake, and didn't stay for the last hour or two of dancing. 

    The only thing I think is odd about your proposal is that usually SOMETHING happens after intros, when they're done. It seems odd to have intros, then just go sit down. 

    @MandyMost, I really like your timeline! I agree that it seems weird to just have intros then go to sit down, so we may avoid that by just joining in the end of the cocktail hour like it sounds you did. The schedule is still very much a work in progress, and it helps to see what others have done. 

    We're doing a buffet dinner, so I'm trying to figure out how to put BM and MOH toasts in there since there isn't really a "first course, main course" the same way there is with served dinners. 
    I'd do the toasts about 15 minutes after everyone has had a chance to get their food. No one wants to sit there and wait for the toasts before they get their food, when they can see it sitting there! And most people won't want to be eating while the toasts are happening, so you want to give people a chance to eat.

    The other option is to do the toasts BEFORE the buffet opens, but I"d only do this if you have substantial food at your cocktail hour and the buffet isn't visible!
    poodledoodleooo
  • We have a similar plan and my venue said it was becoming more common.

    Our timeline will be cocktail hour, followed by dinner, followed by toasts, then the cake cutting, and finally our first dance "opening" the dance floor.

    We thought it would smooth the transition between dinner and party time.
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