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What is the order of activities during the reception?

scroll1Which comes first, the throwing of the bouquet or cutting of the cake?  Everyone does it different but having a plan as to how everything should be done during your reception helps keep the event running smoothly.  Usually your DJ will help you plan out the order of events but here is a basic guideline to go by.

Your wedding reception is a time to celebrate the beautiful union of a husband and wife and also a time to celebrate that the stress of planning and pulling off a wedding is finally over! While there is a suggested order of events that has been used traditionally, you can certainly choose to customize any portion of it to fit your personal circumstances, but keep in mind that this order has worked successfully for countless couples and is likely what your guests will expect.

Suggested order of events at the wedding reception:

1. The guests arrive at the reception. They may be there for a while before the wedding party arrives due to wedding photos being taken so you will want to have drinks and hors d’oeuvres ready for them to enjoy.

2. The wedding party arrives. You may wish to have the DJ announce the Bride and Groom only or the entire wedding party.

3. Toasts. This time honored tradition allows kind words of encouragement to the Bride and Groom and sets the tone for the reception. The Best Man offers a toast first and may be followed by the Maid of Honor and possibly other family members such as the Bride’s father, but you will want to consider how long to leave the guests waiting before dinner.

4. Blessing of the meal. The DJ should ask everyone to take their seats for dinner before the blessing. The blessing can said by the Bride or Groom’s father or Grandfather or other special person that the Bride and Groom choose.

5. Dinner is served. Whether this will be a buffet or sit down meal, the Bride and Groom are served first followed by the wedding party and parents. Then the DJ may want to call tables up one by one if it is a buffet, otherwise the guests should be served at this time.

6. The Bride and Groom’s first dance. This is the time your song is set for life. You will always remember this first dance together.

7. The Daddy-Daughter dance and any other special dances. Daddy gets his “last dance” with his little girl. You may want to make this just the first part of a song and then the DJ can announce the wedding party as they enter the dance floor, or you can do two separate songs. After this you want all the guests to join in on the dance floor as soon as possible so they don’t become lethargic after dinner and want to leave too early.

8. The tossing of the bouquet and garter. The bride tosses the bouquet over her shoulder to all the single ladies, keep in mind that single means “never married” and not divorced and the groom tosses the garter to all the single men. The lucky guy who catches the garter then gets to place it on the leg of the lucky lady who caught the bouquet.
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9. Cutting of the cake. Now the DJ can announce the cutting of the cake. The Bride and Groom make the first cut together and then serve each other a piece with their fingers. This is a great photo op. Someone else, even the kitchen help, can then cut and serve the cake to the guests or place the slices on the dessert table for people to eat when they want or wrap up and take home.

10.  The money dance .  Guests make an offering for the opportunity to dance with the bride or groom. This gesture is a way of wishing good fortune upon the newly married couple as well as helping them out financially. Attendants may help by organizing the line-up of guests and signaling when it is time to change partners. They might also help by pinning the money on the bride and groom before each dance. Children as well as adults of all ages can enjoy the money dance. Once the money dance starts, it is best to let it continue until everyone who wants to has had a chance to participate. When the dwindles down to zero, the bride and groom may finish the last song by dancing together. The DJ will then often open the dance floor to everyone.

It is best to have the money dance immediately after any other special dances, earlier on in the party before open dancing — and before your guests leave!  

11. Dance until they drop. Now guests should feel free to dance and party until their hearts content. The Bride and Groom are free to dance or leave early if they have a plane to catch or just want to get the honeymoon started.

By the way it is best if toasts and cake cutting, bouquet and garter tosses take place before the special dances. It’s not effective to interrupt open dancing to go to cake cutting and return to open dancing. This causes a loss of momentum. It is best if one event flows smoothly and quickly into the next.

Once again, this order is just a suggestion because this is your big day and everything should be planned to make it feel right for you. The most important thing is to just enjoy yourself and take some time to remember what is really important about this day-you got married. Everything else is really secondary to that.

 

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