Today I met with a young couple planning their wedding and they wanted me to help them with their timeline. They have never been to a wedding before and were not show in the order in which things should happen.
Here is the list I gave them for a typical 4 hour wedding for me in South Florida.
6:30 - Ceremony
Here we play songs for guests as they sit and wait, for the bridal party and bride entrance, and for the couple once they are married.
7:00 - Cocktail Hour
Usually we come up with a nice playlist of songs based on the client's preference.
8:00 - Reception Starts
Guests coming in and sit at their tables.
8:15 - Grand Entrance
Here is a sample of the line up:
- Parents of the Bride (optional)
- Parents of the Groom (optional)
- Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
- Flower Girl & Ring Bearer
- Maid of Honor & Best Man
- Bride & Groom
Usually we play a specific song for the wedding party and a different one for the newlyweds. It's up to you if you want the bridal party to line up by the dance floor and wait for the bride and groom to come in. This looks nice and it's an opportunity for some nice photos.
8:20 - First Dance
Dance to your favorite love song.
8:25 - Parent Dances
Bride and father first; Groom and mother next.
8:40 - Toast and Speeches
The Bestman and Maid of Honor usually do this. Father of the bride sometimes likes to say a few words. A blessing can also be done at this point right before dinner.
8:50 - Dinner Starts
Get something to eat first then you can go around tables saying thanks and taking photos. Your photographer will have a game plan for this.
9:00 - Cake Cutting
I like doing this at the end of dinner, but it's up to you if you want to do it later. I just hate to interrupt the party once the dancing starts... kind of kills the dance vibe.
9:15 - Dance Floor Opens
We turn up the music and get everyone dancing.
10:15 - Bouquet Toss and Garter Removal
A fun activity.
11:00 - Reception Ends
Check with the venue as they sometimes like the DJ to stop 5 or 10 minutes before.