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Wedding Reception Timeline: Making Charleston Couples Happy

16 August 2017

Having a wedding reception timeline  ensure that your wedding reception and the events leading up to it will run smoothly. The timeline should serve as a framework or guide for all the scheduled elements you'd like to see occur during the course of the single most biggest day of your life. At Mike Bills Entertainment, I am a strong proponent for the hiring of a wedding planner / coordinator to oversee this extremely important of your wedding day. All brides and grooms should allocate resources into their wedding budget for a planner or coordinator. If you truly want the absolute less stress possible for your wedding day, an experienced wedding planner or coordinator will take care of EVERYTHING and all details leading up to (including the creation of the best timeline for you and your guests), as well as all the other details for the biggest day of your life. The last thing that you want to be is a bride who wakes up at 4:30am, drags herself out of bed and drives over to her wedding venue in a fog to set up her wedding reception. Seriously, what kind of fun would that be?

All brides should wake up on the morning of their wedding feeling refreshed with an eventual mimosa in her hand and to be in the company of all her favorite girls. It should be a very casual time for every bride in the hours leading up to her wedding ceremony and reception. All grooms should also be casually waking up with their groomsman eventually coming around and be sipping on beers and other adult beverages. Wedding coordinators and planners have various different pacakges, but I can promise you that you will be a stress-free happy bride and groom if you hire one, plus almost all of the best wedding venues in Charleston are requiring a wedding planner under contract with the bride when she books the venue. But, let's get back on topic, the wedding reception timeline. :) I recently met with a bride and groom and these were some of the questions that were brought up in regards to their wedding reception timeline.

Should I consider having a receiving line?
Having a receiving line is an excellent way to ensure that you get to greet each and every at your wedding reception. If you don't have a receiving line, then it makes it more difficult for you to speak with each and every guest, plus you'll be pulled into numerous different directions by guests and you might forget someone.

At what time should we do our first dance / father-daughter dance / mother-son dance?
There are a few ways you can do this. Some couples want the full and total spotlight on them for the first dance. As a result, the bridal party can be introduced, then we can fade into the first dance, then start the wedding reception and possibly come out of your dinner with the faither-daughter dance and mother-son dance after the toasts and kick off the dancing afterwards. Another option is we can do all three dances in a row before dinner after the bridal party introduction.

How and when should the toasts occur?
Brides and grooms come to me and tell me they have been at wedding receptions where the microphone all of a sudden gets passed around from guest to guest and before they know it, 30-40 minutes have passed by and the momentum of the day has been affected. They can avoid this by designating the folks (in advance) that they would like to hear from for the toasts. You can really narrow things down just to the best man and matron / maid of honor as the only guests to conduct the toasts.

When is a good time to cut the cake?
If you are having a plated meal at your wedding reception, then the cutting of the cake usually takes place before dessert is served. If you are doing buffet-style stations, the cake cutting is usually scheduled after the dancing has begun, but before most all of your guests have left.

Do I have to do a bouquet and garter toss?
I have personally seen this tradition decline greatly in recent years. It is completely optional whether or not you do the bouquet and garter toss, but if you do, you should try ot schedule it as the tempo of the evening is still on the upswing and the majority of your guests are still there. This may be 30-45 minutes after the dancing portion of the evening has begun (after dinner and after the cake has been cut). Some brides and grooms think that these traditions are "cheesy", and some might not have enough singles present to justify it being any fun. It is completely up to you, but it is NOT mandatory and can certainly be left off of your timeline. But if you are doing these traditions, make sure the bouquet is in a location not too far from your DJ and make sure you are still wearing your garter. Since this is also a great photo-op moment, make the sure the DJ and photographer are on the same page and maybe even do a few fake tosses just to get the perfect photo for your photo album.

How should we set up our send-off or "grand-finale"?
When do you need to be out of your wedding venue? What does your contract say? You can discuss this with your wedding planner / coordinator, but if your contract states you need to be off the premises by midnight, then you should plan for a 4 hour reception from 7-11pm. Sparklers, glow sticks, bubbles are popular ways to conduct the grand finale. I'll mention it again. After the send-off, do you really want to walk back into the venue and begin disassembling your wedding reception? After the biggest day of your life, do you really want to fold up chairs, and break down tables? Do you really think you'll have the energy to do that? As you exit the venue during the sned-off, you should immediately be loaded into a luxury cab (Charleston Black Cab Company) and be taken away to wherever your heart desires to enjoy your first moments as husband and wife away from the wedding reception. How can you achieve this? You guessed it. Hire a wedding planner or coordinator to take care of all the details of your wedding day so you don't lift a finger. There are some great ones on my preferred vendors page.

All in all, the wedding timeline is meant to be a guide or "framework" of the flow for the evening. If you are employing a wedidng planner or coordinator, you are in good hands! A qualified planner or coordinator will create the perfect timeline for your Charleston wedding and make sure it's executed properly with all your vendors. There should not be any panic in the event that you get off course at any point during your wedding day, just allow some extra some timefor any unforeseen issues that might cause delays. My apologies for sounding like a broken record, but get that wedding planner or coordinator into your budget so that you both can enjoy every single aspect of your wedding day.  There are some top notch wedding planners and coordinators on my preferred vendors pages that will execute your weddfing day perfectly so that your wedding in Charleston is the best and most memorable ever. Are you ready to begin exploring who your DJ will be at your wedding? Are you enjoying this blog? Click HERE and let's begin a discussion about the music for your wedding.