guests at wedding reception enjoying dances during wedding reception order of events

What is the wedding reception order of events?

Planning your wedding is almost impossible without a wedding reception order of events. After all, the 4-6 hours of the wedding reception should be packed with fun! This list does come with a disclaimer; every wedding is a personal event with an order of events, songs (more on how to set a custom wedding playlist here), and games that fit with your unique style. So let the planning begin with this general wedding reception order of events!

Cocktail Hour

The cocktail hour is the short time after the ceremony and before the dinner. This is a time all about the guests because the wedding party is typically getting photos taken and socializing. Typically, cocktail hour comprises of muted music from a live entertainer or wedding DJ. (Ask the wedding DJ if cocktail hour and dinner music is included in the package.)

Wedding Party Entrance

Your wedding party entrance is your chance to make a big splash! A wedding party entrance can be as different as you are (check out this list of wedding party entrance ideas)—and the start of a fantastic celebration. If you’ve hired an experienced DJ (this list of wedding DJ hiring tips can help), ask them for ways to coordinate your unique wedding party entrance.

Dinner & Toasts

The wedding dinner is a muted occasion (at least, when it comes to music volume), but it’s also a part of the wedding reception that requires coordination. To make sure the dinner goes smoothly, you need to make sure there is a sound system for toasts (which may be provided by the wedding venue or DJ) and an emcee to announce the toasts and order of dinner (especially important if the dinner is a buffet). Some wedding DJs provide this service; couples should always ask if this service is included in the wedding DJ services.

Cake Cutting

This sweet part of the wedding reception may not always involve cake (non-cake desserts are a delicious wedding trend), but it should involve a big announcement from the emcee and a coordination with your videographer or photographer (an experienced DJ can make this happen).

Wedding Dance

The wedding dance is one of the most custom part of the reception; this is your chance to make your big night especially you! The good new is that a good Chicago wedding DJ or band can customize the evening’s events (if they don’t ask about your preferences, be worried) to include your favorite songs and games (plus a few wedding reception surprises!) A traditional wedding dance usually includes:

  • Wedding Party Announcement
  • First Dance (ideas for a fantastic first dance here)
  • Mother-Son Dance
  • Father-Daughter Dance

One of the biggest wedding reception trends that guests appreciate is a late night course. This is a couple’s chance to keep their guests fueled for the dance floor—and provides a chance to get creative with your menu! A late-night wedding course does require an announcement, so make sure to mention this part of the wedding reception order of events to your band or wedding DJ.

Last Dance & Exit

If you don’t want the wedding reception to fizzle out, talk to your band or wedding DJ about ending with a bang. An experienced wedding DJ or band leader may have ideas, or you can come up with your own idea for the end of your wedding reception.

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