Category Archives: wedding reception dance ideas

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.

35 FUN Wedding Reception Ideas Your Guests’ll Always Remember

wedding guests in photo booth with silly hats and funny faces“Do you remember that cool game we played at such-and-such’s wedding reception?” “That night was so much fun!” “Seriously, we didn’t want to leave the reception.” Every couple wants to hear quotes like this from your guests (either in-person or on social media-does it matter?) but it can be hard to sift through all the lists of awesome wedding reception ideas. That’s why we’ve compiled a full list of fun wedding reception ideas (or you can ask us for reception entertainment ideas) that your guests’ll rave about long after you’ve gotten back from your honeymoon.

Wedding Games

  1. I Spy
  2. Mad libs
  3. Table Trivia
  4. Wedding advice games
  5. Shoe Game
  6. Dance Freeze
  7. Limbo
  8. Hangman
  9. Wedding crosswords

Off Dance-Floor Entertainment

  1. Photo booth (with fun photo booth props)
  2. Indoor bowling
  3. Ring toss
  4. Corn hole
  5. Pool table
  6. Chess board
  7. Sparklers & fireworks (ask your venue if they are allowed or if a permit is needed)
  8. Caricature artist
  9. Interactive food station
  10. Kid-friendly coloring station
  11. Face painter
  12. Photo stand-ins
  13. Offer fun rides (i.e. carriage, wagon, boat, etc.)
  14. Slideshows or photo walls of the couple
  15. Fun late-night course (fuel to keep guests on the dance floor!)

Dance Floor Surprises

  1. Fun newlywed entrance (find ideas for fun wedding reception arrivals here)
  2. Flash mob
  3. Celebrity arrival (i.e. famous artist, sports star, sports mascot, etc.)
  4. Surprise family or friend entrance
  5. Dance lessons
  6. Confetti or balloon drop
  7. Choreographed first dance
  8. Cool lighting
  9. Play song requests from the RSVP cards
  10. Wedding attendants choreographed dance
  11. Entertainer show (i.e. acrobats, comedian, magician, etc.)

Tips for a Memorable Wedding First Dance

bride and groom at small wedding receptionThere are a million moments to remember on your first day; that special moment dancing with your new husband or wife is definitely one of them—or can be if you use these tips.

Be “theme-y”

We know the term makes many couples cringe at the mere thought; however, if you’re planning a wedding with a common theme (i.e. nautical, country, seasonal), a song that fits with all the other details can take your wedding to another level. We’ve given you a few song ideas for your theme in a recent post; it’s up to you to choose the song that’s special to you and your wedding atmosphere.

Make it special

As tempting as it can be to choose a random song off of one of those first wedding dance lists, choose a song that’s a little closer to your heart. Your first song can be a song that was playing in the background at your first date, when you became engaged, or on a special night when you knew he or she was the one. If you’re still drawing a blank, or you and your spouse-to-be just don’t dance, ask your parents or grandparents for their first dance songs.

Ask for recommendations

A romantic love song or a choreographed dance. We’ve been part of thousands of wedding receptions. Lean on our experience. Use it. Ask your DJ for ideas for recommendations for a ideas for memorable first dance songs or choreographed routines.

Avoid the awkward

There is a fine line between awkward and different. Make sure when you choose your wedding first dance song—and choreographed dance—doesn’t leave your guests with an awkward feeling. Dance songs about wishing your current partner was your ex or a dance that leaves your guest with a strange twinge can make your first dance memorable—for all the wrong reasons.

Get your attendants in on the act

Want to make a big impression on your guests? Ask your attendants to join you as part of your first dance. Start out the dance with just the two of you, then pull your attendants in for an over-the-top surprise choreographed dance.

Practice, practice, practice

If you chose a choreographed dance for your first wedding dance, don’t leave the night to chance. Add a regular practice schedule to your calendar—including full dress rehearsals. As the wedding reception draws near, practice your steps in your wedding shoes and attire (especially if the dress has a wedding train!). Don’t forget to include your DJ in on your plans; he or she may have suggestions on ways to make your first dance even more memorable.