wedding dance floor with DJ after planning a Chicago wedding

Wedding Reception Schedule and Planning Tips (For a Night of Fun!)

Couples planning a wedding reception, beware: the one commonality among every wedding reception schedule is that they are all different. However, there is a general outline (and a few tips) that can make planning a wedding reception easier—and a lot more fun!

Typical Wedding Reception Schedule

Cocktail Hour

Dinner

Toasts

Cake Cutting

Wedding Dances (Wedding Party Announcement, First Dance, Mother-Son Dance, Father-Daughter Dance, Etc.)

Last Dance

Wedding Reception Planning Tips

  • Choose wedding vendors that coordinate services for a seamless wedding dance (like a DJ that coordinates the schedule with a photographer so you can make sure you get shots of your first dance).
  • Be careful about hiring vendors that a friend of a friend recommends. Always research and look for red flags so you hire the best vendors.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask venue staff and vendors for suggestions; they may have ideas you haven’t considered yet.
  • Plan a lay out that keeps guests circulating and entertained (i.e. such as a photo booth near the dance floor or wedding games in a strategic location that guests can find and enjoy).
  • Hire a wedding entertainer that can serve as emcee and make announcements. Your guests’ll appreciate it.
  • Make sure there is a beverage station near the dance floor so guests stay hydrated…and can keep having fun!
  • Give guests who aren’t dancers other ways to entertain themselves at the reception.
  • Use a wedding budget checklist to ensure that your funds are being allocated for really important items that guests enjoy (i.e. food, dance music, etc.)
  • Add a surprise to the wedding reception schedule for an awesome and memorable moment guests can talk about long after your wedding is done.
  • Make your first wedding dance different from the norm with these dance ideas.
  • Don’t skimp on wedding entertainment; while it might be tempting to hire the cheapest, the entertainment can make the evening or send guests to the door.
  • Tell your wedding dance entertainer songs you want played—and don’t want played—at your dance. Be careful about hiring entertainers that don’t ask; this night is all about you!