Today's Bride

What’s the order of activities during the reception?

Which comes first, the bouquet toss or the cake-cutting?  Every couple does it differently, but having a timeline for your wedding helps keep the event running smoothly. 

Usually your wedding planner and/or DJ will help you plan out the order of activities and keep you on schedule. Just for peace of mind and to use as a starting point, here’s a basic timeline:

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*Specific time slots are used to show the length of time needed for each event; feel free to adjust exact times to fit the needs of your own celebration

Wedding | Orchard Photography | As seen on

Orchard Photography

Ceremony & Cocktail Hour

4:00 p.m.: Ceremony begins

4:45 p.m.: Ceremony ends; cocktail hour begins

6:00 p.m.: Cocktail hour ends; guests take their seats at the reception

Wedding | Kristen Booth Photography | As seen on

Kristen Booth Photography


6:15 p.m.: Introduction of the wedding party and newlyweds

6:20 p.m.: First dance

6:25 p.m.: Toasts

6:40 p.m.: Blessing over the meal

6:45 p.m.: Dinner service begins (music volume is lowered)

7:30 p.m.: Father-daughter dance, followed by mother-son dance

7:40 p.m.: Bouquet & garter toss

7:50 p.m.: Floor opens for guests to dance ’til they drop!

8:30 p.m.: Cake-cutting

9:45 p.m.: Last call

9:55 p.m.: Last song of the night; followed by couple’s grand exit

10:00 p.m.: Reception concludes; guests depart; begin breakdown (and after party for you & your guests!)

11-midnight: Breakdown complete; all vendors out (Be sure to check with your reception site to see when all your vendors need to be out.)

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Jordan Roberts says:

Thanks so much! Happy planning!

Shawna says:

Been a long time… thanks for bringing the life back to my “Party” planning ❤️

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