Wedding Reception Timeline and Etiquette


The traditions and etiquette associated with weddings can be difficult to navigate for both guests and the wedding party. This can be especially true after vows have been exchanged and guests start to roam. To streamline this process, The Club at ArrowCreek has made a simple guide to a successful wedding reception timeline to avoid any awkward faux pas.

Reception Timeline:

1. Cocktail Hour

Immediately after the wedding ceremony, guests move to the reception area for cocktails and light appetizers. This gives the newlywed couple and their wedding party time to take treasured photographs around the breathtaking grounds of The Club at ArrowCreek.


An assortment of cocktails at The Club at ArrowCreek
2. Newlywed Arrival

When the couple is ready, guests will be asked to sit and the bridal party, followed by the newlyweds, are announced to the gathering, officially starting the reception.

3. First Dance

Many weddings take advantage of the attention from the arrival to fit in the couple’s first dance. This dance can also take place after dinner, depending upon what best suits the event. During the dance, guests should take care to reduce noise and keep all eyes focused on this moment. 

4. Toasts

Toasting provides an opportunity for the family and wedding party to thank the guests for attending, tell fun stories about their relationship to the couple and wish the newlyweds happiness. At a minimum, the best man and maid of honor should provide a toast. Often the parents of the bride and groom will also provide words of well wishes. Make sure you know who is going to give a toast in advance and notify your DJ. It can be a dangerous game opening the mic up to any and all in the bridal party and it can also get monotonous for your guests.

5. Dinner

During dinner, food is provided and conversation encouraged. Depending on the event, you may choose to do a plated dinner or a buffet. If you do a buffet, it is a good idea to work with your DJ to release the tables in an organized fashion so there is not a long line to get dinner. Also, this is a good opportunity to offer wine service during dinner so guests can enjoy themselves without having to get out of their seats for their next drink.

Group of members having dinner at the poolside dining at The Club at ArrowCreek
7. Dancing and Entertainment

After dinner, it’s time to start dancing! The newlywed’s first dance will take place if it has not yet occurred after their entrance. This will be followed by dances with the parents of the couple and possibly a “money dance” where guests dance with the bride or groom and slip them cash for their honeymoon. After these are complete, the dance floor is open to wedding guests. The party organizers will also announce any games or secondary entertainment during this time.

8. Cake Cutting

The wedding party will cut and serve the cake close to the end of the event, followed by approximately an hour more of dancing and celebration.

9. Goodbyes

After the event has concluded, stay around to cheer on the couple’s grand exit! Often people have poppers, bubbles or some other type of excitement to conclude the evening and see the happy couple on their way.

These steps can be rearranged or altered to better fit the mood of your celebration. The most important things are that the schedule has a good pace to keep guests engaged and focus remains on the happy couple. If this sounds like a lot of planning, The Club at ArrowCreek offers comprehensive Wedding Packages, so you can sit back and enjoy the event stress-free.

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