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What's The Basic Timeline For Your Wedding Reception?

Of course when it comes to your wedding there are no strict rules and you should be confident about making your wedding day your own.

But just in case you could do with some structure to start with, here are some of the traditional key moments of any wedding reception, in the order they usually happen.

First of all, the bride and groom arrive, and there tends to be a line of guests to greet them. This is a good way to ensure you’ve said hello to everyone, even if the room is crowded. As an incentive for guests not to loiter, it can be a good idea to have drinks available at the other end of that line. They can circulate with a drink in their hand, and they’ll be content to hang around for a while until you’re ready for the next part of the reception.

There will be murmurs of hunger, especially from those who have had to travel a distance to the celebration. So make sure you plan to provide a meal within an hour of arriving - and preferably sooner.

After the wedding meal has been eaten, this could be a good moment to cut the cake. It’s a good time to do it because it allows anyone who wants to take photographs to leave the seat for a moment without packing everything up to go, and it gives the signal that other things are about to happen.

If you want a really organised and no-nonsense solution for handing around the wedding cake, cut it into slices, wrap in serviettes and either hand the cake to guests as they leave, or take them round to tables on platters.

If you’re planning the traditional speeches, this would work well at the end of dessert, after a glass of something sparkling has been handed around so that everyone’s ready to toast the happy couple.

If you’ve planned for music and dancing at your wedding, you could schedule your special first dance together, which will generally happen at the start, when just enough people are in the room to get things underway on the dance floor.

Finally, there will come a moment when you leave, potentially having had your car decorated by friends and family. But make your wedding day your own. There are no rules that can't be broken.

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