For months, you’ve planned every detail of your wedding day, but often, the reception gets left off of the list. As a bride and groom, you want to focus on enjoying the celebrations, not worrying about the order of events.

One creative idea is to make a reception itinerary for your guests, especially if there is a gap between the end of the service and the beginning of the wedding reception. Be sure to give a timeline of events to your photographer, caterer, and videographer, so they know how to coordinate their services.

Here’s a sample wedding checklist and timeline you may want to consider!

• Your guests arrive at the wedding reception venue, where they will be greeted by an usher and offered refreshments by the caterer.

• If you are having a sit-down dinner, guests will find their names on tables or given their table numbers.

• The bridal party is announced by a DJ or reception MC. The bridal party is announced in this order: the bride’s parents, groom’s parents, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the maid of honor and best man, then the ring bearer and flower girl and last of all the newlyweds.

• The bride’s father makes a short speech and welcomes everyone to the wedding reception and thanks them all for coming.

• The first course is served.

• The best man makes a toasts. Additional toasts can be made here as well.

• The DJ or live band announces the first dance. Be sure to give a play list of songs to play and songs not to play to the DJ or band.

• After the first dance, the dance with parents follows, or guests are asked to join the wedding party on the dance floor.

• The wedding cake is cut and after the groom and bride give bites to each other, cake is distributed, or is distributed after the garter throw and bouquet toss.

• After several dances the groom throws the garter, and the toss of the bridal bouquet follows.

• Coffee and tea is offered to guests, while the bride and groom change into going away clothes.

• Birdseed, bubbles or rice is distributed (be sure to check with your venue about what is preferred) and the bride and groom leave the reception.

• If an informal after-party continues, be sure to tell participants when and where they should meet. Informal parties can also be arranged for out of town guests or family.

Your wedding reception is a celebration that begins your new marriage! No matter if the schedule goes as followed, or if plans change mid-stream, don’t worry. The reception is about having fun, letting go and enjoying those who have come to support your new marriage!

Fitzgerald’s Fine Catering is one of the top caterers in Connecticut. We’re a full service caterer for weddings, social occasions and corporate events, serving Fairfield County and surrounding areas including New Haven and Litchfield, Hartford and parts of New York. When the day of the event arrives, there is only one chance to make things perfect. Our experience and know-how make it happen.