Suggested Wedding Reception Procedure
Please note that there are several variants on the following reception procedures. Please feel free to modify this guide as you see fit.
- Pre dinner drinks for guests.
- Bridal party arrives, remains outside, guests are seated.
- When bridal party is ready, MC requests all to be upstanding for their entrance. He formally introduces everyone with the Bride and Groom (“Mr and Mrs ..….”) entering last, generally to music of their predetermined choice. Guests applaud as bridal party participants enter, with the loudest applause being saved for entry of the Bride and Groom.
- All remain standing for grace to be given (this is optional). If there’s no grace, the bridal party is seated first, followed by guests.
- MC introduces him or herself, welcomes everyone and indicates the general arrangements for the evening and where the facilities are (toilets; smoking area; etc). This helps people relax and settle in for an enjoyable evening.
- First meal course is served, followed by main course. Dessert can be eaten either straight after this or later on in the night as preferred.
- MC requests waiters to have all glasses charged (or asks guests to do this themselves), in preparation of toasts. MC announces toast to the Bride and Groom.
- Groom responds and then in turn proposes a toast to the bridesmaids (optional).
- MC announces Best Man to respond on behalf of the Bridesmaids (optional) or one of the Bridesmaids may elect to respond personally.
- MC announces a toast to the Bride’s parents. The MC then announces the Bride’s father (or mother) to in turn respond.
- MC announces toast to the Groom’s parents. MC announces the Groom’s father (or mother) to in turn respond.
- MC announces toast to absent friends and relatives.
- MC announces Best Man to read notes/cards/emails from absent friends or family (or MC may do this personally).
- MC announces toast to Caterers, Bar Staff, DJ and other assistants. This is then followed by the Best Man proposing a toast to the MC, thanking him for his good work.
- The MC responds then announces Bride and Groom to formally cut the cake, whilst the DJ plays a preselected song. Those with cameras take plenty of shots of the happy couple.
- When ready, the MC announces the first dance. Bride and Groom move to the dance floor and the DJ commences the preselected song. Bride and Groom may choose to dance alone to the entire song or at regular intervals (say, every 60 seconds), the MC requests first the bridal party to join the couple on the dance floor, in turn followed by the parents, then followed finally by (hopefully) the majority of the guests. It’s always good manners to join the bridal couple on the floor as a show of goodwill and support toward them. An optional alternative to this procedure is to have the Bride and Groom dance alone together and at the end of the song, the Bride’s father will be asked to join her. The Groom should wait at her side until this occurs. In similar fashion, the Groom’s mother will be asked to join her son for the Mother/Groom dance. Note these dances can be conducted either separately or combined as one. Following this, the bridal party is asked to join the Bride and Groom for a “first fast dance”, with other guests then being encouraged to join in.
- The music tempo and volume gradually increase as everyone begins to more fully relax and enjoy themselves. In deference to those who want to dance, unless requested by the organisers, upbeat dancing type music is played for much of the evening, rather than music that’s not really suitable for dancing such as country, rap or alternative type songs, that perhaps can be played later on in between the dancing. Sometimes a little karaoke may be sung as guests loosen up, although this shouldn’t dominate the evening. Often a “last slow song” is announced at the end to indicate that the evening is winding up. It also allows the Bride and Groom to have a few moments together to take a deep breath and relax. Either the first dance song is reprised or the song that was second choice is played.
- The MC organises the bouquet throw to all the eligible ladies on the dance floor. This is optionally followed by the garter throw for the men (the garter can be removed either by hand or for entertainment purposes, by teeth). The DJ plays preselected songs for these.
- Soon after, the MC calls on the guests to form a farewell circle around the dancefloor where the Bride and Groom rotate in opposite directions to say thank you, best wishes and goodbye to everyone individually. This is optional, allowing the couple to personally show appreciation to all their guests for their attendance and warmth. Sometimes one or both sets of parents can join in, as they wish. Time taken for this can vary widely, depending on the occasion. The DJ at this time will play appropriate music (often preselected) at a somewhat reduced volume, to allow farewells to be made. This is followed by the MC requesting the guests to please form a human archway near the door through which the Bride and Groom happily exit to begin their new blessed lives together. A more upbeat song will then be played in the final seconds as the wedded couple finally burst their way out the door through the amiable archway of fond family and friends.
Note: Whilst experienced DJs are always happy to act as MCs, we recommend that to give added warmth and familiarity to the occasion, a family member or good friend perform this role. It’s your very own wedding, after all – a most personal and special time – why have a stranger as the conductor of it, rather than a familiar person you already know and admire? It matters not a jot if he (or she) isn’t perfect but makes the odd stumble here or there – this is all part of the amiable charm of the event. We realise that sometimes this isn’t possible though, which is when the DJ willingly will step up to the mark.