When it comes to your wedding reception program, what should you include? What should you keep out? What activity should go first? Is there a rule to the order of how things should go? If you’re floundering planning out your wedding reception, don’t worry. Today, we’ve got a sample guideline for you to help steer you in the right direction. Check it out below!
This is always the first part of every program. This is the part where the guests find their seats–whether by a cool seat plan, ushers, or your coordinating team telling them which table they’re seated at–you’ve got to allow your guests some time to find their place and settle down.
Now that everyone’s settled down, your host can now officially start the program with a few welcome remarks. If you’re getting a professional host, he or she will probably already have their own spiel and flow, but if you’re just asking a friend to host, some things that are usually included in the welcome remarks are the acknowledgement of both sets of parents and the principal sponsors, as well as the reminder of the couple’s hashtag.
Once the welcome remarks are over, you can smoothly transition to the entrance of the entourage. This usually includes the secondary sponsors, followed by the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and lastly, by the maid of honor and best man. Don’t forget to mention their names as they enter the room, too! (To make it more fun, you can have your entourage dance to some fun music as they enter the venue.)
Now it’s time for your big entrance as a newlywed couple. You can do whatever you want–have confetti or flower petals, dance, play some music, have a montage of your engagement photos playing with some music in the background. This is your grand entrance, so make it count!
After your entrance, this is usually the time for the dances. The host will call for the mother-son dance first, which will be followed by the father-daughter dance, where the father will give the bride to the groom for their first dance together as a married couple. Keep in mind that the dances can’t be too long as the guests will probably already have food on their minds by then!
Traditions like the cake cutting and champagne toasting or drinking can take place either before or after the meal. (Though, it’s usually easier to get your guests’ attention right after the dances, since all eyes are already on you.) If these traditions aren’t your thing, you can choose to come up with a few unique ideas of your own, or remove this part of the program completely.
There’s no rule as to who leads the prayer–it can be your host, yourselves as a newlywed couple, one of your family members or friends, or even your little niece or nephew for that added cuteness factor!
The thanksgiving prayer naturally transitions to the meal (whether brunch, lunch, or dinner). Just make sure your host announces whether the plan is to open the buffet or for waiters to start serving plated meals, etc.
Usually, most couple have a video that shows them growing up through the years. You can choose to play this towards the end of the meal or after the meal so you have everyone’s full attention. If you have a video or SDE of your engagement shoot, you can also choose to show it at this time.
Now, it’s time for the speeches. Usually the best man and maid of honor are duty bound to give a speech, but if there are other people who are also in line to give a speech, now’s the time to do so. Try to give everyone a time limit though, so your guests don’t get bored–this is especially crucial if you have a lot of people who are giving speeches. You can also give your host a short one-liner to serve as an introduction for each person giving a speech, just so that the rest of the guests know the relation between you and the speaker.
If you’re a more traditional couple and want to keep games like the bouquet toss and the garter game in the program, then the best time to rouse your guests with this kind of entertainment is after the speeches. If you’d like to follow a more unconventional route, you can check out these games that will definitely keep your guests laughing and entertained. If games aren’t really your thing, you can skip this part and go straight to the next, no problem!
Time for your guests to wind down after all those exciting games. Now that the program’s coming to a close, this is the perfect time for your parents to give their speeches. You can choose both sets of parents to give a speech together, get one representative each, or if they’re performance-shy, have a ninong, ninang, or close relative step in.
You’ve been waiting all night in anticipation for your wedding day SDE, and now’s the time to watch it and relive some of the most memorable moments of the day. The reason it’s scheduled this late in the program is to give your videographer time to edit it while the rest of the program is going on. However, if you’d like to watch it earlier in the program, just let your videographer know ahead of time–just so that he or she is prepared!
Now you’ve come to the very end of the program. Of course you can’t end it without a few remarks of your own. Generally a huge shout out to your wonderful suppliers is in order, as well as a big thank you to all your guests for coming, especially those who came from out of town. Keep it short, sweet, and heartfelt, and you can’t go wrong. You can also end with the announcement of the after party too (wink, wink)!