What Happens at a Wedding Reception?

Updated on December 30, 2016
The reception makes good memories for a wedding
The reception makes good memories for a wedding


After the ceremony the bride and groom go out for photographs with the bridal party while the guests get to the reception.

Choosing a location is important for the number of guests you will be having as it can be costly to hire the venue and cater for everyone.

The guest arrive at the reception and they usually have a welcome drink and look at the table list to see where they are going to be seated.

There is always a chart for seating at the entrance of the reception with your name on it and the table number.

After you have received your welcome drink you proceed to where you are going to sit and mingle with the people at your table.

There is also a gift table for you to place your wedding gift for the bride and groom.

Bride and Groom Enter the Room

Most people hire a d.j or musician to create ambience for the venue and background music should be playing whilst the guests arrive.

Once the bride and groom are finished with their photos they will enter the reception venue where they will be greeted with a song; either one of their choice or "Congratulations."

Both the bride and groom and their wedding party proceed to their seats and this is followed by the bar being opened and the starters to be served.

Practice your speech before the big day
Practice your speech before the big day


This is usually done after the starters have been cleared and the M.C will start by welcoming everyone and toasting to the bride and groom. He will then call up the Best man who will thank the bridal party and bridesmaids for all their hard work and he will have something to say about the bride and groom. The brides father will then say a few words followed by the groom.

The speeches should be fun and short but in most cases they tend to go on a bit as there is a lot of trips down memory lane and many people to thank for coming from far and wide to be with the bride and groom.

Once the speeches are done the main course is served.


It is a popular choice at weddings to have a buffet but many brides choose to have the food served at the tables. Wine is also on the table along with champagne to toast with the speeches.

Many weddings choose to have an open bar which is paid for by the groom and some prefer to provide wine on the tables and a cash bar service.

Three course meals are popular; starter, main and dessert followed by cheese and biscuits later.

The music is still playing in the background while guests eat and socialise.

Fun at the wedding reception
Fun at the wedding reception
Throwing of the bridal boquet
Throwing of the bridal boquet
Throwing of the Garter
Throwing of the Garter

Dance Floor Opens

After the dessert the bride and groom have the first dance to a song of their choice followed by the parents and then the bridal party.

Once they have all danced the floor is open to the guests and it is time for celebration and fun!

The bachelors at the wedding are called up onto the floor as the groom removes the brides garter in order to throw it to the bachelors and the one that catches it is said to be the next to marry.

After this has been done the bachelorettes are then called up to catch the bridal boquet. The one that catches it is said to be married next.

The two that have caught the bouquet and garter then dance together.

Cutting the Cake

The bride and groom cut the wedding cake together followed by the flower girls handing out to the guests.

The bride and groom also give a thank you gift to their guests and it is always on the table when you get there.

Once all of these things are done it is now time for the bride and groom to say their farewells and everyone is asked to form a tunnel for the couple to leave through.

cutting of the cake at a wedding reception
cutting of the cake at a wedding reception

Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye

This song will start playing and the bride and groom will leave from their seats and go through each guest to say their thank you's and show their excitement for their journey ahead. They normally leave from the reception to a hotel where they will jetset off to their honeymoon.

The guests are welcome to stay and dance but in most cases this is when the music ends and people start to leave.

One of the bridal party will have been allocated to remove the flowers, wedding cake and gifts from the venue.

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