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A General Timeline of a Typical 5-hour Wedding Reception in the U.S.

6:00 pm 60 minutes Hors d'oeuvre & Cocktail Hour
7:00 pm 5 minutes Introducing the Wedding Party
    Introduction of the Maid of Honor and Best Man
    Introduction of the Bride and Groom
  5 minutes Toast by Best Man, etc
7:15 pm 75 minutes Sit down Dinner or Buffet
8:30 pm 15 minutes Cutting of the Cake
8:45 pm  5 minutes First Dance
  5 minutes Bride & Father Dance
  5 minutes Groom & Mother Dance
9:00 pm 30 minutes Open Dancing
9:30 pm 15 minutes Garter Toss
  15 minutes Bouquet Toss
10:00 pm 55 minutes Resume Open Dancing
10:55 pm 5 minutes: Last Dance
11:00 pm   End of Wedding Reception

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Comments/Reviews of this Section:

6/30/03 - "Every timeline I've seen is very typical for a reception north of the mason-dixon...  Yet weddings in the South, even among the very wealthy, very rarely include a sit-down meal. the buffet is available as soon as guests arrive and continues throughout the evening, with guests visiting it at their leisure.  Receptions go anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, and beyond 4 hours would be considered poor taste. I'd love for the folks who put together reception timelines to study regional differences in receptions to create multiple timelines based on such.  Just some food for thought!"  - L. N.

 

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