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Wedding Reception Traditions

Wedding Reception, Traditions and procedures.

Your wedding reception gives you and your guests the opportunity to celebrate your marriage so knowing the traditions of a reception will make it easier to plan with your reception centre, photographer and Band. Lets look at the most common traditions of a reception.

Cocktails before the reception.

The wedding couple and bridal party more often nowdays will have a personal cocktail party while they prepare for photos or being introduced to to the guests in the reception centre. This obviously depends on the location and whether the reception has the room available. In the meantime guest are having cocktails at the reception centre 40 minutes to an hour before the wedding couple and bridal party arrive.

Being Introduced to the Reception Room.

Your MC will request the guests be seated well before the wedding couple and bridal party arrive. He/She will run through whats called the housekeeping, a quick summary of the nights proceedings, where the toilets are, guest book or any other important issues to the smooth running of the evening. Your MC when the wedding party are ready will announce their arrival. The band will play any special request or choose an appropriate song to be in the background of the introduction

The order of entry normally is,

Flower Girls and Page boys.

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen.

Maid of honour and Best man.

Bride and Groom.

All of the above obviously depends on your wedding party makeup but the MC should be well versed in the names and their position in the party.

The Reception

Once the wedding couple and bridal party are seated the band should continue to provide background music as the guests and wedding couple start to mingle and enjoy each others company.

The reception centre will be on strict timetable of delivering the Entree and main course so the MC will announce when these courses are being served. The band will take a short break when the Entree is delivered then return to provide light dance music for the guests and will continue until the Main course is served.

The Band will return shortly after the main meal is served (The band is normally fed first up or as speeches are in progress) and continue until all guests and wedding party have eaten and tables are cleared.


The MC will announce to the reception that speeches and toasts will now take place. The order normally is

Father of the Bride He will welcome guests, talk about his daughter and his new Son in law,  then toasts the Bride and Groom

The Groom. He will respond to the Brides father and thank guests and praise his beautiful bride, then toast his new wife

Best Man will  thanks the couple for giving him the honour and covers any traditional telegrams and family responses before he toasts the Bride and Groom.

There can be additional toast and they are normally,

The Father of the groom who would normally respond to the Groom and toasts the Bride and Groom and the wedding party.

When all speeches are completed the MC will then announce the cutting of the cake

Cutting of the Cake

The Bride and Groom will move into position around the cake and once the official photographer has finished, the MC will announce any guests who wish to take photo's to come forward. As this is taking place the band are preparing for the First (Bridal) Dance.

The First (Bridal) Dance

Depending on your dance sequence or choreography, the Bride and Groom will take the Floor and the band will play the selected song. You will either if choreographed, dance to the complete song before the MC introduces others to the floor with a new song from the band, or if you are happy with dancing to only a partial part of the song the MC will introduce tthe following to the floor.

Bride's Parents.

Groom's Parents.

Best man, Grooms men and Brides maids.

Remaing guests.

The band will now take over the evening and entertain the reception until closer to the end of the reception. There will be an announcement that Desert and coffee is served as the night progresses.

Tossing the Bouquet and Garter

Just before departing the reception the MC will announce that the Bride will now throw the Bouquet and the Groom remove the Garter (if it is part of your reception). Single ladies will gather at one end of the dance floor and the bride will  turn her back and throw the Bouquet.

Departing the Wedding Reception.

The traditional way of the Bride and Groom leaving the reception is for the guests to create a circle on the dance Floor. The band will play as the bride and groom make there way in reverse to each other around the circle saying there goodbyes to the guests. Once completed they will leave the reception and generally with a few more songs from the band the reception will conclude.


Each reception is slightly different but the context nearly always follows the above format. The important thing is that the MC be well aquainted with family names and a clear understanding of the receptions timetable.