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Your Wedding Reception Checklist

Wedding Reception Checklist to Help Your Planning Process

There are many components to planning a wedding and while it can seem overwhelming at first,  the effort is well worth it! The perfect way to keep everything together is to make a wedding planning timeline and stick to it as best as you can. 


To help with that, I thought I’d share this wedding reception checklist from Janey at Siegemedia.com via Shutterfly

Shutterfly that allows you to plan as early as 12 months before your wedding and check off items leading up to that special day. 


Some wedding details like your wedding website, reception games, seating chart, wedding favors and wedding reception songs can be tempting to leave to the last minute, so having a list with deadlines like this will make your planning (and life!) a little easier. 


Once you have a good amount of to-do tasks on your checklist, we recommend splitting them with your partner. There’s no better team than you and your best friend so, get creative and conquer. If you’ll be getting help from friends and family or your bridal party, make sure to let everyone know what they’ll be in charge of pretty early on. The sooner you give them their tasks, the more time they’ll have to plan accordingly. 


Whether you’re hiring a planner, day-of coordinator or planning the entire wedding on your own, having a list can really help keep you on-track



Here is a link to a printable .pdf for you! Use it well!



The Importance of Your Wedding Timeline

The secret to having a smooth wedding day is planning ahead and breaking down your entire wedding day timeline helps you stay on plan, organized and prepared on the busy day. The more detail you provide on the time to your wedding vendors, the better it will be. Wedding ceremonies typically last 30 minutes to an hour (can be more for religious weddings), and most wedding receptions last 4 to 5 hours. Here is a sample wedding timeline, for a modern wedding reception timeline based on a wedding starting at 5:30 p.m.

This timeline has the ceremony and reception at the same venue. If yours is different, make sure that you include travel time. With this sample, as there is no travel, cocktail hour starts off right after the ceremony’s conclusion, followed by the dinner, toasts, dancing, and cake cutting.

Use the following sample wedding day timeline as a guide to create your own!

Wedding Day Timeline and Wedding Reception Timeline

2 p.m. Photographer Arrives

The wedding photographer should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the bride is ready. During this time, the photographer can get detail shots of the rings, details, shoes, accessories, invitational suite etc.

2:15 p.m. Bridesmaids and Bridal make-up and hair complete

If you’re doing your girls in matching robes and champagne images, plan on having everyone dressed except the bride.

2:30 p.m. Bride Gets Dressed

Once the bride is dressed, we can have images of the mother of the bride or the maid of honor putting the finishing touches on the dress with the bride.

2:45 p.m. Bridal Portraits

3:10 – 3:30 p.m. Bridesmaids Photos

This is a time for fun girly shots, think matching robes (if not dressed) champagne and glitter! If dressed, think informal twirly shots and much happiness together!

3:30 p.m. First Look

The first look is a special, personal, private moment between the future husband and wife, away from everyone else where they can share an emotional moment before the whirlwind of the day begins.

3:30 – 4:10 p.m. Bride and Groom Formal Portraiture

4:10 – 5:00 p.m. Wedding Party and Family Photos

Have a family member help the photographer with what formal group shots you want of your family members (and who they are) any family dynamics that may need special attention (discretion is the key here) and any other must have shots.

5:30 p.m. Start Time Listed on Wedding Invitation

Most weddings don’t start exactly on time, allow your guests to mingle with family and friends they may not have seen for a long time, or a chance for out of town guests to find the locations. Allow the photographer to get some reception decor shots before the guests enter. The table settings, the cake table and other details are easier and more efficient to take images of when it’s just the photographer and the wedding vendors setting up. Have fun! You’ve worked hard to plan the perfect day! You Did it!

Be sure to check out this amazing tool from the Knot which helps you plan your timeline with an interactive, personalized tool.