How to create a wedding reception running schedule


Wedding Planning & Catering Tips

This month, we provide our expert tips on how to create a wedding reception running schedule that will ensure you get to spend as much time possible celebrating with your nearest and dearest.

The team at Essential Catering and Events love working with couples to create magical weddings at our unique venues across Melbourne and the Yarra Valley.

We understand the stress it takes to plan your dream wedding and we are here to help.

When creating your ideal schedule for your special day to compliment your wedding catering, there are few formalities (as well as food service) to consider.

Suggested Running Schedule for a Seated Wedding Reception
The most popular duration for wedding receptions is 5 hours, with some couples choosing to extend this to 6 hours.

6.30pm Guest Arrival
Generally, pre-dinner drinks and canapes will be served for around half an hour upon your guest’s arrival. During this time, guests will mingle, refresh and find their designated table.

7.00pm Guests Are Seated
Your event manager will help guide your guests to their seats in preparation for your big entrance! Your MC will welcome your guests at this time and introduce the bridal party.

7.20pm – 8.00pm Entrée
The first course is served after your guests are settled. We recommend getting some of your formalities out of the way between Entrée and Main – the benefit of this is that you can get the dancefloor in full swing a little earlier on, plus it allows for nervous speakers to get their speeches out of the way sooner into your reception! We recommend you allocate half of your speeches to the post entrée time slot – for example, Bridesmaids, Father/Mother of Bride and Bride’s speeches.

8.30pm – 9.15pm – Dinner
Dinner is served (and devoured by your guests).

9.15pm – Formalities
After dinner is the perfect time to complete the rest of your formalities including speeches and the cutting of the cake. No one enjoys long speeches and we recommend allocating time frames to each of your speakers. Speeches are generally concluded with a toast (and your friendly wait staff will ensure your guests glasses are full to charge). The couples first dance usually kicks off the dancing for the night.

10.00pm – 10.30pm Dessert
Dessert is served along with tea and coffee.

11.15pm – Wedding Party Farewells
The remaining wedding formalities will conclude the night – this may include a formal farewell by the couple and the throwing of the bouquet.

Your guests will depart. For couples wanting to extend the night, we would recommend some additional food be served later in the night (we caterers affectionately call this ‘the soak’).

Experienced wedding caterers will manage your reception running schedule for you and will liaise with your MC throughout the night to ensure that your schedule stays on track. Ultimately, we want you to spend as much time possible celebrating your special day.

To experience our range of gorgeous wedding venues or to schedule your complimentary menu tasting, contact the team at Essential Catering and Events today.