Connecticut Music & Entertainment:
Reception Timeline by Lauren Matthews with Doug Wheeler
Skilled bandleaders and MCs are great at perfectly timing the night’s events. Doug Wheeler of Dougie Jam Productions (203-377-5266, in Trumbull, a professional DJ with 20 years’ experience, gives us a play-by-play of how he thinks a reception should flow.
8:00 p.m.
The bridal party is introduced. The bride and groom make their entrance and perform the first dance. “Since it’s called the ‘first dance,’ I think it’s important that the bride and groom be the first ones on the dance floor,” says Wheeler.
8:15 p.m.
The couple is joined on the dance floor by their attendants for the bridal party dance.
8:20 p.m.
Everyone is seated, and toasts begin. “Typically the best man will speak, and then the maid of honor,” says Wheeler, who adds that speeches shouldn’t last longer than four minutes each. (We say three minutes, tops).
8:40 p.m.
The first course is served to guests.
9:00 p.m.
As the first course is cleared, guests are invited to the dance floor for a 15-minute set.
9:20 p.m.
The main course is served.
10:00 p.m.
Cake time. “Do cake-cutting immediately after dinner instead of later in the night –you’ll look less disheveled in the photos than you might when you’ve been dancing for an hour,” says Wheeler.
10:15 p.m.
The father-daughter and the mother-son dances are performed. A solid dance set follows.
11:10 p.m.
If you’re doing the bouquet and garter toss, now’s the time.
11:20 p.m.
Dancing continues. “In some cases, we’ll go into overtime because the bride and groom are having such a great time,” says Wheeler. “We’re always game for that–just let us know about a half an hour before the reception is scheduled to end so that we can plan our dance sets accordingly.”
12:00 a.m.
Your last dance is played. Wheeler likes to keep things upbeat–no slow songs. His suggestion: Michael Bublé’s version of “Save the Last Dance for Me.”

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