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Day/ Evening guest timeline??

Hi everyone, I am getting married in October 2016 and I am stressing about the schedule for the day. We have approx 50 people (family + close friends) attending the ceremony and dinner. We will have an evening reception afterwards that the rest of the guests are invited to however I am not sure how the timeline will work out.... do we wait until the evening guests arrive for the cake cutting, will our first dance be an hour or so after the reception starts etc... i haven't been to many weddings before and even then I was young so dont really have any experience to look back on! Reading this back it seems very trivial but I would like to have a clear idea of the lay out so i can advise :) Thanks for any help! 


  • Wedding etiquette dictates that you wait for your evening guests to arrive so they can feel " included" in your big day too

  • And you don't need to wait an hour for your first dance as this is what commences the opening of the dance floor so maybe 20-30 mins MAX

  • Eilidh7Eilidh7 Posts: 38

    My timings for the evening are guests to arrive from 7pm, we are cutting the cake at 7.15pm with our first dance at 7.30pm, evening buffet at 9pm and evening finishes at midnight, this was suggested by the venue so I am trusting their judgement having more experience with weddings than I do but seems to make sense to me! 

  • MrsDtoBMrsDtoB Posts: 100

    I would check with your venue. I checked with them as needed to know what to put on invites and based on our schedule they said to invite evening guests from 7.30pm which is when the speeches are due to finish and we will have tea/coffee before cutting cake, first dance and party time!

  • Michelle91Michelle91 Posts: 244

    We are having our wedding cake for dessert so will be cutting it during the day. We will however wait for evening guests before first dance which will be about 30 mins max after they were told to arrive. We have asked them to arrive at 7.30 again on our venues advice.

  • lubeslubes Posts: 1,555


    My OH used to be a wedding DJ so I have seen a lot of evening dos.

    Some venues may suggest slightly different timings, but generally speaking, the cake is cut and then the couple have the first dance straight after. I found that the couple always delayed the first dance as evening guests arrived later than they anticipated. I'd say leave at least an hour - so if you ask guests to arrive at half 7, first dance and cake at half 8 - but see how you feel. At the end of the day, the venue will do what you want so if you decide to wait for more people to arrive, then that's fine! That said, if people still aren't there at least an hour into your evening do, it will be their fault they miss the cake and first dance, not yours!

    In terms of our wedding, we're asking evening guests to arrive from 7:30pm. We're serving buffet at 8:45pm then doing the first dance straight after. We may cut the cake earlier as soon as we move to our evening room after the speeches so it can be served for dessert! Most places will serve buffet after the first dance but my OH found everyone was ready to dance after the first dance and then dispersed for the food meaning he had to go back to background music. We've decided to start the party fully from the first dance and not have the distraction of food to upset the vibe! x

  • Smurfy7326Smurfy7326 Posts: 17

    Hi everyone, thank you so much for your replies! These have been a great help, we have a meeting with our venue next week to fine tune some of the details so I will ask them what their usual protocol is but at least now I can go in with some understanding Thanks again! xx

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