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Wedding Reception Checklist

March 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Planning Advice

Wedding Reception Checklist: It is important that the company you choose for your wedding reception delivers a personalized service. There are so many small details involved in the success of a reception, that it can be hard to over look what matters the most… YOU! Any company you decide should maintain focus on your happiness and comfort with all aspects of your itinerary. Below, I’ve listed a basic time line for what happens when. Just as a reminder, any of the steps below can be take out or rearranged. You should have complete control over what happens.

Think of yourself as president of the big day : )

Before Your Big Day

  • Drag and drop songs online as must play and do not play
  • Fill in your wedding reception time line and itinerary details
  • Pre-event consultation 1 week prior so there are no surprises

Package Setup

  • Arrive 1-3.5 hours in advance depending on your scheduled package
  • Hide and tape down cords (cords and tape are black)
  • Wireless mic check behind the head table (ensures reception and gains)
  • Perform functional test on all equipment before guest’s arrival
  • Replace battery in wireless microphone if necessary
  • Double check center piece pin spots are not in guests eyes
  • If you have a name monogram: Aim behind head table or on dance floor
  • If you have lighting design: Adjust fixtures for maximum saturation of clients color
  • If you have photo booth:  Do a test shot to check custom message area
  • Change into company uniform (black tux, platinum tie, name tag)

Before Guest Arrival

  • Make sure the house music is turned OFF
  • Verbally run through names of bridal party for announcements
  • Write notes on itinerary & label last minute questions for client
  • Familiarize self with client songs & re-categorize into possible sets
  • Create wait-list of all important client songs for quick access
  • Run through agenda with the head matradee of the banquet hall (check dinner start time)
  • Confirm location of facility dimmer switch to be adjusted during dances
  • Find out seating arrangements for the bridal party to let them know where they will be sitting
  • Test all special requested songs by client, have a backup version available

Cocktail Hour

  • Walk the room & listen to the music as the guests would. Make sure volume is appropriate
  • Keep a look out for wedding vendors, go over the agenda with them as they arrive
  • Ask photographer/videographer if they want the bridal party to stand behind the cake for a nice backdrop
  • Locate person leading the prayer and inform them on how to use the microphone
  • If champagne is all tables make sure staff is pouring it
  • If Champagne is head table/family tables only announce guests to grab something to toast with
  • Make sure there is a serving knife, plate, and napkin at the cake table
  • Introduce self to guests, encourage requests, take photos for the Glam Cam

The Grand Entrance

  • Announce that the bridal party has arrived and for guests to take their seats
  • Hold open door in lobby, congratulate client, and introduce self to bridal party
  • Ask the bridal party if there is anything they would like for me to take to their head table
  • Instruct bridal party where to walk to
  • Instruct those toasting how to use the microphone
  • Remind bridal party to remain standing until the bride & groom are seated
  • Bring up any last minute questions to client
  • Accommodate last minute changes to entrance (parents/flower girls)
  • Play song while conducting grand entrance in either a high energy or low key format
  • Instruct banquet staff to open main doors for bridal party, close them after the maid of honor and best man are announced, and to open them again for a GRAND entrance when the bride and groom are announced


  • Give a heads up to those speaking so they do not leave the room
  • Verify that the photographer and videographer are ready to capture the memories
  • Stand behind client and announce guests to give them a round of applause
  • Formally introduce those speaking, after they have spoke thank them on a first name basis to establish rapport


  • Announce the meal procedure (plated, buffet, family-style, hor dourves)
  • Start dinner music as requested by the client (work in any non-dance song requests)
  • Ask head table if they need any more bread or drinks
  • Ask bride and groom how the music volume is
  • Ask bride and groom if they would like to make any changes to uplighting color
  • Ask bride and groom if we can take a photo of them together

After Dinner Mingling

  • Start slowly dimming the facility lighting to set the mood
  • Slightly increase the music volume
  • Ask bride and groom if they are ready to do the cake cutting/dances
  • If the client would like to mingle more, then perform another follow-up shortly after
  • Remind all important people involved in the dances they will begin shortly
  • Follow-up with photographer and videographer, tell them when the dances will start

Cake Cutting

  • This can happen either after the grand entrance, after dinner, or after dancing
  • Double check that your photographer and videographer are ready and in place
  • Direct everyone’s attention to the cake table, invite family and friends to take photos
  • Remind guests to leave room for the professional photographer
  • Take Glam Cam shots of the client during cake cutting
  • Have their cake cutting song cued, and ready to go

Formal Dances

  • Visually confirm that all VIPs are in the room (bridal party, parents, vendors)
  • Double check that the photographer and videographer are ready to begin
  • Announcing the first dance with energy and poise
  • Announce any significance in song selection the client has for the parent and bridal party dances
  • Take Glam Cam shots during the dances discreetly
  • Invite other important family members to join, if requested by client

Bouquet Execution

  • Locate the bouquet to be tossed
  • Double check with photographer on their preference for the toss & if they like to do a fake count
  • Make sure client has all the single ladies she wants to see participating in the toss
  • Avoid any chandeliers or other obstacles during the toss
  • Ask guests to help count down the toss
  • Get the catcher’s name from groom, congratulate them, hold for photo opportunity & Glam Cam shot

Last Dance

  • 10 Minutes before the end, check with client to see if they want to keep the party going
  • Visually confirm that all VIPs are in the room
  • Instruct guests to form a circle around our guests of honor for a nice send off
  • Privately invite guests to join the bride and groom on the dance floor
  • Top off the night with a farewell announcement and special congratulations to the guest of honor
  • And since we luuuuv our clients, we always take a Glam Cam shot with them!

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