Wedding Officiant Help Desk

Tips and Scripts for the Wedding Emcee and Officiant

Wedding Ceremony Script
Wedding Reception Program Script

Wedding Reception Program Script

A well-planned wedding reception program script provides the script and timeline to guide guests through the celebrations. Laying out the order of events in advance creates flow for the festivities, setting expectations so everyone can relax and savor the joy. The reception outline shapes the tone, from modern vibes to timeless traditions. 

Whether hosted in a sleek loft or backyard barn, the schedule weaves together meaningful moments. From the newlywed’s first dance to the final farewell sendoff, each element builds upon the last to craft an unforgettable event.

The wedding MC leads the audience along the narrative arc of the reception program. Their infectious energy sets the mood, while their organization and direction behind the scenes enable the party to unfold seamlessly. When hosted thoughtfully, receptions become more than the sum of their parts, transforming into an experiential journey guests happily embark on together.

Check out other Order of Events for the Ceremony Here.

Modern Wedding Reception Timeline Template

Contemporary weddings often have a flexible wedding reception program script focused on fun and connection. Here is a sample modern wedding reception timeline:

Cocktail Hour: Guests arrive and mix and mingle while enjoying passed appetizers and signature cocktails. Background music plays.

Grand Entrance: The DJ or band announces the wedding party’s entrance with fanfare. The newlyweds are introduced last to cheers and applause.

First Dance: The couple shares their first dance as spouses. Parent dances may follow.

Toasts: Close loved ones give brief, heartfelt toasts wishing the couple well.

Dinner Service: Guests are seated for dinner. The main meal follows a salad or soup course.

Open Dancing: The dance floor opens for all guests after dinner. Upbeat music creates an energetic vibe.

Cake Cutting: The couple cuts the cake together and feeds each other a bite. The cake is served to guests.

Bouquet & Garter Toss: The bride tosses her bouquet, and the groom tosses the garter to single friends.

Farewell: The couple shares parting words and exits while guests cheer, wave sparklers, blow bubbles, etc. The reception may continue with more dancing.

Creative Wedding Reception Agenda Ideas

Couples can showcase their personalities with these unique receptions:

  • Carnival theme: play carnival games, have food truck bites, and end with a wild dance party.
  • Lawn games galore: Set up cornhole, giant Jenga, croquet, and more in the yard or venue space.
  • Dessert celebration: Serve an assortment of sweet treats like doughnuts, pie, cookies, and ice cream.
  • Beach luau: Provide leis and tropical cocktails at this laid-back seaside celebration. Have hula dancers perform.
  • Oktoberfest party: Incorporate German music, beers, pretzels, and lederhosen for festive flair. Play stein-holding contests.
  • Karaoke night: Provide a songbook and mic so guests can belt out tunes. Give prizes to the best singers.

The wedding reception program script can be as unique as the couple’s. Just ensure guests know what to expect so they can fully participate.

Traditional Wedding Reception Program Script

A classic wedding reception order of events might look like this:

  • Grand Entrance
  • First Dance
  • Parent Dances
  • Dinner Service
  • Toasts
  • Cake Cutting
  • Bouquet & Garter Toss
  • Farewell Exit

 This traditional structure has all the time-honored reception moments. The grand entrance introduces the couple. Sharing emotional first dances provides a poignant start. Toasts follow dinner so guests are settled in. The bouquet and garter toss get guests involved. The formal exit wraps up the classic celebration.

Sample Wedding Reception Program Script for MC

The master of ceremonies carries the reception by following a detailed script. Here is a sample:

  • 6:00 pm: Guests arrive at cocktail hour
  • 7:00 pm: “Please welcome the newlyweds!” Grand entrance
  • 7:05 pm: “For their first dance as spouses.” First Dance
  • 7:10 pm: “The groom would now like to dance with his mother.” Mother/groom dance
  • 7:15 pm: “The bride will now share a dance with her father.” Father/bride dance
  • 7:20 pm: “Dinner is served.” Call tables to buffet/stations
  • 8:15 pm: Order of Events for the Ceremony “Let’s raise a glass to the bride and groom!” Best man toast
  • 8:20 pm: Maid of honor toast
  • 8:30 pm: “Let’s cut the cake!” The bride and groom cut the cake
  • 8:40 pm: Bouquet toss
  • 8:45 pm: Garter removal and toss
  • 9:00 pm: Wedding Emcee Role “Please join us in sending the newlyweds off into their new life together!” Farewell exit
  • 9:15 pm: Dancing and socializing continue

The script keeps the host and others involved on track the entire night. For a comprehensive guide, check out our wedding MC course.

Formal Wedding Reception Order of Events

Black tie weddings call for traditional etiquette. A sample formal timeline:

  • Doors open for guest arrival
  • Wedding party grand entrance
  • First Dance
  • Father/daughter and mother/son dance
  • Guests take their seats for dinner
  • Welcome toast by the father of the bride
  • Dinner service: salad, main course, dessert
  • Toasts by the maid of honor and best man
  • Parent toasts
  • Cake cutting
  • Bride and groom’s first dance as spouses
  • Dance for guests and couples
  • Last dance for the couple, guests invited to the dance floor
  • Sparkler/flower/bubble send-off for couple’s farewell exit

Formalities like assigned seating and receiving lines maintain decorum. But playful elements like photo booths and s’mores bars can balance elegance.

Casual Wedding Reception Schedule Examples

For a more low-key celebration, the timeline stays relaxed. Details like dress code, venue, food, and more set the casual vibe.

A daytime garden wedding may go:

  • 2:00 pm: Guest arrival
  •  2:30 pm: Lemonade and appetizers served. 3:00 pm – Welcome toast
  •  3:15 pm: Buffet opens for dinner
  •  4:00 pm: Toasts and cake cutting
  •  4:30 pm: Dancing and lawn games
  • A laid-back beach wedding could be:
  • 4:00 pm: Guest arrival, beer and sangria service
  •  4:30 pm: Taco truck opens. 5:00 pm – First dance on the sand
  •  5:30 pm: Toasts and cake. 6:00 pm – Beach lounge furniture gathered for bonfire chat. 7:00 pm – Sparkler send-off

Go with the flow and lean into the casual vibe.

Short and Sweet Wedding Reception Program Script

For an intimate wedding, keep the reception events minimal. Here’s a condensed structure:

  • Grand entrance
  • Champagne toasts
  • Dinner buffet opens
  • First Dance
  • Short toasts
  • Cake cutting
  • Open dance floor
  • Farewell exit

With a smaller group, you can hit just the highlights. Focus on face-to-face connections over activities and entertainment.

DIY Wedding Reception Program Outline

To save money, many couples DIY their receptions. You can create your own decor, flower arrangements, playlists, food, and more. Here is a sample DIY reception schedule:

4:00 pm: Guests arrive, passed appetizers and signature cocktails served

 5:00 pm: Grand entrance, then first dance. 5:15 pm – Dinner buffet opens (food cooked by family/friends)

 6:00 pm: DIY photo booth opens

 7:00 pm: Toasts, then cake cutting (made by the couple)

 7:30 pm – The couple’s playlist starts, and dancing begins

 8:00 pm: Sparkler farewell exit

Lean on your community’s talents for food, music, decor, and fun. Add your personal touches throughout.


Unique Wedding Reception Program Concepts

Think outside the box for these creative programs:

  • Ceremony and reception all-in-one – Host the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all in the same venue for a streamlined event.
  • “Around the world” meals – Each course highlights cuisine from different cultures for eclectic fare.
  • Carnival performances – Have circus acts like acrobats, musicians, and magicians entertain guests between reception moments.
  • Cozy at home – Host an ultra-laid-back reception at your home. Set up lawn games outside and order pizza.
  • Volunteer service activity – Alongside celebrations, have guests participate in a charity activity meaningful to the couple, like assembling care packages.

Wedding Reception Program Script Infuse receptions with personal touches that speak to who you are as a couple. Your guests will love the unique experience.


The wedding reception program script sets the tone and flow for the event’s order of events. From modern to traditional affairs, the schedule should reflect the couple’s priorities and personalities. Keep guests informed and engaged with a thoughtfully planned itinerary; they’ll be ready to come along for fun. With so many options for food, decor, activities, and more, couples can orchestrate a reception that suits their style.

For a comprehensive guide on being a wedding MC, check out this podcast and our wedding MC course.

Special Thanks

Wedding Reception Program Script For You

Gary is dedicated to ensuring that wedding officiants and wedding emcees like you excel in creating unforgettable wedding experiences! With a passion for celebrations, he is an enthusiastic, down-to-earth, and fun Wedding Celebrant and Professional Wedding MC, operating in Australia.
Count on Gary to provide expert guidance and a relaxed approach to help you deliver remarkable ceremonies and receptions. His goal is to empower you to curate the best possible wedding day for couples, where every detail is thoughtfully arranged, and the party atmosphere is electrifying!