Timed Out

I read Miss Hen’s post about greeting guests yesterday with interest.

We too will be doing a combination of Mingling and Giving a Toast, but it was her quick mention of toasts and spotlight dances that really got me thinking. I need a timeline. Like yesterday. The caterer wants to confirm, and so does the venue. The photographer would like a copy, and the DJ wants to make sure he’s on the same page. Today, I got an email from my dad’s wife (who has decided she/they should host not only the rehearsal dinner, but throw a bbq for my dad’s family on Thursday and a brunch on Sunday) asking about pictures and if they should have people over between the wedding and reception for drinks or if I needed help or, you know, just send her the timeline.

Oh, right. The timeline. About that.

I do have a timeline; I started it ages ago, when I felt like I had all the time in the world and wanted to get a jump on things. But now people actually want it and I’m supposed to know.

The basics I’ve got. I know when we’re getting hair & makeup done, when we need to be at the church. We need to decide where to take pictures on the way, but thats pretty easy.

We’ll have cocktail hour and then dinner and then dancing. The framework is there. But there are a few wrinkles that I can’t iron out (probably not because they’re hard. Probably because I’m paralyzing myself.)

At a dinner reception, I’ve usually seen cocktails, everyone is seated, the bride & groom enter and are introduced (maybe with the rest of the wedding party), then dinner service begins, with speeches and sometimes even spotlight dances between courses. It works well. You have some breaks during dinner, but you don’t have to listen to all the speeches at once or anything, you can sit down–it’s great.

And we can’t do it. We’re hoping to have our cocktail hour outside:


This picture is taken from part way into the yard/garden. You can sort of see the house. I’m trying to ignore that this is happening, but below is a picture of the patio taken recently. They did the best they could, but that’s a construction fence. They were actually putting it up while I was on my walkthrough, and it certainly looks better now, but still. Ugh. Oh well….some things you can’t change.


Our guests will mingle on the patio and in the gardens before heading inside for dinner (yes, I reallyreally hope it doesn’t rain). We’re not planning on bouquet toss or big introductions but we do plan on the following:

  • Bride & Groom get introduced (we’re pretty sure no one else wants to get introduced)
  • Toasts (Father of the Bride, MOH, BM)
  • Cake cutting (Kind of–but we won’t be making a big deal about it)
  • First Dance
  • Father/Daughter & Mother/Son dance (combined)
  • Grace
  • Sparkler Exit (assuming we get our act together)

The cake is in the foyer. The only place there’s really room for everyone to gather is the Patio. Dinner is in the Living Room, Parlor Room & Garden Room. The bar is in the Solarium. Confused? Maybe a floorplan will help:


Cheney Mansion floor plan

If we get introduced at all, it will happen during cocktail hour, on the Patio. Cake cutting needs to be in the foyer, and we plan on serving it for dessert, so that needs to happen before dinner. Dances should take place on the Patio, and probably make the most sense after dinner.

But what about those toasts?

I researched the heck out of this one: A Practical Wedding’s Wedding Timeline Series I(Standard Evening Wedding), II(Religious Ceremony in a different location–thats us!) & III(specific samples for mornings, cocktail, etc), Bridal GuideThe Knot and a whole wiki devoted to it right here as well. I found lots of helpful information but am still stuck on those toasts.

I asked Clover Dad when he wanted to give a toast, and he wants to go during dinner, while people are eating. But since people are eating in different rooms, I want to minimize things that happen during dinner–the only thing we have planned is grace, which will be said over the internal speakers.

The wedding we attended this past weekend was a cocktail style reception (it was at Piper Hall on Loyola University‘s Campus and it was OMG beautiful–I tried to find you a picture but they did not come close to doing it justice). We felt like their timeline was pretty good–after awhile, the bridal party was introduced, and then later there were some toasts. They might have been followed by the first dance?

We like the idea of splitting things up, but we aren’t sure how. Shamrock suggested we have the MOH and BM speak right after dinner, but I suspect my sister would kill me–I’ve done a toast twice, and it was nice to get it out of the way and waiting through all of dinner may make them extra nervous. That means all four (Dad, us, MOH, BM) would need to go before dinner, and we can’t decide if splitting those up would just end up making the cocktail hour feel choppy.

We plan on being introduced sometime during the cocktail hour, so we should probably get introduced and then say thank you then (or skip being introduced all together). Either Dad or MOH/BM could then give a toast and the other could speak right before we go in for dinner. But thats probably a half hour apart; is that just weird? Do we skip being introduced entirely, and have all 4 go right before going in for dinner?

What do you think? Split it up? Skip introductions? I’m going in circles here, please help!


One thought on “Timed Out

  1. I think you should get introduced and give your quick thank your toast, just because that immediately takes the pressure off you to make the rounds. It’s implied that people can come find you (also, the rehearsal dinner is a good time to say high to out of town guests too – my friend went around from table to table at the rehearsal dinner and said it was easier). Maybe then hand off to MoH and BM for their toasts? Then mingle. Then, right before you want people to go in for dinner, have your dad go (and he can then signal that it’s time to go in)? Another alternative is to have MoH/BM go after the spotlight dances — you usually have everyone’s attention then. 🙂

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