Since starting hosting weddings, I have seen a lot of changes through the years. One major one, and I think it’s a good one, is that the bride and groom are more interactive with their reception. Back in the day, the couple was kept away for the cocktail hour, made a grand entrance, danced, then visited tables. It was over before they knew it and frankly, didn’t have any fun. Now, they join cocktail hour, using that as a way to say hello to everyone, still make a grand entrance, dance, but then they party with their friends and family.
I know the timeline is done differently in different parts of the country, but I am committed to the opinion that all introductions, first dance and parent dances, blessings and toasts should be done in the beginning of the reception. Reason being is that most of the guests are full from cocktail hour and can digest their food and relax before the main meal is served. They are seated and pay attention to what is going on. I think the first dance and parent dances are very special parts of the reception and when they are done later in the night, many guests are drinking, milling about and want to dance. It takes so much time to stop the party and get everyone’s attention and you lose valuable dance time and stop the pulse of the party.
The bride and groom should have a pleasant but firm chat with their best man/maid of honor about the toast. It’s a toast and not a roast. “Roasts”, with their long speeches, props, powerpoint presentations should be done at the rehearsal dinner. “Toasts”, which is a best wish for the bride and groom’s happiness should be short, sweet and to the point, and always end with a raised glass.