An open house in the cultural hall of a Latter-day Saint chapel is one of the most common and affordable ways to celebrate your marriage. However, this sort of open house is generally very different from the formal receptions of traditional weddings.
We’ve got the perfect LDS wedding reception timeline to help your cultural hall open house reception run smoothly. Feel free to adapt the suggested time length and order of events to suit your personal needs.
Receiving Line – 1.5 Hours (Suggested Start Time – 6:00)
Most open houses don’t have a formal entrance by the bride and groom. Instead, they begin with the traditional receiving line. The bride and groom stand with their parents to welcome guests into the open house. It’s a great way to say thank you, but we suggest putting a clear start and end time for the receiving line on your invitations. If you don’t, the ebb and flow of people will keep you in line all night long.
We’ve given you an entire hour and a half for a receiving line in this timeline, to account for the first thirty minutes being slow with more guests arriving at least half an hour into the event.
All food should be set up and ready for guests to enjoy once they’ve gone through the line.
The First Dance & Other Traditional Dances – 10 Minutes (Suggested Start Time – 7:30)
The first dance is a great way to end your receiving line. Consider having your MC or a member of the bridal party make an announcement that the line will end in five minutes. When it’s time, have someone announce the first dance and make your way to the floor.
After the first dance, hold any other traditional dances you’d like, such as the father and daughter dance.
Rest Period – 20 Minutes (Suggested Start Time – 7:40)
Instead of getting back into the receiving line, go and mingle with guests and eat some food. This is the chance for the bride and groom to take a break. This is also a good time to give any toasts while the couple is seated. During this time period, have the bridal party pack up anything you may need for your exit so you don’t have to do it later.
Cut the Cake – 5 Minutes (Suggested Start Time – 8:00)
After you’ve had some time to rest and eat, cut the cake. In many instances, the cake is cut too late and the bride and groom don’t have to enjoy it. Nor do your guests, who don’t want to linger to eat if you cut the cake and make a fast exit. Whether you’re feeding guests directly from your decorated cake or have slices of cake prepared in the back, make sure to communicate with your kitchen helpers about the serving time.
Other Wedding Traditions & Games – 15 Minutes (Suggested Start Time – 8:05)
Choose your favorite wedding traditions and games to finish off the night. This can include tossing the bouquet, throwing the garter, or playing games. If you choose to forgo these activities, spend time eating and mingling with guests.
Couple’s Thank You & Prep to Leave – 10 Minutes (Suggested Start Time – 8:20)
Before you prepare to leave, address the remaining guests with a word of thank you. Then, go and prepare to leave the reception and have the guests line up.
Couple Exits (Suggested Start Time – 8:30)
You’ve finished your wedding reception and now it’s time to head off into the future! Exit your reception with your guests watching. Make sure to give a goodbye wave.
We hope this LDS wedding reception timeline helps you host a cultural hall open that feels more like a wedding reception than you thought. Did you have an informal open house? If so, what would you have spent more time on or done differently? Let us know in the comments!