Bride Tip! – Best Wedding Timeline Basics 101

DJ Chillin McMillin New England Wedding DJ New Hampshire Massachusetts Maine


My name is DJ Chillin McMillin, and today I want to talk about the perfect wedding timeline. This is a formula that has worked perfectly and consistently over the last few decades while in my practice.

There are three separate major components for your wedding. Ceremony, Cocktail Hour and the Reception. I’m going to break those down for you and tell you what some of those details might entail on the regular.

Most of the time, the ceremony is actually going to be located at the venue. Sometimes it’s outside of nice out, or it might be inside if the weather is just not cooperating. So we’re going to base it on it being outside and it’s at the venue.

The DJ should have a ceremony setup, so that means he has two setups, maybe three and we’ll get into that. The reception area is going to have the main booth, and the ceremony is going to have a smaller kit. Something that’s a little bit more portable, since the DJ isn’t going to be rocking out.

When it comes to ceremony music (See Our Suggestions!), we will start with the prelude music which starts about half hour before your ceremony while guests arrive, or once the first person arrives. This will set that scene in the mood for the rest of the day.

Then you will need a song for the bridal party coming down the aisle, and then you have a song for the bride coming down the aisle. After you kiss and say your “I Do’s”, and you guys are going to be together forever, and everybody’s happy and some people are crying, we’re going to play music for your recession.

Now we have cocktail hour. So this is the magical time where you have all of your pictures taken. Your formals, your creative shots, all the photos that you’re going to want for your album. Remember, just a side tip, make sure your photographer has extra 15 minutes to play with. In total, you should try and budget an hour and 15 minutes for your photographer. They’re going to need it. Trust me.

Ask your DJ how he actually handles cocktail hour. It really depends on the flow of the evening, whether it’s in the same room or not, whether it’s on the patio outside. What I love to do is transmit music wirelessly, from the main reception area DJ booth to a speaker or two in the cocktail hour areas. This provides an excellent transition from one area to the next when it’s time, and provide a great tool for me to welcome guests into the reception using my microphone.

Now we get to the reception. This is where everything happens. All the details come to fruition, all that planning and everything is where it really comes to shine. Your DJ is going to line all of your wedding party up, get them ready for the introductions, and then you guys will come into the room. Typically, there’s a song for your wedding party or your whole wedding party, then another song just for you guys to really highlight you guys this moment. Then you go right into your first dance.

After your first dance, you’ll have speeches. Usually it’s the best man, maid of honor, and maybe the father, mother, step mom, or anybody that wants to say something. This usually happens before dinner.

Let’s talk cake cutting for a second. Sometimes people like to have the cake coming before dinner starts, just so they can get that out of the way. Or you can do it after dinner.

I recommend that we do mother and father dances during dinner, but be sure you eat first. Sometimes, the parents are not in the picture, but you can always substitute with someone really special such as a brother, sister, cousin, stepdad, or whoever you think is appropriate for this moment that means so much.

Now it’s time to bring everything together. Most of the time, we have activities. These are designed to loosen up the crowd, get them comfortable with the atmosphere of the room. I like to get you, the Bride & Groom in the spotlight, then I would put the entire crowd on the spotlight strategically to get them interacting, and comfortable with the dance floor. Now we’re rockin’ into the dancing portion of the evening.

When it comes time for the last dance, I’ve seen a shift over the years go from a nice soft, elegant dance with everyone circling the dance floor, to where it actually starts off with a slow dance, and then that morphs into something truly epic. People really like to go out with a bang, and that is what I would suggest.

Another popular thing to end the night’s celebration is a sparkler send off. Sometimes they have those balloons, (biodegradable) and I must admit, many are frowning on it these days. However, you can do other creative things as well. I have seen fireworks, and even a canon. I will say most of that fun stuff happens outside where you don’t typically have music to really compliment that moment, but if I know about it ahead of time, I can usually arrange music for it.

That’s my example of the best wedding timeline, and thank you for reading!

My name is DJ Chillin McMillin, and I hope to see you on your wedding day, and we’re going to make it epic! Cheers!

Published by DJ Chillin McMillin

Prominent New England Wedding DJ Based out of Nashua NH.

%d bloggers like this: