Post # 1
A little background first:
FI and I decided to get married on a Sunday, for various and numerous reasons. We also decided that we didn’t want a tradtional sit-down dinner, all of the weddings we had been to had a full meal, and we both agreed that this wasn’t the style we wanted for our wedding. We decided to do an hours d’oeuvres and cocktail reception only. Finger foods, drinks, and dancing? I’m there! But there’s a small issue that I just can’t decide on….
What time should we kick this shindig off? I’m trying to avoid "meal times", so I thought of two options:
Option 1: Start the ceremony at 7, the reception at 8, go til midnight(ish) (we have our venue til 1am)
Option 2: Start the ceremony at 4ish, reception 5ish, go til ???
We are definetly going to have enough food for everyone to feel like they’ve eaten a meal, but I don’t know if any of our guests (or our moms for that matter!) will be expecting a full meal if we start everything earlier. Also, it being a Sunday, I don’t want guests to have to leave early to catch flights back home. However, the Monday after our wedding is Martin Luther King Jr day, so many of them won’t have to work the next day. Plus, I don’t like the ambiguous reception "end time". On the other hand, I don’t want our guests to feel like they have to stay up all night just for our wedding, even though I do like the "late night cocktail party" idea.
If it helps, there won’t be any children. Not by choice, we just don’t have any young kids in our families!
Post # 3
Hmmm, this is a tough one! I don’t know what the correct etiquette response would be, but if it were me, I’d start at 4ish. This gives your guests time to leave early if they want, but you’d still have a full night of partying.
That being said, if you like the late night cocktail party – GO FOR IT! Normally I don’t like weddings starting late on Sundays, but since it’s MLK day, you have leeway to treat the Sunday as a Saturday!
Post # 4
If your main concern is going over the dinner hour, starting at 4 would go over the dinner hour if you’re planning to include dancing.
I’d start at 7, that way it’s more likely to be after dinner for most people, and you can add tp that by making it really clear on the invites it’s a cocktail reception.
No matter when you start, don’t worry about guests feeling pressured to stay up all night – those who feel the need to leave early will, no matter what time it is!
Post # 5
I was hoping that I could get the word out to eat something *before* the ceremony so our guests aren’t starving!
Post # 6
I agree with the 7:00 start time. Maybe even 7:30 if you are having a simple ceremony. I went to a wedding that did not have a full sit down dinner and it did not go over well – due to timing.
The Ceremony was at 5:00 and then they had to flip the room for the reception. The reception started around 6:30 and although the food provided was excellent, I was starving because I had been running around all day helping the bride. She also didn’t do a good job letting people know it wasn’t a full dinner.
After the reception a bunch of us went out to eat around 10:00!!
All that said, I think if your invites specify cocktail reception at 8:00 with Heavy Hors Devours you will be fine!
Post # 7
We’re trying to avoid dinner time, too, so we’re thinking 6:00 or 6:30 for the wedding and then 7:30 or 8:00 for the reception (we’re just doing cake and dessert) that way people will have time to eat before-hand.