Is 4 hours enough?

posted 3 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - The Meeting House/DoubleTree by Hilton

@brokeninnj:  A lot of the receptions I’ve been to in Maryland have been 4 hours for cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, etc. We’re doing five hours (cocktail hour followed by four hours of dinner and dancing) plus an afterparty. I have friends in New York and New Jersey who have had six hour weddings – 1.5 hours for cocktail “hour”, 5.5 for the dinner and dancing. I think that four hours is enough, but it really depends on how much time you want and what you want to do! I’m glad we’re doing an afterparty because I think the night is going to fly by. 

Post # 4
8680 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Our reception will be 6 hours.. but that includes dinner, dancing, cake cutting, bouquet tosses and everything else we have going on.

Post # 5
3735 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@brokeninnj:  We are having a 5 hour reception, which includes 1 hour of cocktails. Honestly, I think 4 might be perfect unless you really like to cut a rug. Folks that LOVE to dance just can’t ever seem to get enough.

Post # 6
479 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I think that sounds just fine, especially if you did a shorter cocktail hour.  We’re only having 3 hours, but it’s brunch.  

Post # 7
1535 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

We’ll probably do 4.5 hours. We’re doing ours on the beach in SC and have to be done by 10pm. we’re aiming for the ceremony at 5pm for 30 mins, then a shorter cocktail hour (photos with family and doing some preceremony photos with wedding party). then dinner at 6pm. We’re doing an after party too

Post # 8
3646 posts
Sugar bee

We’re having a 1 hour cocktail hour and 4 hour reception. Anything after that would require a surcharge. My sister extended her reception to 5.5 hours, and people were leaving, with 1 hour to go. About half were left, for that extra half hour. Although they were nostly on the dance floor, we’re having 112, instead of her 224, so there isn’t the potential of enough people to make it worth it. We’re having a formal, evening wedding, with ceremony at 6:00 PM, so we feel most of our guests will be ready to leave at 11:30, if they’re still there. The younger ones will probably head to a bar in town, for an after party.

Post # 9
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I’m pretty lucky with our venue. We get the whole day before, the whole day, and the whole day after!!


We are thinking cocktail hour, dinner/dancing/cake cutting all the stuff, and then an after party on site! It’s in a barn, and they have an option of renting out fire pits. We think that would be a blast for the after party!!! 

Post # 10
620 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@brokeninnj:  does that include set up and break down time? I’m assuming not. Our reception will be about 4 hours so should be fine. But we also get 2 hours set up and 1 hour break down

Post # 11
8387 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

We had a total of 5 hours (1 hour cocktail, 4 hour reception), but then ended up doing an after party as well.  I think it just depends on the crowd you’re inviting.

Post # 12
299 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Our ceremony + cocktail hour + dinner/dancing will be 5 hours (all at one location). We’re paying extra for an additional hour, 4 hours is their standard option. 5 hours still seems a bit short to me, I wish we could start the ceremony before 6pm but we can’t. 

Setup is 2 hours before, breakdown is 1 hour after, so the 5 hours really is all ours for the event.


Post # 13
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

That sounds very short to me. Dinner alone took almost 2 hours at ours. Then we had 4.5 hours of dancing and we had a 1 hour cocktail hour before that. It still went too fast! 

Post # 14
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Our reception was about 4 hours and that seemed like a good amount of time for dinner, dancing, cake and flying lanterns. But, prior to that we had a cocktail hour that was a little over an hour that was really nice to have some time to visit with guests. Where are you having the ceremony? Could you do the cocktail hour there so that you can have all 4 hours for the reception at the site?

Post # 15
746 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Ours was about 3.5 hours for an afternoon reception (we left 30 minutes for tear down).  It was perfect, but I’d strongly recommend that you do all of your photos before the ceremony so you can go right to the reception.

Post # 16
4163 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

We had our venue from 6-11, but our ceremony was also there, so that cut out 1/2 hour of the time. I think a 4 hour reception could be fine. We had an after party at the hotel nearby for those who wanted to continue.

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