(Closed) Reception timeline; too short??

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
2183 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011 - Florida Aquarium

We did it in 5 hours, too. I wish I had a timeline to share, but my DJ handled all of it.

30 minutes for family pictures is enough– after you and your husband have exited, just ask your officiant to make an announcement for immediate family to stay in the room (or go whereever the pictures will be). You can also just tell them where to go. It’s great that you’re able to do some photos before hand. We also skipped dinner and made the rounds. Our venue packed up some meals, so we ate at our hotel afterwards.

We entered the reception, had our first dance and then the father/daughter dance. It helped with the flow, I think, since all eyes were on us from our entrance.

For what it’s worth, I think you’ll be fine. We went from 7-midnight and didn’t have a ton of people still there at 11:30.

Post # 4
665 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

this is too short I’m afraid, unless you and your family are very puntual and will obey the photogrophers every move – (they are most likely going to be like herding cats) this will be a very tight schedule to work with. do you have a day of coordinator – they will keep you on track. Maybe do the first dance as part of your entrance, enter straight o dance, then serve food cut cake father dance and thats it – what if the anniversary dance ( is it the married couples dance – if it is I would choose an upbeat song so that guests get ready to dance, fo example we are using – still the one – Orleans) hope this helps!


Post # 5
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

For the photos- send out an email ahead of time letting the people involved know what you are doing/where they should be.  Assign a coordinator to get people in place- give him/her a chart so they can go “Grandma A here, Grandpa A there Cousin X here” etc.  

A lot of couples will do their cake cutting when they first enter the reception- everyones attention is on you, you can do the first slice and pictures without having to round everyone up to see you, and the wait staff can slice the rest of the cake during dinner so its ready to serve.  

You could do your toasts during dinner, giving yourself a few minutes to eat.  How many guests are you having?  An hour may be a little short for dinner if its a big group.

I think everything else will be fine, and if you want to afterparty at the tavern go for it!

Post # 6
6015 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

We had this timeline.  It worked fine.  The pictures went fine, and we had pics that inclueded every single person at the wedding that was related to me by blood in a pic, probably like 40 people or so.   My nephew and older brother pulled people in and out of pics, and DH’s SIL did the same on their side. our photographer was pretty timid, and having been to enough weddings, and in them, I knew the pics I wanted and which one’s got dropped.   

We also had one speech, best man’s.  We could have stayed an extra 1/2hr cause everyone had fun, but that would have cost more, so we brought the party back to our house. It did go fast and I’m glad the DJ kept us on time, but I’m sure it goes fast no matter how long you have.

Post # 7
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We were super organized and so were all my vendors (inc DOC) and we sped through our whole wedding and reception in the time you alloted. HOWEVER, we do photos prior to the ceremony, which was very helpful and organized since all the family members were there, versus scattered about and mingling. I would consider nixing speeches if you are in a time crunch bc those generally suck up a lot of time, unless the speaker is very shy (and has a super short speech) or they are experienced speech givers so they know how to be short and sweet. Otherwise, these tend to drag on and on. Definitely get a DOC and make sure you get a list of names to your photographer and DOC ahead of time for optimal picture wrangling (with pictures of these people would be extra helpful) if you still want to do it post-ceremony.

How many guests do you have? We had about 8 tables and we were able to make the rounds. However, you have to consider that you spend about 30 seconds – 1 minute with each person/couple at each table. It can be time-consuming!

Post # 9
4755 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I can gaurentee that won’t work as planned. You don’t have any extra time built in. I suggest building in at LEAST 1 full hour of time for late starts, people not being where they’re supposed to at the exact moment etc.

Post # 10
3574 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

This does seem very short.  Will you and your Fiance be doing pictures before the ceremony? 

The biggest issue I see is you and your Fiance NOT EATING.  I think it is very important that you guys take some time to eat. 

I’d also consider moving your cake cutting to later in the night, maybe after the anniversary dance, especially since there’s only an hour between dinner and the cake cutting.

Post # 13
529 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Make sure you talk with your caterer about when exactly food will be served, in my timeline people will be seated (15 mins), introductions (15 mins), first dance, and THEN the food is served. I’m having a buffet if that helps. But I think that 30 to 45 mins will be long enough for photos as long as you have a set list/ idea of the photos you want. And with my timeline there will be 2 hours for dancing. We can always add an hour if we would like, which might be helpful for you. I would post my timeline but we’re having a morning ceremony followed by a brunch reception. The timeline was actually created by our coordinater. Despite the time differences, I could always post if if you like!

Good luck

Post # 16
7561 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

Personally, I don’t like it when events break up the dancing. When the dancefloor gets going, you don’t want to stop the excitement, get everyone’s attention and do a anniversary dance. Also, you should eat something! 

Post # 17
529 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@Miss Carmine:  Okay, here it is. Just keep in mind I’m having a morning ceremony 🙂


10:30 Guests Arrive

11:00 Ceremony Start

11:30 “coffee” hour (NY state alcohol regulation…)

12:30 Guest seating

12:45 Guest Introductions

1:00 Toasts

1:15 Meal Start (buffet)

2:15 Meal Over

2:30 Cake Served

4:30 Reception over


We’re thinking and talking with our coordinater about how to change this. Like first dance in with introductions- but then have other special dances after cake is served- to get peoples attention to the dance floor. I’d also like to have toasts after cake cutting and during cake service. I’ve been researching timelines alot, but I think we can only squeeze 2 to 2 1/2 hours of dancing. 

At my venue there is a bar that is open until 1am

It’s too bad you can’t add extra hours. Maybe get a bus to transport people to the “after party”?

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