Post # 1
I’ve started thinking about timing for the day even though its still a nice ways off. Right now my hair appointment is set for 9am and the ceremony is set for 2pm at my church. I’m hoping to get the time pushed to 2:30pm in my meeting with the priest. Its not going to be pushed any later because he has regular Saturday mass in a different church at 4pm. We aren’t doing a first look – neither of us want to – so we have a gap between the ceremony and reception. The vast majority of our guests live within 20 minutes of the church and reception venue so its not that big a deal really. I was thinking of having the reception start at 5:30pm with dinner at 6:30pm. Is that enough time for family, bridal party and couple pictures? Keep in mind the church service is 30 minutes plus another 30 for shaking hands after.
9am hair, makeup, etc begins
3:00pm- receiving line
3:30pm – photos start (should finish and be at the reception by 6)
5:30pm – cocktail hour
6:30pm – dinner starts
7:30pm – cake cutting and first dances?
10:30 – snack served
Receptions here typically go into the wee hours
Post # 3
@LarLa: I think you should push your cocktail hour up* a bit… the cocktail hour is NOT for the bride and groom, it is for the GUESTS so they have refreshments while you’re doing photos.
The reception starts when the bride & groom make their entrance.
What else are you having for your guests while you spend 2 1/2 hours getting photos? We did not do a first look and managed to have all of our photos done during the one hour cocktail hour.
Post # 4
We too had a large gap, to allow people to get to the hotel and check in, however it was too long and some guests were bored or pre partied before the cocktail hour. Unfortunately it was the only option for us, however it didn’t make the day any less amazing.
If I had it to do over, I would have paid the extra whatever and had coctail hour extended an hour earlier, and had the DJ, photobooth open and put out games or something…
Post # 5
Is it possible to have your ceremony after the 4pm Mass? That’s what we were able to do. You need to find a way to get rid of the gap. Either move your reception up, or the ceremony back.
Post # 6
@LarLa: I have no problems with the gap and have never been to a wedding without one. I would agree with PP’s though and suggest that you move your cocktail hour up to when your photos start. It will give your guests something to do as no one wants to be hungry and waiting around. It doesn’t have to cost a lot – you can serve punch and finger foods instead of alcohol and hot appies. Your guests will be happy knowing that you took the time to think about them and cater to them.
ETA: Our ceremony will start at 4 and end around 4:30. We are starting our cocktail hour right away and leaving the venue to get photos taken at a nearby beach. During that time we’ll serve punch and fingerfoods, our DJ will play music and guests will be able to order a drink from the bar, sit back and relax on the oceanside patio or play some lawn games. Our reception will start at 6 but I don’t think we’ll need a full 90 minutes for photos. If we get back early we’ll pose for photos for our guests (as we’re having an unplugged ceremony), take an aerial group shot from the 3rd floor balcony with everyone and enjoy some refreshments with our guests before heading inside to start dinner.
Post # 7
2:30 ceremony with 5:30 cocktails/6:30 dinner was our timeline too. It was perfect, and we even had to fit in about 45 minutes of travel during rush hour.
Post # 8
Thanks for the suggestions! Cocktail hour isnt a usual part of weddings around here actually but I thought it would be a good idea. The gap is pretty standard. if I waitec until after mass at 4 therr would be no pictures with light at all as we are against the whole first look thing. im hoping its not too long as we want pictures in a couple of locations. Could move it to 5 though. I have a worry that older guests will think the dinner is at that time as I already had to explain cocktail hour to my mom and she thought it was weird