Post # 1
I’m hoping to get some feedback on our tentative timeline. We have our venue all day, but the DJ must stop by 10pm. So… here’s what we’re thinking:
4:00pm- Guests arrive
5:00pm- Cocktail Hour begins
6:00pm- Guests move indoors and find seats for dinner (no seating plan)
6:15pm- Couple Introduced & First Dance
6:20pm- Buffet opens (approx. 80 guests)
7:00pm (or immediately following toasts)- Father/Daughter Dance, followed by Mother/Son dance. Others will be asked to dance 1/2 way through the M/S dance
7:15pm- Open dancing
8:00pm- Cake Cutting (except with pie) & Photobooth open (for approx. 1 hour)
10:00pm- Last Dance
What do you guys think? Anything too long? Too short? We’ll be doing a First Look and photography before hand, but will inevitably have a few photos still to take during the cocktail hour.
Thanks for the feedback!
Post # 3
I would move the cake cutting up to the other events. If the dancing time is short, you don’t want to stop everything and get started again.
Post # 4
@Sunnybrook: Overall I think it looks good. The only things that I think may need more time are getting everyone seated (especially since you aren’t having a seating chart, it takes more time). And have you considered having the phot booth open for the cocktail hour? Or are you paying by the hour?
Post # 5
I hope you’re not telling guests to arrive at 4.00 if the ceremony is 4.30. Polite guests will arrive 15 or so minutes before the advertised time anyway, and won’t be impressed at being made to wait for 45 minutes or more.
Post # 6
I think it looks good except for the time you are allowing for guests to get food/eat. You’re basically allowing 30minutes for all the guests to get food so they are seated for toasts, and only ten more minutes before you want them up and dancing. That comes out to three and a half minutes per person to get their food and get back to their seat before toasts start. Honestly you’ll probably have guests getting their food right up until toasts start and not being done eating when you invite them to the dance floor.
Post # 7
@JenGirl: Thanks for the suggestions. Our photographers (they work as a pair) usually open a photobooth during the reception. I agree it would be fun during the cocktail hour… I’ll ask if they’d be open to that!
@paula1248: Don’t worry! That’s more of a note for me. Since we’ll have photography before the ceremony, I want a definite time at which I should be properly hidden from the crowds. Guests will only be given the ceremony time.
@nikkialys: Good point. I can’t seem to figure out the “sweet spot” between giving everyone enough time and having them sit around for too long. How long would you recommend from buffet opening to dancing?
@AlwaysSunny: That’s definitely something to consider. I keep hearing that some people will leave right after the cake cutting. Would you put it with the toasts? Before the Father/Daughter dance?
Post # 8
You know you dont really need an exact “timeline” instead you need a
when XYZ happens, this happens next. have your DJ announce the toasts when he sees everyone seated with food. This may end up a few minutes before or after your planned time.
Then have your DJ announce the dances when it looks like people are starting to finish their meals.
Just use your timeline for a guide, not an actual rule.
Post # 9
@ThreeMeers: Thanks! I’m really hoping that is how the actual day will go. Do you think bumping the ceremony up to 4pm will make things more relaxed in case something goes over? Better more time than less, right?
Post # 10
@Sunnybrook: I like your idea of bumping up the timeline to start at 4, more time is definitely better. For the buffet- it will depend on how the caterer sets it up- one line, two lines, more then two lines to get food etc; but I would plan on at least 40 minutes for everyone to have made a plate. I’d then allow another 30 minutes past that before I’d start any dancing to make sure everyone has had a chance to eat- even that very last person who went to the buffet. In that 30 minutes “eating” time period, you can do toasts. You can also do your cake cutting. Everyone is still sitting down and watching you, so you get that picture perfect moment, and then your caterers can cut the cake for the rest of the guests, and you are kind of “entertaining” those guests who went through the buffet first and may have finished eating before some of the others.
Post # 11
@Sunnybrook: OK that’s good. Looking back my first reply sounded a bit harsh, sorry about that 🙂
Post # 12
Yah, I think moving up to 4 is better. If you’re leaving at 10 that’s not very much time to I’d lengthen it as much as possible by starting earlier.
Also as PPs have mentioned, that seems quick for buffet and eating. Have you asked your caterer for any guidance on timing?
Post # 13
Also does your buffet include dessert, and are you factoring that into the meal time? If there’s dessert that means everyone does two trips to the buffet I assume.
Post # 14
@paula1248: Dessert will be single-serve… so guests can pluck them from the dessert table… but yes, I imagine that will still take time.
I think it sounds like it would be wise to move the ceremony to 4pm, just to give some cushion time! We will have a DJ and a Day-of coordinator, so I think if we tell them what kind of cues to look for (everyone eating, empty plates, etc.) we can be pretty fluid with things and keep it all moving without stressing.