Post # 1
So on our contract for the restaurant for the reception room, it says cocktails 7:00-7:30 and dinner at 7:30. I have two questions. Our ceremony is at 5:30, should be over around 5:50 at the latest, and pictures with group and then family should be done around 6:20ish. We want to stay and do pictures until about 6:50 or so but my question is, should we change the cocktail start time to 6:45 so people aren’t waiting forever? Or maybe even 6:30 so people can definitely come in as they get there? Second, we wanted the reception to end around 9:30 and then go somewhere else with everyone but our photographer will leave at 9:30 from the reception venue. If dinner starts at 7:30 will there be enough time for everyone to eat and have the cake cutting if we need to do an exit around 9:20? I was thinking maybe cocktails start at 6:30 and have dinner served at 7:20. The reception location is 6 minutes away from the ceremony site according to Google Maps but I’d give it 10-15 minutes. I know this is long with a lot of times in it but what do you guys think? Keep it at 7:00 cocktails and 7:30 dinner or change it? And what would you change it to?
Post # 4
I think you need to up the cocktail hour for when the guests will start arriving at the reception location so that they have something to keep them busy. Our dinner started at 7:30 and I think the cake cutting was around 8:30 so you should have enough time for the meal and cake before the photographer leaves.
Post # 5
So maybe cocktails at 6:30 and dinner at 7:30? Should we do toasts before dinner at maybe like 7:15?
Post # 6
I think a 30 minute cocktail hour is short, and bound to go late. I think starting cocktails at 6:30 will ensure a semi-natural flow. Are both the ceremony and cocktail place at the same location? (If so, have you considered travel time? People getting lost?) Are you having appetizers? A 30 min cocktail hour is good if there are no appies (because no one will be standing around half in the bag on an empty stomach). A 1 hour cocktail hour is good if there are appies to tide people over until dinner.
I think 30 minutes for pictures might be too short too. Problem with getting groups together is that you always have some doddlers. What does your photographer think? I find photographers and caterers really good at timelines because they do this all the time; they’ve seen it all! Also, you’re getting married in March. Here in Canada the sun sets really early in March. Not sure about S. Carolina, but your photographer likely knows the time of the sunset and if you’re taking any pictures outside there is a limited time in which s/he can get good light.
We’re doing toasts/speeches in between courses. Are you doing a grand entrance as Mr and Mrs? We’re doing our first dance right away.
Much of the advice that brides give is to allow for more time. Things will take longer than you expect, and if you cushion lots of time, you won’t stress about things going over time
My draft timeline (travel time is cushioned in). But I haven’t run this by the caterer yet.
1:30-2:30 Ceremony (church)
2:30-3:15 Family and friend portraits (outside church)
3:30-4:15 Wedding party pictures (location A)
4:30-5:30 Bride and Groom pictures (location B)
5:30-6:30 cocktails (bride/groom arrive at 5:45)
6:30 Introduce MC
6:35 Grand Entrance
6:40 First Dance
6:50 First course (salad)
7:10 Speech 1 (Parents)
7:45 Speech 2 (wedding party)
8:10 Speech 3 (bride and groom)
8:25 Cake cutting (our cake is at the late night buffet, not for dessert)
8:30 Parents Dances
Post # 7
We’re only inviting 30 people and it’s a small dinner restaurant reception. I didn’t even know we were doing cocktails but I guess that’s a good thing to call the time before dinner so we’re going to try to just get simple appetizers like fruits and cheeses. So our “cocktail hour” is just some time for everyone to gather in the dining room and have light appetizers and mingle while we finish getting done with pictures and get to the restaurant ourselves. We’re also doing a first look and some of the pictures before the ceremony. She said she can get some good pictures after the sun sets and I’m fine with that since those pictures will be of just me and him which we’ll have some too from before the ceremony (I believe civil twilight ends about 6:15 to 6:25).
Post # 8
I’ll also add that we only want a couple of group pictures of all the guests that end up coming and then other family pictures are just our parents, grandparents if they make it, and our bridal party which is only one person each and can also be done some before the ceremony.
Post # 9
Does it work then to have ceremony at 5:30, let guests filter into the restaurant starting at 6:30 for cocktails, then serve dinner at 7:30 knowing we’re taking some pictures before the ceremony since we’re doing a first look and we just want a few extras afterward? I figured we’d take pictures for about an hour before the ceremony and then about an hour afterward. Also with knowing that we only have a two person bridal party and there’s only 20-30 guests coming.