Post # 1
I’ve got to get my text into our printer ASAP for our invitations, but I’m really freaking out about starting time. By contract we HAVE TO stop playing music at 10pm :-(. I was originally thinking 4:30 or 5:00 to start the ceremony (which is at the same place as the reception site), but my mother is insisting on 5:30 (I secretly think she likes the way "half past five o’clock" looks written out), but she insists that after a half hour ceremony, and a cocktail hour, that 6:30 is too early to sit down to a formal dinner. To help you imagine our set up- we’re on a ranch, where we’re setting up the dining tent in the front lawn, and there’s a stage and dance floor on the back lawn… so really no traditional having everyone seated then doing first dance and then sitting down to eat…
I’m at such a loss for inspiration on how to handle this, and frankly there’s been so much drama to date planning, I really just feel like giving into my mom and making 5:30 work… some how… but I keep giving up each time I try. Our DJ package is for four hours and we’ve already got string musicians for the ceremony and cocktail hour. I’m aware we might be paying him more than the time he’ll actually DJ, but I don’t want to cut down our dancing time too much!
Working on the 5:30 ceremony time…
5:50-6:50 Cocktail Hour
6:50: Call to dinner
7:00: First course served
If all we’re doing during dinner n this timeline is the toasts, how long would you approximate dinner to last? 45 minutes? An hour? I’m really concerned we’re loosing dancing time…
Anyone with ideas or feedback on how to make it work, I appreciate it so much. My mind’s reeling!! Thanks!
Post # 3
I just wanted to comment that your mother’s wish to have the ceremony start at 5:30 might be linked to an old tradition of getting married when the hands are traveling "up" the face of the clock rather than "down" (if you started on top of the hour). My mother explained to me that it used to be believed to bring good luck to your marriage if the hands of the clock were traveling up rather than down while you were reciting your vows.
To follow tradition, we’re getting married at 4:30. Would it be possible to push your ceremony an hour earlier? (Just a thought if you wanted to follow the tradition)
Post # 4
Why don’t you start dancing before serving dinner.
6pm First Dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance
6:15 – 7pm Open bar, open dance floor
7pm: first course is served.
9:45 pm DJ calls out for last dance!
Post # 5
I agree with Chela about starting the dancing before the meal. Are you set on a formal, seated meal, or would you be open to a buffet (or hors d’oeuvres & stations) rather than a plated dinner so that people could choose to dance or eat at their leisure? It might make the structure of your day easier to manage.
Post # 6
Thanks for the feedback ladies! I’m SO with you on just moving it earlier, but my mom’s not budging an inch (em… minute) earlier than 5:30. Sigh. Details are all in place, and we’re having a fairly formal wedding with plated dinner, and like I said the dance floor is separated from the tent by a HOUSE, I was getting so discouraged. So I talked to my mom again, and while she’s not budging on the time, she suggested putting a small dance floor inside the tent, just large enough for the two of us to do our first dance on before the dinner- should do the trick.
And then serendipity truly struck when Miss Pinot Noir linked Mrs. Penguin’s to her most recent post! Penguin’s timeline is perfect- starts at 5:30 & ends right at 10!
I’m a little worried I’ll have some friends who will want to keep the party going, so we’re thinking of reserving a VIP section at a nearby club and having a few bottles waiting for any of our guests who want to continue the party.
Post # 7
Carrie — It looks like you figured this all out! Sounds like a perfect evening — and I say yes DEF do the "after party" plan — you dont have to even buy the bottles (dont worry people will still be willing to party without you paying the bill) — my brother and SIL still say that was the best part of their wedding! 🙂 Have fun.
Post # 8
How big is your wedding? Are you doing a seated dinner or buffet? and how many courses? If it’s small it is possible to feed people in 45 but if you’re over 75 it is unlikely. If you were thinking of serving multiple courses you could either combine courses (app and salad on one plate) or cut a course to shorten dinner. Also, it is unlikely (unless your group is small) if you call for dinner at 6:50 that you’ll be able to start serving at 7. You might start calling at 6:45 or even 6:40 if your wedding list is large. (maybe give your mom a heads up about this) Hope this helps!!