What timing for cocktail reception?

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: What do you think for cocktail reception (including cocktail hr)? (Choose all you like)
    Cocktail reception should be 3 hours total or less : (9 votes)
    21 %
    Cocktail reception should be 4 hours total or more : (6 votes)
    14 %
    Start reception before 5pm : (6 votes)
    14 %
    Start reception at 5pm : (6 votes)
    14 %
    Start reception at 6pm : (7 votes)
    16 %
    Start reception at 7pm : (6 votes)
    14 %
    Start reception at 8pm : (1 votes)
    2 %
    End reception at 8pm : (1 votes)
    2 %
    End reception at 9pm : (1 votes)
    2 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    5421 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: August 2014

    @Shkragoldfish:  I’m going to start with a caveat: I’m from the UK and people here like to party long and hard, so, I don’t know whether this will apply to you necessarily, but, if I were you, I would start the reception (as in, people go to the venue, and drinks and food start being served) as soon as the ceremony finishes; reason being, it sounds quite relaxed and informal and so I think it would be best for guests to be able to eat, drink and mingle straight away rather than be hanging around while you have photos taken. So, I voted to start it at 5pm.

    In terms of finish time, I voted 11pm or later; to me, the venue sounds awesome (a pool?!), and the type of place I’d want to party at until late (provided you’re having music of course). As you don’t have to vacate by a certain time, I would be tempted to go with the flow; if people aren’t dancing, or it thins out early, start toning down the music. But if people are having a great time, keep it going.

    I don’t see the lack of a plated meal as an issue at all; just make sure guests know so that they can have a big lunch if necessary.

    Post # 5
    Member
    3625 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    @Shkragoldfish:  We went to a heavy aps style Christmas party that had always been a sit down dinner until this year. I can say that it was awesome, but it does change the tone of the event. There was way less dancing because there was not a time to kick it off– you graze instead of having the “okay, dinner is done, let’s get up and dance” moment. It is just something to think about.

     

    For me, I would do ceremony at 4:30 and then do the reception from 5:30-9. You can do you pics right afterwards and miss the begining of cocktail hour. We took all of ours (including family formals with 20+ people), bridal party shots, and a ton of couple shots in under an hour. We didn’t feel rushed at all and have a full album. What got us extra time is that we did not move from the ceremony site– we took some outside the church and some in the building next door. No time was wasted moving people from point A to point B

    ETA: I would stop serving food around 7:30 and convert the bar at 8 or 8:30.

    Post # 7
    Member
    3625 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2013

    @Shkragoldfish:  I wasn’t saying to have the dinner to get dancing, but instead that if you wanted dancing, you might have to work at it a little harder than other receptions by getting your bridal party out there dancing or playing really fun songs to kick it off.

    Post # 9
    Member
    1881 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    if sunset is at 8:30 (that’s when it starts btw, so you have an hour until darkness) I would do the ceremony at 7 or 7:30. And the reception immediately after. You really can’t do anything more without people expecting to be served a full meal. 

    Post # 9
    Member
    1881 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    if sunset is at 8:30 (that’s when it starts btw, so you have an hour until darkness) I would do the ceremony at 7 or 7:30. And the reception immediately after. You really can’t do anything more without people expecting to be served a full meal. 

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