When should my ceremony and reception start?

posted 4 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
1429 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Turf Valley

@MichiganGirl24:  I think the first look is a nice opportunity to get your and your new husband’s pictures out of the way, but I also plan (and many people do) on using the time between the ceremony and reception for pictures with your family too.  Not just you and FI.  So I would definitely leave time for that too! 🙂

As far as when it should start… no input here. That’s really up to you and how much time you want to spend doing pictures/whatever between.

Post # 4
1011 posts
Bumble bee

@MichiganGirl24:  I’m not familiar with Catholic ceremonies but most other ceremonies I’ve been to have been 30 minutes or less so I would at least give yourself that amount of time.

Also, I don’t know if you enjoy playing into these superstitions or not but it is good luck to get married (start the ceremony) on the half hour, i.e. 3:30. That way your marriage starts out on the “upswing” of the clock 🙂

It’s just one of those old traditions like the penny in your shoe and stuff.

Post # 5
1837 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

We had a suuuper similar wedding, so I can chime in on this!


We got married at an old bed & breakfast, and since the weather was great, we had an outdoor ceremony. The ceremony was under a big old oak tree, and the B&B had a pretty big property so there was plenty of room for guests to roam around and mingle during cocktail hour, before the dinner started. We had a bar set up at the opposite end of the property, and then the reception tables were already set up behind the ceremony space.


Here was our schedule:


4:00 Ceremony starts


4:30 Ceremony ends; cocktail hour starts


5:30 Bride & groom announced; reception starts; B&G first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance


6:00 Dinner is served


7:00 Dinner plates cleared, toasts start


7:30 Toasts finish, people start dancing


8:30 Cake cutting


9:00 Ice cream truck arrives


9:30 Bouquet toss


10:30 Sparkler exit – reception ends




Our day-of coordinator helped us develop that schedule, and it worked out perfectly – there was a very nice flow of events and it was a good amount of dancing and partying, without being overkill, you know?

ETA: We had a casual reception and served BBQ too, and it was awesome 🙂 Good luck!

Post # 8
843 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We are having our ceremony and reception at the same place. We are doing a first look as well with all bridal parry and family photos before hand, so that we can go straight from ceremony to reception. We are not having a cocktail hour just because of the time we have the place and to add an hour of every vendor adds up!

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