11am vs 3pm ceremony?

posted 8 months ago in Ceremony
Post # 16
1052 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

My suggestion for timeline: 

3:00-3:30 – ceremony

3:40-4:40 – cocktail hour

4:40-5:00 – speeches

5:00-5:45 – pizza

5:45-6:15 – cake

6:15-6:45 – games and video (these should be short so people don’t get bored)

6:45-7:00 – Hora/first dance

7:00-9:15 – dancing

9:15-9:45 – tacos arrive and everyone gets first taco.

9:45 – 11/12 – bonfire and additional tacos.

Honestly, anything that can’t be “crammed into” eight hours is unnecessary.  People just don’t have the attention span for that kind of programming.


Post # 17
4812 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I think there is more than enough time for everything on your list even if the ceremony starts a 3pm. Half of the things on your list will only take a few minutes. 

Post # 18
838 posts
Busy bee

There’s plenty of time to do everything you want from 3-11 pm! Any party longer than 8 hours is extremely excessive and I’d probabaly decline tbh. Heck- most school hours are 8 hours long. If the education system can squeeze 7 classes, lunch, recess, and passing periods into 8 hours, I guarantee you can do everything you want for your wedding in 8 hours or less.


And this is coming from someone who is pretty extroverted and enjoys socializing! Id imagine my introverted sister would have run the other direction if even my wedding had been 12 hours! 

Post # 19
576 posts
Busy bee

3pm. I wouldn’t attend a 12 hour long wedding for a queen ! That is an extremely long time to be  expecting to stay at a wedding and reception

Post # 20
2305 posts
Buzzing bee

Definitely 3pm.  No question about it.

Post # 21
280 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - City, State

Another vote for 3pm. I got married at 3:30 and felt like we were running out of time to get ready (and I started getting ready at 9am).

As for your timeline question, what time are you planning on your reception to start? Ours started at 6, and dinner was served at 7.

Post # 22
1371 posts
Bumble bee

Is this an American wedding? Because most American wedding receptions are 5-6 hours tops. You are going to be disapointed if you expect everyone to stay for 12 hours. Even 8 hours is too long and guests will start leaving way before that. 

Post # 23
1474 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Bee, 3 pm for sure. 

I was in this scenario where I had my ceremony venue for the noon-3pm slot, so I was trying to decide when I wanted to have my ceremony during that slot.  We also had a first look. Most of our guests were also from out of town.

Ended up putting it as late as possible to 2:30 pm and still hoped for more time. Trust me you do not want to have your first look when you’re worried about being late to your ceremony. 

I did have a bridal party and we started at 8 am. We got ready at our reception venue right across the street from our ceremony venue, so it’s not like we had to worry about travel time.  I had 5 bridesmaids but a couple of them did their own HMU, plus my HMU person brought an assistant so they were doing 2 at once. It still took hours. 

Also you need to think about stuff like, when is your florist going to have your flowers delivered? 

And agree with PPs that no way in hades are your guests going to stay from a 11 am wedding to midnight. It’s not that they don’t love and support you but it’s just, that is a long ass time to stay any place if you aren’t going to have Taylor Swift come give a concert or something.  If you don’t want your reception 2/3 empty by 5-6 pm, you need to have your ceremony at 3 pm. 

Post # 24
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

I vote for 3pm. It’s asking too much of your guests to be at your wedding for 12 hours (unless you have paid for lunch and dinner and activities). Starting at 11am also leaves you very little time to get ready. Take it easy on your wedding day, you want to enjoy getting ready and taking pictures. I plan on having a nice breakfast with my bridesmaids before we get ready which would feel rushes if I had a 11am ceremony.

Post # 25
1281 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2021 - Kauai, HI

11am is Fun if you’re having a brunch wedding.  If you’re having an evening reception is way too early.  You’ll need far more time than you think toget ready for an 11am wedding.  Plus you want some energy for the wedding night!  Greeting up at 5am in your wedding day or even 8 ick!

Post # 26
919 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

Agree with PP’s on 3pm! My wedding started at 4pm and went until 10pm, we had plenty of time for more than what you want to accomplish in 12 hours. Plus, many guests leave early from a 4pm-12am wedding, expecting them to stay from 11am-12am is wayyy too much. 

Post # 29
220 posts
Helper bee

I’m from the UK too, and am also against an 11am start.

There’s definitely time from 3pm to fit in all the things you want to do. Most weddings I’ve been to here have the main meal (from my experience normally a 3 course sit down meal) at 4.30ish, and then still fit in evening food like a buffet or pizza later in the evening. This is perfect to soak up alcohol and help fuel the dancing! I think xiexie’s suggested timeline sounds perfect, you could also move the speeches until after the pizza/cake if you wanted to eat slightly earlier.  

If you start at 11, I honestly think you might have to add a third lot of food if you want any guests to be there into the evening. If you have lunch at 1.30, say, and then tacos at 7 that leaves 5 hours afterwards where you wouldn’t feed your guests! And both pizza and tacos are comparitively insubstantial options compared to ‘usual’ wedding food, which is only an issue if you want to cater for people for 12 hours!

I also think the time to enjoy getting ready in the morning, do hair and makeup, take photos, spend time with family/friends, have a snack for lunch, get to the venue, take the first-look photos, spend some time with your partner, and get to the ceremony will take longer than you think. 

Post # 30
755 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

iomi :  maybe you should ask for UK bees opinions specifically. As an American an 11-11 wedding with no down time is unheard of but maybe it’s just a cultural difference. It sounds like you have your mind made up so please share how it goes with us!

Leave a comment

Find Amazing Vendors