(Closed) Ceremony and reception in 5 hours – too short?

posted 8 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
8353 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2011

I am having a similar problem. Our venue lets us have 6 hours, and I am thinking that might be too short. They only have one wedding per day though, so I am thinking about renting an extra hour. Right now we have it from noon until 6, but we can change it to almost any hours that we want.

The schedule I am considering is:

noon til one – pictures; including first look and wedding party

1:30 to 2 – ceremony

2 til 3 – more pictures with family

3 to 5:30 – reception

Everyone has to be out by 6 or we get charged

Post # 4
645 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My ceremony and reception will be only 5 hours as well! I was concerned at first, but I think it will be okay. Ceremony begins at 5pm and everyone must be gone by 10pm. I figure if we still feel like partying, we will figure something out….but from what I hear, we will be dead tired!

Our schedule will be like this:

Doors open at 4:30 for guests.

5-5:30pm – Ceremony

5:30-6:30 – Cocktail hour

6:30-7:30 – Dinner

7:30-9:30 – Dancing, cake, etc.

Post # 5
5786 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

The sounds completely normal to me. Most places do 4 hour open bars. My ceremony is 7 -730, cocktails 730 – 830 then reception 830-1130 and we tacked on 30 minutes after the bar closes. 

Post # 6
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My wedding ceremony starts at 7 pm, reception at 8 pm and we have to be out by midnight- that is 5 hours exactly. And I feel like it is really long…haha.

Post # 8
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

We only have 5.5 hours! My proposed schedule (although the venue might make us change because this doesn’t allow any “breakdown” time)

5:30 ceremony 

6-7 cocktail hour

7:30 dinner

11 everyone out!

Post # 9
5153 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

I think it seems a bit short…but the timeline looks organized and as long as you do your best to stay on time (and make sure others do to!) I think it looks like it will work out…and I agree the option to push it to 12 is a nice one 🙂

Post # 10
2226 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I just went through this with my wedding and here’s what I learned:  It really and truly goes by much faster than you think.  We luckilly had the venue for the whole day to get ready and do pictures before hand.  Here was our schedule after the getting ready part:

4:30 – guests arrive

5:00 – ceremony starts

5:30 – 6:30 – pictures/cocktail hour

6:30 – 7:00 – introductions/guests seated

7:00 – 8:00 – dinner/toasts/slideshow (we did toasts and slideshow at the end of dinner)

8:00 – 8:30 – cake cutting/first dance/other important dances

8:30 – 11:00 – Party time!!

Our send off was at 10:45 and our dance floor was at least 75% full at that time.  We had already added another hour from our original time (we were going to start at 6 and bumped it up an hour).  We could have easily gone for another hour.  I don’t know if it really went by that fast or if our guests just had that much fun.  Either way, if you can afford the extra hour and your venue allows it, I highly recommend it!

Post # 12
2226 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I would definitely say do that.  If we had started at 6 and ended at 11 as originally planned, it would have been way too short.

Post # 13
14185 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Nah. Our ceremony started at 6pm and the reception ended at 11pm. People came up to us and told us it was nice to not have a wedding eat up their entire day with huge gaps and stuff. I would’ve liked a little more time for photos though but Dh didn’t want to see me before the wedding.

Post # 14
2226 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I think ours was different b/c it was a destination wedding, so our guests were all there and really didn’t have much else to do.  Plus, we’re kind of a wild crowd, so the more partying the better in their book!  In fact, a big group of the wedding party/ guests had the shuttle driver take them across the street to the grocery store to buy more beer so they could keep partying by the hotel pool!

Post # 15
860 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I haven’t even seen anywhere that lets you do more than five hours for ceremony and reception…  A four hour reception seems to be the norm around here, with the option of paying for an extra hour.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding that was longer than 5 hours either.  It might seem short, but I think it’s pretty normal.

Post # 16
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I think it’ll be fine. At longer weddings, you end up with people leaving. As long as that time doesn’t include time to get set-up, 5 hours should be sufficient. The ceremony won’t last that long and then your guests will be occupied for the rest of the time and will be less likely to leave early.

Here’s our schedule for our New Year’s Eve wedding:


7:30-8:30-social hour with drinks and appetizers

8:30-dinner buffet (heavy appetizers) opens

12:15-reception ends

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