(Closed) Ceremony + Reception in 4 hours

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
1782 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

How many guests? 

Post # 3
16 posts
  • Wedding: May 2018

Following because I’m looking at a venue with a similar timeframe and want to know if anyone has actually done this.

Post # 4
1636 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Depending on the number of guests, dinner will take way more time than you’ve budgeted. I’d do photographs before the ceremony and cut out cocktail hour to accommodate additional time for dinner. 

Post # 5
1789 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Can you start later? Your timeline is so tight, I don’t think it’s going to really work out how you’ve planned.

The photos are likely to take longer than 45 minutes Would you consider doing photos before the ceremony? This would be very helpful with your timeline.

I also think that you don’t need to include a space for the bouquet toss. Do it during the dancing portion.

Ten minutes for all the speeches is also really going to be a stretch – unless you have a stopwatch and cut them off!

And dinner is going to take longer than you’ve allocated, unless this is a small wedding?

How much do the extra hours cost? And how many people? 

Post # 7
2163 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club

View original reply
raineybee :  piuctures take time especially during an event where you need to find where grandpa went because he wanted to grab a cocktail or that grandma went to greet your cousin who she hasn’t seen in months.

I would say you should probably add an extra hour to your timeline. Make cocktail hour a full hour or even an hour and a half to be able to take pictures. I would push dinner back further to 5-5:30 as that’s more of a regular meal time.

Post # 9
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Could you start later? That’s a very early dinner and dance…most people I know don’t want to drink and dance starting at 4:30. 

Post # 11
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Backyard

We had 50 guests and did it all in four hours without feeling the least bit rushed. The ceremony was at 4:00 and lasted for nearly an hour. The food was supposed to arrive at 5:15 but was an hour late. We had music and a first dance, but dancing certainly wasn’t a central focus. We were done by about 8:00 when the sun was going down. It was the perfect time frame for the sort of wedding we had. I suppose the time needed really varies from wedding to wedding.

Post # 12
2015 posts
Buzzing bee

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raineybee :  Toasts during dinner is the right way to go. I still think you’ll need more time for photos.

DH was adamanat we not do a first look, and we had a 45 minute gap between ceremony and reception to take photos. We ended up talking an hour and a half just to do bridal party, family photos and a few couple shots, and then spent another hour after the reception taking the rest of our couple shots. You have to keep in mind staging takes some time and you’ll likely want some different poses with each of those groups. I’d give yourself an hour and then plan to take your couple pictures all post-reception if you don’t have the possibility to do any pre-wedding photos.


Post # 13
23 posts
  • Wedding: October 2016

I am getting married next Saturday on a riverboat, and we also only have 4 hours with ceremony. We have 143 guests. After consulting all the pros (the venue, DJ, photographer), here is our timeline:

11 AM Ceremony

11:20 Mimosas and Coffee

11:45 Toasts

12:15 Brunch

1:15 Brunch ends, boat leaves the dock

3:00 Boat arrives back; reception ovah

Planning on doing dances shortly after we leave the dock. 

We are doing an after party for people who are still in town at 6 PM at a local bar. 🙂 

We are doing a first look, which I didn’t really want to do, mostly because I wanted more time to get ready, but our photographer wanted more time for pics of just us than I am willing to give between the ceremony and reception otherwise, so a first look was a compromise. We are going to do family pics immediately after the ceremony. We figure since it won’t be a crazy long drinking reception (there will def be drinking, but not a ton I imagine at noon) everyone should still look pretty good. I can let you know how it goes!

Post # 14
592 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

View original reply
raineybee :  This can be done. I had a 4 hour ceremony/reception and did not feel rushed at all. Actually, guests complimented us on the timing of everything…most people hate sitting through long ass weddings. It’s important to have a very experienced coordinator or DJ/MC to make sure everything stays on time. 

However, we only had 55 guests. In your situation, I’d definitely do photos beforehand to get them out of the way…they’re going to eat up a lot of your time if you do them during the wedding. If you’re having a buffet, that goes pretty quickly, quicker than I realized. You’ll need more time for a seated meal.

Tell your guests that are toasting how long their toast should be (I had three toasters and gave them 1-3 minutes each). Don’t worry about making the start time later because “people won’t want to dance/drink/party” etc. earlier in the day. That’s simply not true. We had a brunch wedding at noon and everyone still danced and partied…it’s a wedding; people come to celebrate.

I wanted to add another hour simply because everyone seemed to be having so much fun, but it worked out perfectly in the end and it’s always better to leave them wanting more than to be dragging out the fun. You can always have an after party, which we did but I kinda wish we hadn’t…because of the whole “dragging out the fun” idea.

Post # 15
2979 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

You can do some photos before hand that arent a first look – ie bridal party and Groomsmen. Should still help.

I think the timeline actually sounds ok. Toasts during dinner is fine, and if the cake cutting is just for show its fine. What I worry about is everyone getting through the buffet line and eating all in ~1 hr. That seems a bit rushed. If you had half as many guests, it would be fine, but 100 people is a lot to get through a buffet in 30m, and 30m to eat.

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