Post # 16
Thanks for all the replies everyone! We may get stuck with 4 hours no matter what, but based on everyone’s replies I’ll at least know where to allocate that time best. If we have the photgrapher from 2:30-7:30 we’ll have 1 hour 10 minutes for photos, I think that should be enough. And an hour of dancing is probably fine if that’s all we get. Knowing our guests, I’m probably the only one that’s really excited about that part anyway, lol.
That sounds really fun! I’d love to know how it goes.
Post # 17
My venue also has a similar timeframe except our ceremony isn’t until 7:30. We are doing as many pictures in the hour before as we can that don’t involve us seeing each other.
Post # 18
Have you thought about family style service? it’s much faster, and my guests loved it. In my area, it was also less expensive than buffet.
Post # 19
I haven’t found any catering in our budget, so we’re DIYing some of the buffet (I’ve done it for 60+ people before, with much less time to plan) and getting party platters for the can’t do it ourselves parts. We’ll have a serving company handling things day of. Buf if anyone knows any budget catering for South Shore Ma I’d love to know!
Post # 20
Is there a reason why you are doing your bouquets toss first? I would include it after dinner to get the energy up and draw people to the dance floor 😀.
Here is how I would personally construct your timeline:
3:00pm- ceremony begins
4:00pm- cocktails and photos
4:30pm- guests directed to seats for dinner
4:35ish- Wedding party intros followed by first dance
4:45pm- Buffet opens
5:15- Toasts and speeches while guests continue to eat, followed by the cake cutting
5:30- Dancing, Bouquet toss
7:00- reception ends
The keys to making this work are:
-taking as many photos as possible before the ceremony. Make sure your photographer is aware of his or her time limit after the ceremony.
– having a double sided buffet. Even better would be to have two double sided buffets If your caterer can accommodate that request.
– Making sure that someone is placed in charge of monitoring your timeline so things stay on track. I’m assuming that you aren’t working with a planner or coordinator since you asked this question, so this is VERY important.
Post # 21
I just saw the part about you providing some of the catering items. Will the serving company be setting up and replenishing your items?
How will your wedding cake be served? I suggest having it sliced and flipping the buffet to a cake station so guests can serve themselves.
Post # 22
Even with a double-sided buffet, I’d recommend 30 minutes for everyone to get food – could be a bit less, but even at 20 minutes, it will still take up a bit of time (the buffet often does need to be refreshed during this time so there is a small bit of downtime in line, especially if it’s double-sided but only one dish to serve from on both sides). I find most people stop eating once speeches start, and in your case, some people may have only just gotten food, so I’d recommend speeches towards the end of your allocated dinner time, just before you cut the cake.
Keep in mind guests will want to talk to you, greet you, congratulate you and it can be hard to keep that part moving quickly even when you head off for pics, once you return, people will want to chat and may not get in line for food.
Are you serving alcohol? Just asking because if it’s from a bar, there is always a rush and line that bottlenecks and will keep some from heading straight for the buffet. Just something to keep in mind in terms of layout and timing. Having pre-poured drinks where guests can pick up and go quickly (works well with small drinks menu) may help rather than each drink being poured to order. Or you could even keep the bar closed during dinner if you have wine on the table – that can help control alcohol costs and avoid lines at a bar that impact the buffet line.
Good luck bee!
Post # 23
Good luck with cooking! Not sure if this helps, but I used to cater film sets and one dish that was a huge crowd pleaser and really easy to make (and scale up) is this mac and cheese (https://smittenkitchen.com/2006/10/cheddar-and-elbows-exalted/). You don’t even have to cook the noodles beforehand!
Something else I’d recommend doing is roasting large meats that take little prep time, like a pork butt. Cover ’em in a mixture of salt and brown sugar, roast low for several hours and then half an hour on high heat to crisp up the outside, then shred up and add your favorite BBQ sauce and buns on the side. Voila, pulled BBQ sandwiches!
Post # 24
Agree with other posters regarding the photos, because I’m sure you’re going to want those pictures. Could you take photos before the ceremony or even later in the night while everyone else is dancing?
Post # 25
Idk if someone has mentioned this, but where I’m currently living, it’s becoming increasingly common to have an “after party” at a local bar– no matter how nice the wedding reception was! They invite everyone, but inevitably only the young and party-ready continue to stay out and drink. This may be the perfect option for your special day! That way you can keep the reception within budget, older people can leave afterwards, and anyone ready for partying will be able to do that with you (and pay for their own alcohol)!
Post # 26
Thanks for all the input eveyone!
Yes, the serving company will be handling the food prep day of, and replenishment. We’re not having a full wedding cake, just a small one for pics and saving for first anniversary. We’ll be having a full dessert bar instead. I’d prefer the first dance to start the dancing (it will be very short, the groom doesn’t dance much) but it would probably be a good idea to move the bouquet toss, maybe just before first dance.
That’s a great idea. We’re having quite a few kids, so mac n cheese is a must have and I would say most of ua like bbq.
I’m open to taking photos pretty much whenever, so long as I have some time with the guests. I feel kind of an outlier but the pictures aren’t necessarily hugely important to me. I mean, there’s a few photos I definitely want to have, but I don’t need multiple shots of the same groups (even me and the groom! I’ll honestly be happy with one formal shot of us, one at the alter, and one of the dance) and our wedding party isn’t that big. Groom has more family pictures to take than me, he’ll probably be thrilled to do that instead of dance lol.
I’d love an after party, but I don’t know how many guests would! Due to budget and guest maximums, we can’t invite many friends, just family. Most of them probably wouldn’t be up for partying after. Of course that doesn’t mean we can’t organize something anyway just in case. We actually have quite a few friend that would probably love to go drinking with us, but we cant invite them to the wedding. They’re mostly 20-something guys who consider marriage to be a curse word, so I highly doubt they’d care they weren’t invited to the wedding. But I still wouldn’t want it to sound rude and B-listy for anyone that does care about that. I just have no idea of the “rules” of these things, especially since no one around us really follows them.
Post # 27
Will the venue decorate for you? Do you have to include time for setup and teardown? Also if you only get the venue right at 3, what about if your guests arrive early? Do they have to sit in their cars until right at 3 pm?
Post # 28
We’ll be able to decorate before, possibly the night before depending on other bookings, and will have time after the end to take clean up. Guests can come in early, they’ll just be directed toward the bar area (which would be cash at that point, before our booked time); our venue is a sports club, not a traditional reception venue. Honestly though, I’m more afraid of our guests showing up after 3, they take event start times as more of suggestions than anything.