(Closed) Evening Ceremony & Reception Bees – please share your timelines!!

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 4
2232 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I don’t have ours yet but I have a rough idea from the conversations with our photographer. 

12-2pm – Get ready (hair/makeup)

2-3: Get ready photos

3-5: First look, family photos, bridal party photos anything else we want to get in before the ceremony

5:30-6 – Ceremony

6-7 – Cocktail hour

7pm onwards – dinner & dancing


What are you worried about fitting into your timeline? Do you have someone at your reception venue that could help you with what should happen when? I have relied mostly on my photographer and reception coordinator to dictate our timeline.

Post # 5
2105 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

4pm photographer arrives

5:30-6 ceremony

6-7 cocktail hour/ we take photos

7 grand entrance/ first dance 

7:05 moh & best man toasts 

7:15 dinner and cake

8 dance floor reopens

8:30 garter toss/bouquet and dining hall closes

9:00 “who’s been married the longest” dance

11 pm Venue kicks everyone out. 

I haven’t booked an official time for my hair and makeup person to come, but I imagine 3pmish. We have our photographer 4-10pm. 

Post # 6
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

2:30-4 Getting Ready Photos

4:30-5 Ceremony

5-6 Formal Pics & Cocktail Hour

6-9 Reception

Post # 8
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

2-4 Getting ready

4-6 First look, bridal party photos

6:30 Ceremony

7-7:30 Family photos, cocktail “hour”

7:45-11 Dinner/Reception

I highly suggest a first look and getting as many photos done before the ceremony as possible. It gave us so much more time to enjoy our reception and be with our guests and party!

Post # 9
1425 posts
Bumble bee

Here was ours:

9am-12pm – Get ready (Hair stylist arrived at that time)

12-1:30 – First look, pictures with my family.

1:30-4:30 – Bridal party pics at various locations

5pm – Ceremony

5:30-6:30pm – Receiving line/Cocktails/Pictures with DH’s family.

6:30pm-1am – Dinner and Reception

We even had some time to take more pictures with just Darling Husband and I right after supper before the “program” started.  Our day went smoothly and I wouldn’t change a thing about the time-line.

Post # 11
2616 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

here is mine.. this still a work in process.

bridesmaids need to be showered and at my hotel by 8 am.. then they will be doing hair at a school of beauty in our town- they got to be back at hotel by 11.

Photographer arrives at 11 am.

11-1:50 get ready

 have light lunch

Pre ceremony time line

2:00 Mike and groomsmen
2:20 First look with Mike and Lilly
2:30 Mike and Lilly
3:00 Lilly and Bridesmaids, Bridal Party

drive to church
4:00 Family
4:30 Hide and Touch up
5:00 Ceremony

Reception time line–drive to recpetion site

5:30-5:45 open doors

Cocktail hour

6:15 introduction of bridal party, bride and groom

6:45 start food

7 00 toasts

715 dances- first dance

7 20 mother son dance father daughter dance

7: 35 dance floor is open

8:15 cake cutting

9:00 garter and bouquet toss

10 pm

11 pm exit – end reception.


Post # 12
8610 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

This is approximately what we have planned so far.

2:30-4:00 photos
4:30 ceremony
5:00 cocktail hour / family photos
6:30 dinner
7:30-11:00 reception/dancing

Our venue has two floors, one is for the cocktail hour/reception, and the other for dinner. So I’m anticipating that it will take people a while to mingle their way up and down between cocktails and dinner. We were initially going to push the whole thing back an hour, but Future Mother-In-Law has a lot of family coming from out of state, and in her words we need to “make it worth their while”. Yeah. Still not decided on that.

Post # 13
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

9-1  Get ready
1-2  Photographer arrives, getting ready photos at brides house
2:30-4:30  First look, family, bridal party and couple shots
5:30-6:30  Ceremony  (more couple shots after ceremony while others head to reception)
7  Cocktail hour
8  Dinner
9:15  Cut cake
9:30  First dance
9:30-12:30  Dancy and party 🙂

Post # 14
679 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

Ours was pretty similar to what has already been posted, but here ya go.

9-1:30: Get ready, eat, hang out with the girls (guys did the same in other suite)

1:30: Photogs arrived

2:00 First look with photogs and fiance (did gifts at this time)

2:30 (ish) -5:00:  pictures with bridal party, present family, etc.

5:00 leave hotel on shuttle for venue (ceremony and reception were at same venue, just different rooms)

6:00: ceremony (very brief pics following the ceremony, 15 minutes, tops)

6:30-7:30 Cocktail hour

7:30 introductions

7:30-8:30 dinner

8:30-12 reception, dancing, drinks, photobooth, etc.


Post # 15
74 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@Snow00774: I completely understand what you’re saying. If you’re mildly bothered by it and have the ability to change your timeline, maybe move your ceremony up an hour so you have time for photos after. But if you’re just “worried about worrying about it” (my favorite type of worrying), let it go. No one will care and you’ll have photos that will last a lifetime. And you won’t have to touch up your makeup after crying during the ceremony. (:

As an aside, this is the only “traditional” part of the wedding we’re doing–he’s not going to see  the dress until I’m walking down that aisle. It feels so stupid, showing my iphone photos of my dress to people he’s sitting right next to (maybe I should quit that). But I’m doing it just because I can (late sunset in July and all).


Post # 16
287 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Anyone else having a gap between ceremony and reception?

I estimate:

11:00 start getting ready

3:00: leave for the church

4:00-4:30: ceremony

4:30-6:00: pictures

6:00-7:15: cocktail hour

7:15-12:00: Dinner and reception fun


I was nervous about the gap but everyone told me that the guests will deal, its not the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last.  The ceremony and reception locations are just a few miles apart.  The groom won’t do pictures before the ceremony so this should work best for us.

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