Help me with my timeline – 1am or 2am finish?

posted 1 year ago in Logistics
Post # 16
Member
2530 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

This sounds super fun. If I’m taking the time and spending the money (2 nights in a hotel plus travel costs and likely time off work), I want to attend a wedding that’s 13 hours long. It always irritates me when I spend substantial time & money to attend a wedding that lasts 4 hours. I end up feeling like I spent more time & effort than my hosts did (even though I know that’s not really true).

Post # 18
Member
308 posts
Helper bee

I’m irish and that seems like a great time line to me. I’d keep the music going til 2 if it didn’t cost too much extra. Yes it’s a long day but to me and everyone I know, weddings are and are ‘expected’ to be. I feel like 4/5/6 hour American weddings would feel very anti-climatic. I can’t imagine putting so much time, effort, planning, money, travel into an event that would be over in a matter of hours. Even my octogenerian grandparents didnt leave my wedding until after 12. Most guests were still going at 3/4am and we finally fell into bed at 5am. 

Post # 19
Member
63 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

UK here too! This sounds great.

 

My wedding this summer is similar (ceremony at 2pm, dinner 5.30pm, buffet 10pm, ends 12pm) with no down time. And my friends and family will still probably go out afterwards as 12pm isn’t that late compared to most weddings we’ve been to! 

Post # 21
Member
40 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2019

UK bride here too. It’s the norm for all weddings i’ve been to to be long. Can i ask where the hotel is in relation to your ceremony venue and reception? Will it be a taxi ride away or is it part of your venue? 

If it’s the hotel of your venue then I think having a gap is fine! Be a good opportunity for people to have a quick power nap if they’ve travelled from far to get there and prep for a night of drinking and dancing. If the hotel is far it’s much more of an inconveinience, especially as you said most people would have already checked in the night before. 

Also, if it’s not much to extend for an hour you might as well! If people want to go to bed before that then they can do that, but gives those that want to dance for longer the opportunity to do so.

Post # 22
Member
871 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
zias :  I’m Canadian and my husband is European and I think your timeline is fine. Just because a wedding goes on until 2am doesn’t mean everyone has to stay until 2 am. My wedding didn’t start til 4pm but it went until about 2:30 am- people with small children & elderly relatives left between 9 and 10 so we made sure the cake cutting was done early enough for them. We had a very short on site ceremony and dinner at 5, coffee cake and desserts about 8 and pizzas around 11. 

We also changed up the music for the later part of the evening. We played a variety of popular music from several decades so there was something for everyone- and lots of summer themed music as it was a summer wedding. Then after midnight we played more alternative/ rock/ metal music 

Post # 25
Member
392 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2025 - City, State

It seems like there’s a gap both before and after dinner.  It won’t really take 2.5 hours to eat will it?  The “speeches” are just quick toasts given during the meal and shouldn’t really add any time.  Pushing dinner later might give guests more opportunity to do something during the gap (if there are quick things to do/see very nearby?) instead of having two short, awkward gaps.  But better yet would be to move the ceremony time later by a couple hours and have the whole thing be continuous.

2am sounds crazy late to me.  I would suggest starting right after dinner (7:30 or so?) and going until midnight.

Post # 26
Member
871 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
zias :  You’re welcome 🙂 Hope you have a great wedding!

Post # 27
Member
3832 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

Well I think it sounds great! If I was spending money and travelling to come, I think it’s awesome that I would get both lunch and dinner! And it wouldn’t be too overwhelming, becasue of the downtime. People on weddingbee seem to hate any mention of downtime, but in your case EVERYONE is staying at the hotel. So it’s not like they have to awkwardly sit around for hours. They can take the chance to check-in, change, have a nap, watch TV or whatever. I think that part is totally fine and necessary. 

Late night snack perhaps at 11pm or 11.30pm? It would take me a while to get hungry again after a 3 course dinner.

As for 1 or 2am, you need to know your crowd… 

Post # 28
Member
945 posts
Busy bee

Hi bee – my wedding ceremony was at 5 and my party ended at 2. Were American, but weddings are huge parties in our families and either long receptions or rockin after parties are the norm. 

 

We had cocktail hour from 6-7 and the standard reception from 7-11 with dancing and a live band. We had 30-45 minute dancing sets between courses and did toasts during the salad course. Dinner was over by 9 and then we danced til 11. At 11 we had the band close out and usher everyone to the other room (where we had cocktail hour) and we served a late night snack (pizza and soft pretzels, and my coordinator brought in any leftover cake) and had a DJ take over from 11-2. It was a combo of dancing, mingling, and the DJ even let us sing karaoke. We also had a basketball arcade game. The party was rockin til 1 and then began to fade out with 25 people staying til the bitter end. For context, our wedding had 200 guests total, there were 100 at 1 and 25 at 2. I said to my husband that in retrospect we could have cut the last hour but he disagreed, as he really valued that last hour with friends. Honestly he’s right, it was really fun! And if we had ended at 1 we basically would have had to stop a party at 12:45, it was better to let the party reach its natural end. We had a premium open bar available the whole time. 

 

Hope this helps!

Post # 29
Member
5909 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

I think a 2am finish is fine and perfectly normal in the UK.  As is a bit of a lull before/ after dinner, people like to have a quiet drink and catch up with other guests.  If you had a 4pm ceremony and ended at 9 or 10 as typical with American weddings your guests would be really confused! 

Dinner probably will take 2.5hours if you are including speeches in that window, I think ours was about 2.5-3hrs. Our caterers did tell us this before and I didn’t believe it but they were spot on. 

Post # 30
Member
5909 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

View original reply
MollyCatherine : 2am sounds crazy late to me.  I would suggest starting right after dinner (7:30 or so?) and going until midnight.

A 3/4 course dinner in the UK and speeches would never take 1.5 hrs so starting the band at 7.30pm just wouldn’t work.  Dinner is split into courses which takes a while with big numbers, courses typically have a short break in between ie you don’t finish the last spoonful of your starter and your main is served.  Then speeches typically last anywhere from 15-30 minutes.

9pm is a really typical time to start the band. 

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