Help! When should I end my wedding?

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 16
1495 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

bri00012 :  We ended up extending for another hour because everyone was having so much fun dancing although we DIDN’T close the bar early.

Post # 17
168 posts
Blushing bee

A 5 hour reception is the norm, but I have been to weddings where people extend it by adding an extra hour.  I say 9 or 10 is perfect!

Post # 18
2040 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

10 is far too early! My wedding started at 3pm and we had to kick people out at 1 am. My sister just had her wedding and it went from 12pm to after 12 am. One was in Canada and one was in the U.K. People love dancing!

Post # 19
1724 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

8 is so early. 

Ours ends at 2 am. 

Post # 20
486 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

bri00012 :  I think after the cake cutting and desserts, people should be free to leave as they wish.  People will start to dance after the formal dances and toasts anyway so there will be lots of dancing!  Maybe have it end at 10pm, but most guests will be leaving a little bit after cake cutting and a few more conversations and dances?

Post # 21
4973 posts
Honey bee

We had a similar timeline and people left around 930/10. 10 was our cutoff time. I think 8 is too early if you’re asking for opinions. Some people did leave that early then the ones that wanted to dance stayed.  

As for cost booze stopped at 9/930  partially due to liability rules and the extra half hour was $$$ so we skipped that and the dj cost a set amount for the time regardless of he left at 8 or 10. Now if we kept him past 10 that would cost more. But we bought a package and the cost was the cost once we signed the contract and had it all worked out. Photographer didn’t stay the whole time we paid for 8 hours and after that extra but left after the 8 bc we didn’t ask for more. 

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  sweatergal007. Reason: Typos
Post # 22
4973 posts
Honey bee

My point being I’m not sure how much the two hours early will actually save you. The main cost is the ceremony and reception. The extra few hours at the end isn’t really where the cost is. But that depends on the venue and packages offered. For ours it wouldn’t have saved much. 

Post # 23
4973 posts
Honey bee

Curious why does the caterer need to stay for dancing? Aren’t they done after dinner is finished? 

Post # 25
3884 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

Definitely 10pm. Our reception was 6pm – 12am and it was about perfect, ending 2 hours earlier would have been really abrupt and cut right through the dancing high spirits. If you just want dinner you could end at 8 but if you want a dance party then fight for 10. 

Post # 26
4921 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

Your event timing is too rushed.  There’s no way that it’ll only be 5mins from your entrance to the buffet time. Also with the dancing and toasts and cake cutting– everything is too rushed and rigid.  Be prepared for the events to run a lot longer. 

I also think that 10pm is WAY too early but that’s just my opinion. 

Post # 28
477 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

Our ceremony started at 4 and we ended by 11. It was all at the same location so the timelines are a little different, but it was the perfect amount of time. We were having so much fun we didn’t want to leave lol. I think your timeline is perfect.

Post # 29
12219 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

bri00012 : 

I think people are missing that your guests have been there since 3 pm and probably left home mid afternoon or earlier. There’s also time spent traveling between ceremony and reception. 

It wouldn’t be much of a choice where I live. Receptions are almost universally five hours from start to finish regardless of when they start. In my experience, ending at 9 pm would give you more than enough time. 

I’d expect guests to start leaving after the dessert. If you have flexibility, you can keep things going as long as you are willing to pay for the venue, music etc, but I personally prefer ending an affair on a high note, when most people are still there. 

Post # 30
1178 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

First, people will leave when they want to leave. Our reception went until 10pm, but only about half of the guests stayed that long (all our friends. The older family members left early)

I would make the adjustments as shown below. This allows for a more extended dancing period where people can really just cut loose and you can split the difference with your mom and end at 9pm. But really, I’d consider what budget impacts it has to have the reception an hour longer (how long is your DJ contracted for, for example) and I’d also strongly consider your guest list, day of the week you’re having your wedding, how far people are driving, etc. We had ours go later because it was a semi-destination and everyone was staying in town within walking distance. However, I have seen a Sunday afternoon wedding were most guests were gone by 6pm. 

5:10 guest enter dinning area 

5:25 Bride and Groom enter 

5:30 start buffet (my coordinator had our meals plated so we could eat right away)

6:30 toasts and dances (I would cut this down to starting at 6:15, and toasts/dances can happen while people are still eating)

(At 6:45, I would do cake cutting. People will start leaving once you open it up for dancing)

7:00 open dancing

8:00 dancing

9:00 reception ends

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