(Closed) How long do typical reception “events” last?

posted 8 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
6597 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

You can really do whatever you want!

I am spreading those events out throughout the evening so they aren’t in one chunk at the beginning.

5:30-6:30 – We are having a cocktail hour

6:30 – Bridal party entrance

6:35 – First dance and welcome toast

6:45 – dinner

– The father daughter dance and mother son dance will be right after dinner, the bouquet toss and garter toss will be later in the evening and we are cutting and serving the cake as the late night snack.

Our photographer will be staying for the first dance and then will be done for the day. We have asked Future Sister-In-Law to be our unofficial photographer after the photographer leaves.

Good luck planning everything out!

Post # 4
2397 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Everyone does things differently, but I’ll tell you what we’re doing:  Guests will arrive for cocktail hour while we are taking pictures.  Cocktail hour will last for exactly 1 hour, and then the bridal party will be introduced. 

Our reception, including cocktail hour, will be 5 hours long.  I’m assuming dinner will take 1-1.5 hours.  (We’re doing a buffet with served salad).  This will include the toasts while people eat salad, dinner, the cake cutting, and first dances while people enjoy cake.  Fiance and I will obviously be the first served, along with our wedding party.  After we finish eating, we’ll go around and say hey to everyone while they’re finishing up… then go back up front for the cake and dances, etc.

I think we’re just doing the bouquet/garter toss in the middle of the partying 🙂  Maybe towards the end of the evening?

Post # 5
2397 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Oh By The Way: I found this itinerary template, and it really helped me to see things all planned out! 

**NM I apparently can’t post Word attachments, haha.  It was worth a shot!

Post # 6
372 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

IF you want to cut down on the photographer’s time – you can also go straight into the first dance when you’re announced – get all the “formal” stuff (dances, cake cutting, toasts) done before dinner.  How big is your wedding?  that will also determine how long somethings will take (e.g., getting people through the buffet line,…)

Post # 8
1465 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

As long or short as you want. There is no “standard” time. A buffet usually lasts 2 hrs from start to finish. The food really should not be left out longer than that anyway as it will become a safety hazard at that point. Toasts can be done while people are finishing eating to allow more time for other events. Discuss this with your dj so they can tactfully cut people off if they go over a certain time. Guests will lose interest after a few minutes total. The garter and bouquet tosses only take a couple mins max even though they typically use 4 min songs. A first dance can be anywhere from 2-4 mins but the sooner you let guests onto the dance floor, the longer they will be able to enjoy themselves, since not everyone enjoys watching the spotlight dances.

The bridal party (including bride and groom) should arrive at the same time as the guests.

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