Post # 1
Most templates I’ve seen say 5 hours. In your experience (as a bride or guest), has this been accurate? How long are you planning your reception to be?
Just to clarify, I mean your “official reception” including cocktail hour but not ceremony or next day brunch or anything like that 🙂
Post # 3
Our ceremony begins at 5 and the reception ends at 10. So our reception will probably be 4.5 hours at the very least.
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House
I think mine is 4 hours. The ceremony starts at 6, cocktail hour will probably be from 6:45- 7:45 if the ceremony doesn’t start exactly on time, and then the reception will officially start at 8 and go to midnight
Post # 5
5 hours total. Cocktail hour is 6-7, reception is 7-11
Post # 6
- Wedding: July 2012 - Catholic Church
Our reception went from 3:30pm-1am. After 8pm it was drop-in and anyone could come dance and party.
Post # 7
The drinks reception and wedding breakfast are from 1.30pm-5.30pm, we then have a break for 2 hours, then the evening reception starts at 7.30pm, and there is no official finish time; I imagine it’ll start getting quieter around 1am, but won’t finish until 2-3am, as a few of us plan to make a night of it.
So, about 9 hours plus?
Post # 8
@toelopeornottoelope: I voted 4 hrs but then realized you wanted us to include cocktail hour. Mine is 5 hours with cocktai hour.
Post # 9
- Wedding: October 2014 - Disney
Our reception will be about 4.5 hours, so I chose 4. We are getting married at 5 and I believe reception should start by 6 with us arriving by about 6:45. Fireworks go up about 9:30 and finish about 10:15 so we will leave around 10:30. This will be plenty considering I will have run a half marathon that morning.
Post # 10
My ceremony is at 4 and we have to be done with the reception by 10pm (no music after that at my venue), so I voted 6 hours but it will really be more like 5.5 hours. I feel like it’s actually shorter than standard – I feel like it would be ‘normal’ for ours to start when it does and then go to midnight but I could be wrong.
Post # 11
I’m always shocked when I hear about people talking about 5 hour receptions. I’ve only been to wedding receptions that start at 4:00-5:00 and have never been to one that ended until well after midnight. This has to be a regional thing.
We haven’t signed a contract yet, but our #1 venue choice would have cocktails from 5-6 and reception from 6-1:30 or so (bar closes at 1). So that’s 8.5 hours. However, I know people will stay for at least most of the night (with the exception of the older & very young crowd). The 4 weddings I’ve gone to since I was a teenager have always still been packed at midnight.
Post # 12
- Wedding: August 2013 - An amazing non-profit retreat
Our reception will go on for as long as people want to party.The dj is down with whatever and the venue is flexible.
It’s looking like our ceremony will be at 4, reception starting at 5… so two years of waiting for a five hour party (when our house parties go on for much longer) seems so anti-climactic!
Post # 13
6pm – 1am so 7 hours. That seems short to me! I couldn’t do any shorter. I want a big long fun party.
Post # 14
With the ceremony, we had 4 hours; the ceremony was maybe 20 minutes and we did get about a 10-15 minute late start, so really let’s call the reception 3.5 hours. It was not long enough; the only thing, in hindsight, I’d have changed about our day would have been to make it longer.
We were on a chartered ship so there was no option for guests to leave early; I doubt any would have, if they’d had the option, as everyone was having a great time with nice food, good music, open bar, and a great (and drama-free) group of people.
Post # 15
Our reception includes our ceremony – so 6 hours. Excluding the ceremony, about 5 1/2 hours.
Post # 16
@dewingedpixie: Whoa, a half-marathon the morning after your wedding? Or the morning of your wedding? Either way, that’s AMAZINGGGGGG!
Thanks for your input guys! For some reason I had been under the impression that I had to entertain my guests ALL NIGHT LONG (like, until 3 or 4am lol) and I was so worried about what we would DO all that time! Then I looked it up and was relieved that’s it’s only 5 hours, but was a bit skeptical as well. So your comments are really helpful! It sounds like there’s a lot of variability too which is nice.