(Closed) How long should an evening reception be? Timeline help

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
4824 posts
Honey bee

There are a ton of options. Try googling “wedding reception timeline” to get a few samples. It will vary based on what traditional events you are doing.

I wouldnt worry about how far people are driving because they will leave when they want to even if its a bit earlier, but if people are having fun they wont want to leave.

Post # 4
7587 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2010
Post # 5
677 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Well, just as long as you have a general idea of when you would like to have dinner served, everything else follows in whatever order you want, some people arrive and do all the important photo moments first like cake cutting, first dance, boquet toss etc if the photogapher is on an hourly contract to save money. The traditional timeline is that you arrive, give the toasts, the blessing and have dinner served and then you wait until people are finishing eating and have the DJ announce the cake cutting, that is served and then you usually do the garter/boquet toss or any other games then the special dances, then open the dancefloor. But you can have these things in whatever order you want, I think your DJ just wants to know the order of events that he has to announce.

Post # 6
1230 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

My reception is 5-10.  One hour for appetizers (while we get pics) and then 4 glorious hours of eating, dancing and photos!!!!!

Post # 9
654 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Cocktail hour starts at 6, dinner at 7 and we have the room until midnight.  I like the 6 hour range b/c that gives you more time for dancing.

Post # 11
4336 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

here’s my rough timeline-

5 pm cocktail hour
6 pm bridal party arrives
6:15 dinner/toasts
7:30? special dances
8 pm? general dancing
11 pm bar closes
11:30 or 12 am last dance

Post # 13
1962 posts
Buzzing bee

@red_rose:  Ideal.  Some add on an extra hour because it goes by so quickly.  you can also do an after party.  I think Joy’s timeline is perfect though.

Post # 14
835 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Here is what we got as of now:

6:45 p.m. – Hors D’oeuvres /cocktail hour

7:20 p.m. – Introduction of Wedding Party and Bride and Groom

7:35 p.m. – Dinner

8:00 p.m. – Toasts

8:30 p.m. – First Dance

9:15 p.m. – Wedding Cake

9:30 p.m. – Dollar Dance

10:00 p.m. – Garter Toss, Bouquet Toss

11:00 p.m. – Bar closes

12:00 p.m. – Last Dance

Post # 15
5118 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

We’ll have the ceremony from 4:30-5:30 (ish, we’re Lutheran, it won’t be an hour). Leave travel time for guests to get to the reception 20 minutes away.

Dinner served from 6:30-8:00. Toasts during dinner, cutting the cake right around 7:30 so it can be served to guests.

8:00- 1st dance as a couple, Mom/daughter dance, mom/son dance, big ol’ party starts.

9:30- dollar dances

10:30- garter (toss/musical chairs, we’ve yet to decide)

11-12:45- more ‘party atmosphere’ dancing with more current songs/club type of feel. 

12:45-1 – last dance/wrap up the night

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