Post # 1
We are having our ceremony and reception at the same location. Here is what we have sketched out so far as a timeline:
5-5:30 guests arrive
6-7 cocktail hour/photos taken on site
8 – ???
I am not sure how long to have the reception go after dinner. The rental agreement says we have the hall for 4 hours, and then its extra charge for each additional hour. Also, the bar package is for 4 hours of service, and we buy an additional hour at $2 per person, max 5 hours total.
if cocktail hour is at 6, we can have the service until 10pm without getting charged extra. This means that we will have the hall until 10, which will be 5 hours total — so one hour extra on our bill for the hall rental, which seems fine to me.
Is 10pm too early to end the reception? That would mean 8-10pm for cake cutting and dancing (we don’t plan to do bouquet or garter toss) but we do plan on having father/daughter and mother/son dances.
What do you ladies think?
Post # 3
the maximum amount of time you can have the hall is 5 hours? Is the ceremony considered part of that time?
are you asking if you should start the ceremony later to have the reception end later?
Post # 4
No…we can have the hall as long as we want (if we pay extra per hour), but we can only serve alcohol for a max of 5 hours. Sorry I wasn’t clear!
If we start cocktail hour at 6, our package includes alcohol until 10, but we have to stop alcohol at 11pm no matter what.
Our package also includes 4 hours for the hall, but we would be purchasing one additional hour to bring it to 10pm (same as alcohol time limit). I just wasn’t sure if I needed to purchase additional hours at the hall because I wasn’t sure if the reception was too short or not if it ended at 10pm.
Post # 5
I’ve been to receptions that lasted long after we left (usually around 10:00 p.m.). The average by me is 8 hours. Our venue tried to get us to be 4 hours, which is unheard of to me. Ours will be booked for 6 hours, which is still short by our regions’ standards.
Our rough timeline –
[9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.: Time reserved for decorating rooms]
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Ceremony (room is reserved for an hour)
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Cocktails in reception room while we do pictures
4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: Reception
[10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.: Time reserved for breaking down]
Post # 6
I think that five hours from the beginning of the cocktail hour to the end of the night is a typical length.
I think that the best thing to do would be to work out a more detailed timeline and then go from there as to how long you want the reception to be.
Post # 7
I think 10 pm is early if it’s a Friday or Saturday night wedding. I wouldn’t expect a reception to be over by then.
Our ceremony and reception are in the same place.
5 to 5:30 – Ceremony
5:30 to 6 – cocktail hour for guests who came to ceremony
6 pm – continuation of cocktail hour/reception officially starts
6:30 – our entrance followed immediately but cake cutting and first dance
7 pm – dinner
our reception goes until midnight.
Post # 8
That is about typical for here (4-5 hours for reception). I only have my hall for 4 hours of reception time (but extra time to set up and decorate). I can pay for any extra hours I want but since it’s Sunday night I think a 10pm end time is perfect. I even anticipate people leaving earlier. If the party is still hopping by 10, we’ll get the extra hour and end at 11pm.
Post # 9
OP, since your ceremony is a Saturday night, I would opt for the extra hour and have the reception end the same time you can no longer serve alcohol: 11pm. If you’re including cake cutting and first dances and start at 8pm, I think that only will give your guests 1.5 ish hours or less if things are delayed to dance/mingle if you end at 10pm. I think that’s a little short in my opinion, but I’m from the midwest and it might be different here.
Post # 10
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
10pm should be a find time to end things– most guests wont stay much past that even if they have the option– once you and the groom leave, people will start trickeling out pretty quickly.
Post # 11
Thanks for the advice, ladies 🙂
I think its funny you say you’re from the midwest…here in Ohio we consider ourselves midwest too….what do you guys in Wisconsin consider Ohioans (just curious—I think it is hilarious some of the things people say about Ohio—-once an ex of mine said he went to Ireland and a guy there asked where he was from. When my ex said “Ohio” the Irish guy said “oh, man, I’m sorry” … but he had NO clue where Ohio was…just that it was a crappy place to be hahah).
I will probably end things around 11…but I am not sure if I should serve alcohol until the last minute…honestly some of the guests can get out of control (as seen by their behavior in other weddings/events), so I don’t want to have to worry that they’ll be completely blazed when they depart.
Post # 12
In Michigan a reception usually last 6 hours total. For example ours starts at 6 pm and ends at midnight. That is pretty standard of the places that I priced out before choosing our venue.
Post # 13
I think 10pm would be fine. We only had a few hours of ‘reception’ too…ours was
Day before – set up arch, chairs, tables, rearrange all other furniture, cook food, set up candles and decorations, and my friends put up balloons (I’m allergic). The florist set up our flowers the night before. We also got manicures and pedicures.
Day of –
9am – Went to the venue and let the baker in, she set up the cake and finished decorating the last bits
(From 9am until 1:30ish, the last minute decorations and food were put out)
2:00 – Ceremony started
2:10 – Pictures
2:45 – Open bar, buffet-style dinner. We opened gifts per guests’ requests – many on his side live out of state and haven’t seen him in years, so they never get to watch him open gifts. This was our ‘reception’…we had everything packed up and the venue was as good as new by 6pm.
We didn’t do the bouquet toss, garter toss, first dance, father daughter dance, etc…so that cut down on our time by some.
Post # 14
I think it totally depends what region you are from. Before I came to this forum, I have never heard of a wedding ending before 1am. And almost everyone stays that late, even the older people! Our reception will be going until 2am. What is common in your region? Unless ending at 10pm is really common in your social circle, I think that is too early for a Friday or Saturday night reception.
My friend recently told me that he is travelling to a wedding far away and found out that it is only from 6-10pm. He was completely shocked (enough so that he told all of our friends about it) and a bit upset that he was travelling so far for only 4 hours of celebration. He is still going to go to support the couple but he definitely does not seem to be a fan of their timeline!
Post # 15
Typically the ceremony is 30 minutes or an hour (depends on the type of ceremony your having). The cocktail hour is an hour and the reception is four hours.
I would suggest having the ceremony start at 6. Cocktail hour 6:30 – 7:30 and the Reception from 7:30 – 11:30.
Post # 16
Good point—hate for the OOTers to be disappointed. Normally around here the weddings end somewhere between 10:30-midnight. My Fiance thinks that is nuts—he is from Greece, and it is standard to have the ceremony at 6pm and then festivities last at least til 4am, but often until 6am or later. His niece said that for her wedding at 5:30am she had to call it quits because she was tired of lugging her dress around—and at that point her guests were still going strong!!!! Back in the “old days” weddings on their island lasted for 2 full days (because people had to walk to the event from other villages, so they weren’t about to turn around after a few hours or just a day)! That would be insane (and super fun!).