Is 8 hours too long for a wedding???

posted 2 months ago in Reception
  • poll: Is 8 hours too long for the ceremony and reception combined?
    Yes, make it shorter : (34 votes)
    32 %
    Yes, but it's fine because people can leave when they want : (35 votes)
    33 %
    No, keep the party going : (38 votes)
    36 %
  • Post # 2
    126 posts
    Blushing bee

    I vote take all the time you can.  You’ll be surprised at how quickly it flies.  And every wedding I’ve ever been to has run at least a little late.  If your fiance really wants an all night party and your friends/family are the kind of people who can truly hang, let him have it.  My number 1 complaint for all weddings is that they’re over too soon.  It’s the worst to get cut off when I’m killing it on the dance floor.  But maybe that’s just me.

    Post # 3
    269 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    People will start bowing out at around 9 if it starts at 4. Around midnight it’ll be dead 

    Post # 4
    973 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2018

    I know many couples who have tried to make their wedding last until midnight and I just have to say, most guests leave by 10pm. If you have a good amount of younger friends who will stick around and keep dancing and you and your partner want to keep the music going that late, than by all means it’s your day! However, if you’re planning on a grand exit (ie: getaway car, sparklers, etc) and/or you both want some time for yourselves at the end of the evening, I would suggest ending things around 10pm. 

    Post # 5
    1124 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2019 - Tacoma, WA

    Our ceremony and reception will be roughly 7 1/2 hours start to finish, with the ceremony starting at 1pm and the reception at 3pm. Different venues, however, so we wanted to allow people plenty of time to get from the ceremony to the reception while we do photos, and then we’ll get there around 3:15/3:30 for our entrance. We technically have our reception venue until midnight, but Fiance and I are leaving the reception around 8:30 to go to the airport (because we’re insane and decided to leave for our honeymoon that same night hah). I’m pretty confident everyone will start leaving once we leave, but if not, they’re free to hang out however long.

    If you’re able, I would leave it open with the option to let the DJ go early if things die down. I’ve been to receptions that ended at midnight after hours of dancing and partying and it was so much fun no one wanted to stop the party (yay after party!). I’ve also been to receptions that were a little more low-key, not many people were into the dancing, etc., and by the time it was over everyone was way past ready to leave. I think it really depends on the crowd you’ll have there, but I don’t think 8 hours is too long if people are enjoying themselves! I’d definitely want the option to end it early, though.

    Post # 6
    565 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: January 2019

    We had our ceremony at 3 and had the venue till 10, so 7 hours. Most guests left by 9 and we wanted it to be over then too. There’s only so much dancing you can do and we were TIRED. Our venue was also up in the mountains and a lot of people had to drive back down the canyon if they didn’t get a hotel room so that contributed too. I would suggest going 4-10 or 11 at the latest

    Post # 7
    1152 posts
    Bumble bee

    We started at 3:30 for the ceremony and reception venue ended at midnight. Most of the guests left at 9:30ish and that’s ok. People wanted to stay stayed and had a good time, mostly we all chatted and caught up. No one is obliged to dance. Your DJ should know how to feel the room and allow people to just sit and chat if no one is dancing (instead of blasting dance music the whole time). Just be sure this is communicated.

    It was great to be able to stay and chat with those who chose to. It most definitely did not feel like midnight when we were “kicked out”. 9:30 came around real quick. I would suggest start at 4 as he suggested. No end time needed for the reception. 

    Also consider you might run a bit late and the ceremony might last longer than originally planned, photos with guests might end up taking longer than planned (all of these happened for us). Don’t run to a tight schedule and feel rushed in the end. 

    Also remember you might get to take nice twilight hour photos if you start at 4 (with photos to happen after the ceremony). We originally planned to start at 4, but discussing the plan with the photographer as well as the planned meal times, was why we moved it forward to 3:30.

    Post # 8
    2445 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    I guess it’s a case of ‘know your crowd’.

    My wedding was 9 hours and it was great.  We had alot of other entertainment going on though, so dancing didn’t start until 10.  The majority of guests left around midnight but because it was a large 300 person wedding, there was still quite a few people left when we finished at 1am.

    Post # 9
    459 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2019

    I think it really depends on the people attending. If you have a lot of younger persons/friends that you know love to dance, than I would leave it as it is. The others are free to leave earlier.

    We had the civil ceremony on site at 4 o’clock, cocktail hour from 5pm-6:30pm (I knew that a lot of people wouldn’t be puntual, that’s why we did 90 minutes and it was the best idea I had.

    Then we moved everyone to sit down, my dad gave a speech, ma father-in-law as well and I shared some words too.

    We began dinner at 7pm. We had 5 courses and they served it really fast, so it was over at about 8:00.

    Then we began to dance, had the bouquet toss at some point and other typical things we did. At midnight we had a snack served and then the first persons started to leave. We had the venue and the caterer booked until 2 am.

    Post # 10
    1584 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2019

    For my group it’d be too long for most, but as long as you have the main events done by 9 then I think it’s better to go too long than too short. 

    Post # 11
    876 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2019

    I genuinely think so long as there’s plenty of food and booze, rage on as long as you like!

    Our event finishes at midnight, and likely we will bow out around 11-11:30. Out ceremony is at 4.

    But, around 1/3rd of the people there are a younger crowd and absolutely will want to dance all night. Many people are staying within 20 mins of the venue, so no need to drive all night or take a prohibitively expensive Taxi. Our engagement party, for example, raged on til midnight no problems at all. I don’t think I got to bed til 1:30am.

    If many of your guests are travelling far, then I would suggest maybe cutting it off at 11. Or if they’re an older crowd.


    Post # 12
    2761 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    Sounds pretty standard for a wedding here. We tend to have ceremonies near lunch then go on til midnight

    Post # 13
    221 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2019

    Last year I went to a wedding where the ceremony started at 5 and they had the venue until midnight. It was an hour drive each way for us so we bowed out around 10:30 and when I saw the bride after the honeymoon she said “you guys left so early!!!”  We thought we had stayed late!  So definitely a know your crowd type of deal.

    Our ceremony starts at 4 and the dancing will be over by 9 because that’s when most of our family leaves weddings anyway.  Plus we figure we will be tired, and we have to take down the venue ourselves once the guest leave and catch a plane to Italy the next morning!

    Post # 14
    219 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2016

     I think it depends some on where your venue is. If it’s up in the mountains, people will want to start bowing out earlier because of the drive. We had our mountain venue for 6 hours total, and it was perfect. People started leaving after about 5, in order to start long drive down. I would say 6 to 7 hours would be just about right. 

    Post # 15
    1221 posts
    Bumble bee

    I don’t think I’ve ever left a wedding before 2am. It’s not too long but depends on your crowd. It is definitely good to leave on a  high note. Are you heading out before your guests? Usually people start leaving after that since we take it as a sign. 

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