francesjoys : Four hours of set-up time is definitely excessive when you are using a full service caterer and a florist. Guests typically start arriving around 30 minutes prior, which seasoned vendors account for. Since it sounds like your ceremony location is outdoors, your caterer will still have the opportunity to put finishing touches on the closed-off reception area while your ceremony and cocktail hour are taking place. They’ll have PLENTY of time.
If you are worried about things going wrong, I would definitely hire a DOC. They seriously make all the difference in the world when it comes to the day running smoothly.
Like a PP said, your timeline is missing the getting ready portion. You should include when hair and make-up is to begin, the time that your wedding party needs to be dressed and photo ready and what time they need to arrive at the venue.
I would make cocktail “hour” a full hour instead of 45 minutes…especially if you have the intention of joining it. You’ll be surprised how quickly it goes by.
Also, I would break down your reception plan more to include when toasts and cake cutting will be etc. It’s really vague right now. A sample would be:
2:00pm- Venue opens, caterer arrives for set-up
2:30pm- Florist arrives for set-up (once linens have been placed by caterer)
3:00pm- DJ and other vendors arrive; wedding party and immediate family member arrive at venue for pre-ceremony photos
3:30pm- Cake delivered
3:45pm- Pre-ceremony photos end; wedding party retreats to bridal suite
4:00pm- Ceremony space set and ready for early guest arrivals; reception space set-up continues by catererer
4:20pm- wedding party to line up for ceremony (location?)
4:45pm- Reception space set-up is finished up
5:00pm-ceremony ends/cocktail hour commences; Post-ceremony photos commence (location)
5:20pm- wedding party and extended family dismissed to cocktail hour (after group shots)
5:20-5:45- B&G portraits at venue (you can join cocktail hour depending on how long your after-ceremony photos take)
6:00pm: Guests are invited into reception space; Wedding party meets in (location??) for introduction line-up
6:15pm: Intros (followed by first dance?)
6:25pm: Welcome? Thank you? Blessing?
6:30pm: Dinner begins (ask your caterer how long you can expect dinner service to take. This will depend on the meal type, the number of servers they are providing, and your guest count)
7:15pm: Toasts begin (once everyone has been served and has a chance to eat some)
**if your cake is being served table-side to guests as their last course, you would need to insert the. Are cutting during dinner time so the caterer can take it to the kitchen to slice and plate. You can do it later on in the night if it will be sliced and served buffet style**
7:30pm: Dinner ends (or first dance if you choose to open the dance floor with that instead of placing it after intros)
10:00pm:bouquet and garter toss
11:30pm-reception ends (send-off?)
1:00am- all vendors out
This is just to give you an idea and show you how much time you actually have if you choose to maximize it. A DOC would be in charge of making sure all of these items are happening according to your final timeline so you don’t have to think about it at all :).
I hope this is helpful!