(Closed) Late dinner at reception okay? Timeline help!!

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
8576 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

What time are you planning on having dinner at, exactly?

My only thing is that I don’t think open bar should open BEFORE dinner. Having maybe 1 cocktail drink or wine during cocktail hour is fine, but I don’t think the open bar is a good idea…. You don’t want people to be drinking on [almost] empty stomachs, they will get wasted WAY too fast… you don’t want drunk people giving you toasts and what not!

Everything else seems fine. I would warn your guests that dinner will be later in the evening so they can choose to eat a snack/lunch around 2:00 or so.

Post # 4
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

If your guests are used to a later dinner, I think that’s okay. For example, DH’s culture always has events that start late with late meals and we’ve been to weddings where there was a cocktail reception but dinner wasn’t served until 10 or something. The guests that are used to it were prepared but the ones that were not were a little confused and hungry (assuming they only had light apps). Since you have heavy appetizer stations, I think you will be fine. 

Something to consider though would be how long your guests expect to stay. The guests that are used to the late events, like DH’s family, know to get babysitters to cover until early A.M. the next day, but some of the other ones that are used to wrapping up by 11 or midnight (latest), often left right after dessert because of the sitter issue.

There may need to be a gap between appetizer and entree depending on how many servers you have. We had whole tables plated at one time, so we could only do one table at a time. So while table 1 was done eating, table 10, for example, was still getting their food. That’s something to consider.

Post # 6
3688 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Move the first dance and the best man toast to after dinner/during dinner. I think 9:15 is too late.

Post # 7
8576 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

@CityBearBride:  I would put something on your website about when each part of your reception begins.

I actually added a general timeline for guests to our website, including rehearsal dinner, ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, open bar, dances, cake cutting & tosses. That way everyone is informed ahead of time and they can schedule their day/meals appropriately.

Post # 8
9689 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think it’s fine.  If the ceremony doesn’t start until 5:30 I wouldn’t expect to be eating until 7 or so as a guest.  I think as long as there is food at 7 (cocktail hour) then I can last until a later dinner. 

If it said cocktail hour at 7 on the invites I would think it is implied that food will be a little bit later.  I don’t think all the guests need a detailed play-by-play of the night.

But I wouldn’t put any huge gaps between apps and entrees on purpose.  I would just let the caterer do their thing in a flowing order.  It would annoy me if I had to wait 45 min between my appetizer and entree.  Because…it seems there is no real reason to put these gaps in there.  I’d serve the entree at 8:50 or so if it was me!  I’d rather have more time to eat my entree than appetizer.

I think you could do the best man toast towards the end of the meal rather than before entrees.

Open bar at 6:30 is good for people who show up early. 

Our ceremony is at 5:30 too but I’m thinking of having dinner started by about 6:45 since it’s all in one location and I am getting almost all of my pictures out of the way beforehand.  Our reception techincally starts at 6pm so that is when our bar is opening.

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