Post # 1
My gut feeling is that this isn’t enough time, but I’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences.
The venue I love and am about 90% settled on has 5 hours for the basic ceremony and reception package. You figure a half hour or so for the ceremony (it won’t be that long, but nothing in this world ever starts on time…) and that leaves us with, at most, 4 1/2 hours for the reception, including cocktail hour. The wedding will have approximately 200 people and will include the whole shebang (cocktail hour, dinner, toasts, special dances, party and dance time for everyone…)
I’m thinking 4 1/2 hours is going to end up being too rushed, especially if we end up being flexible with the schedule (i.e. if photos run long during the cocktail hour and dinner starts 15 minutes late). I feel like every wedding reception I’ve been to has been 5-6 hours.
The reason I’m thinking about this now is that this particular venue charges a somewhat absurd amount (in my opinion) for an extra reception hour, but I like the venue enough that I just might be willing to pay it if I decide the extra hour is necessary. 4 1/2 hours just makes me really uneasy. I hate to end a party when people are just getting into it, you know? I want people to be able to hang out and enjoy themselves.
Post # 3
Our reception ran from 6-10 and my husband and I were ready to leave around 9:30. I loved spending time with everyone, but it was exhausting. We actually had the reception hall decrease the number of hours the reception was (it was originally 5 hours and we didn’t want it to be that long). However, we had the ceremony on the site (5:30-6) and decided to skip cocktail hour and just go straight to dinner. We took our pictures ahead of time.
Post # 4
I think 5 hours is a pretty standard reception. My reception package is 5 hours including the cocktail hour from 6-7 and reception from 7-11.
We also had to pay a chapel rental fee since we are getting married at the venue but that included a 30 min hospitality (for guests arrival starting at 5 with champagne and strawberries) and a 30 min ceremony begining at 5:30
I am praying that we stay on schedule since the event coordinator told us that they will give us a 15 min grace period during the change of events… meaning if the ceremony cocktail hour or reception run 15 mins behind we wont be charged but anything over that we would have to pay a 30 min pro rated fee which I guess makes sense.
Post # 5
@GreenGables: My venue has the same package that you just mentioned. We have the place booked from 6-11pm, with our ceremony starting at 6pm. My fiance and I have plans to dodge out of there ASAP, so probably like 10:30. I’ve been a little worried about time for the same reason you are, that if the schedule gets thrown off by photos or whatnot, that we’ll run out of time. We also have the crazy extra fee for the additional hour, but I hoenstly don’t think we’ll need it. My rule for my wedding has been KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) throughout this whole process, and I don’t think I’ll do it any differently here – Simple and sweet, get my guests in and out of there to celebrate with us, quick and painless. 🙂
Post # 6
Ours is 5-10 including all of that stuff, I think you should be fine! 🙂
Post # 7
I think 5 hours is more than enough. People start to get restless after a few hours.
Ours is from 7-12. Our ceremony at the church is at 5:30.
Post # 8
Thanks for the input, guys. I figured 5 hours was pretty standard, and didn’t know if having a half hour less would make it too short. I’ve had a couple friends I’ve consulted tell my they think it’s not long enough. (Though one girl said something like, “Well, pictures are going to take about 2 hours.” I was like, What?? If my photographer tries to make me do a 2-hour session I will seriously punch him in the face. Half the reason they take so many photos is just to increase the odds that you’ll buy more of them.)
Post # 9
@GreenGables: That’s not why they take “so many” and these day’s just about all photographers don’t rely on their clients purchasing on the back end (save for potentially an album and MAYBE a canvas of one image). That’s why it’s more expensive today because they DONT make anything after the wedding.
They should be able to work with anything you give them. If you do some before hand it will save some time too. Figure about 3-5 min. for each FAMILY combo. i.e. B&G with Brides parents (2-3 min to set up and do), B with parents alone, (2-3 min.) All of brides family (5 min.) etc… The less you do of that the more time you’ll save. You’ll want at least 30 though for wedding party and you and hubby alone. But again, I’ve done EVERYTHING including family in 30 before…. just means everyone has to pat attn and not goof around.
That being said, 4 hrs is THE standard for reception length. 5 if you include a cocktail hour and almost always the couple and wedding party does NOT attend cocktail hour. So you should be fine. If anything, see if you can add 30 min… but you’re golden where you are now.
Post # 10
@KLP2010: Oh, that’s good info re: how long the pictures actually take. Thanks for that.
@OP: I think you’re fine with 5 hours.
Post # 11
I think 4 1/2 hours is more than enough time. Granted ours is very slimmed down but we’re only doing 2 1/2 hours.
Post # 12
That’s the exact amount of time we had, and it was perfect. We did group photos beforehand, and mingles with the guests during cocktail hour. It was perfect!
Post # 13
WOW, makes me glad that we have our venue from 10am – midnight. Our ceremony will be at 3:25pm and the reception will start shortly after the ceremony, both are in the same place just Ceremony outside and reception inside. Plenty of time to set the inside up, and not much to do outside. Great thing is my cousin offered yesterday to assist with the set up, as well as cooking. Even suggested making the reception a pot luck, which I LOVE the idea of. Certainly makes the budget a little easier.
Post # 14
@GreenGables: I dont know how traditional you are but depending on the amount of pictures you need to take that hour in between cocktail hour may not be enough… Think of your family size, bridal party size and different combo pictures needed. Fiance and I decided that we will be taking ours before the ceremony… our photographer was very pleased when we told him before he had to suggest it. We have the photographer for 9 hours so we are starting our pictures at 2:30 and should be done by 5
Post # 15
4-5 hours is normal! There will be a lot of people who won’t stay the whole time anyway.
Post # 16
@MELIS5A: I definitely see your point, and that was one of my concerns. I don’t think I could do pictures for two hours straight, but I could definitely see it running over an hour. So, for example, by the time dinner actually gets started, there may only be 3 hours left for the reception.
I figure we may be able to get some family photos out of the way before the ceremony, as well as bridal party photos and groom’s party photos (separately). I’m sure I’ll consider doing a “first look” photo shoot and getting a lot of those photos done before the ceremony, but I may very well decide against that.
Thank you for all the input, ladies!