Post # 1
So we’re less than 6 months away from the wedding and currently trying to decide on the time to put on the invites. It will be on a Sunday in early March next year. Below is our estimated timeline:
2 pm – 3.30 pm: Mass
3.30 pm – 4 pm: Pictures with family, wedding party, different groups inside church
4 pm – 5.30 pm : Picture and video time as married couple – with & without wedding party (we want some downtime for just the two of us, and we’ve invested in a really good videographer we want them to film us when we’re taking picture)
5:30 pm – 6 pm: travel to the venue (our venue is about 30′ drive from the church, we haven’t chosen where to take pictures yet but want to factor this in).
6 pm – 7 pm: cocktail hour (according to our family customs, we’ll have to be present at the cocktail hours as soon as guests start arrving to take pictures with them, this is non-negotiable..)
7 pm: reception starts etc.
Considering our wedding is in March (before daylight saving ends, so we won’t be able to take advantage of the extra hour), and on a Sunday. Is this timeline ok? Last weekend we attended a cousin’s wedding and their Mass took at least 1hours and 45 minutes including pictures, and we know ours will be longer because we will have more guests). Fiance’s parents said that 7 pm may be too late for a Sunday and even 6pm for cocktail will be pretty dark 🙁 (even though we plan to do the entire event indoor anyway). Fiance suggested to compromise and start cocktail at 5.30 pm, so picture time for us will be 4 – 5.30pm including travel time back to venue. Will this be enough?
Thanks so much for your insights, and good luck to fellow March brides!
Post # 2
– You’re going to get heat from the bees about the long gap between the ceremony and cocktail hour. But, I go to a lot of Catholic weddings and know this is completely standard and I assume most of your guests will expect/be accustomed to it.
– 7pm is pretty late for a Sunday wedding. But, an hour and a half isn’t a lot of time for pictures and 30 minutes of travel. Would you consider doing a first look?
Post # 3
Thanks for you advice. We’ve been talking about first look but still prefer doing pictures/having some down time together as a married couple (right after the ceremony). We haven’t ruled it out completely though..
Another option is to have pictures on site of the reception place as there’s a small courtyard with a little fountain there (hence save the 30 minutes of travel time).
Post # 4
I would talk to your photographer and ask what they think. We gave our photographer a list of photos that we wanted (in addition to the standard couple portraits and bridal party photos) and she told us how long she would realistically need in order to get them done.
We had a Catholic ceremony as well and needed a gap afterwards for guests to get back to the hotels then take the shuttles to the reception. Our ceremony was 4-5 and cocktail hour began at 6:30. We wanted to be at cocktail hour but our photographer said it wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t do a first look, so that’s what we opted to do.
We also set it up with the venue so that if guests decided not to take the shuttles and go directly to the reception venue they would be offered drinks and a place to sit on the patio.
Our photographer ultimately set the timeline for our day because she knew how long everything would take and what was reasonable. Our photographer needed about 2 1/2 hours to deliver her standard amount of photos and the additional photos that we asked for.
Post # 5
Are all your guests local? That’s heavily important. My personal opinion is that if you have, for example, 100 guests and more than 20 to 30 are from out of town (and there are lots of children and elderly), 7 pm is just too late. Keep in mind, your reception STARTS at 7 pm. People will be hungry (cocktail hour doesn’t fill stomachs enough to satisfy), and elderly people will already be exhausted.
But if everyone is from right in town and can leave with the babies and Great-Aunt Mary and be home by 10 pm, and up in 10 hours to get to work on Monday, I wouldn’t sweat it too much.
(An aside – I am extremely surprised that your Catholic church allows weddings on Sunday. I have never even heard of a priest OK’ing such a thing. And it’s during Lent too, isn’t it? Just strange lol. Why did you go that route? Is it too late to switch it to a Saturday?)