Post # 1
Fiance and I have been talking about the timeline of our big day (it’s not for a while, so this is all just speculation). He thinks 4pm ceremonies are too late. Especially since we don’t want to do a first look and thus photography before the ceremony won’t happen.
So here’s our tentative timeline, will you critique it? I want to hear what works (or worked for you) and what didn’t and why!
7-8am : Wake up, robe, eat lightly.
8-9am : Hair and makeup start for the bride. Bridesmaids arrive.
10am : Hair and makeup for bridesmaids. Photographer arrives
11am : Everyone gets dressed
11:15am : Bridal photos and bride+bridesmaid photos
1:15pm : Arrive at ceremony site
1:30pm : Ceremony starts
2:00pm : Ceremony finishes.
2:15pm : Formal pictures, families, bridal party etc.
3:00pm : Doors open at reception, cocktail hour starts.
5:30pm : Dinner and speeches.
7:00pm : Cake cutting
7:30pm : First dance
7:45pm : Dance floor opens.
That’s all I have so far. What do you think? It’s very rough so please help me out!
ETA: Our bridal party is small – either 2-4 people on each side. Our guest list is only about 107 total if everyone shows up. I plan on having food spread out in our getting ready suite and also packed for pictures after the ceremony.
Post # 3
- Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall
@kayberry: I don’t think anyone else will be able to help you with your timeline, mine was set by my vendors and travel time.
For example, MUA needs 1 hour with me, 30 mins with each bridesmaid, plus 15 minutes “running late time” then photog needs 30 mins per “group” meaning bride family, groom’s family, bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.
That’s how I did our timeline.
Also, I don’t think 4pm is too late, ours starts at 6:30, but we ARE doing a first look.
Post # 4
@mchitt329: Thank you!
I guess I’m just trying to get a rough idea but it does depend on my vendors! He doesn’t want a 4pm ceremony because afterwards we’d have to do all our pictures which means dinner would be very late and he doesn’t want dinner so late.
Post # 5
You have “eat lightly” between 7-8 am. You will definitely need to eat again before the reception. Most brides and grooms are so busy during the reception that they hardly have time to eat (at least not really sit and enjoy it like a guest would) so you definitely need to budget time for it.
Also, how far is it from where you and the Bridesmaid or Best Man are getting ready to the ceremony site? You have no time for travel budgeted.
I personally think planning on arriving 15 minutes before the ceremony is to start is cutting it too close. Everything will take longer than you think in the morning. You want to be able to relax for a few minutes after arriving.
Edit to add: if you only have 100 guests, 2 hours is too long for dinner. I would push up the first dance to 7:00, and most of the time, the DJ doesn’t even play the entire song. Are you having father/daughter, mother/son dances too? If so you only need 15 minutes total for all that.
Post # 6
@country chic: Thank you.
Where we’re getting ready is about 5 minutes from the ceremony site – we could walk if we wanted to but I don’t think we will.
My plan was to have food set out where we’re getting ready that way we could eat all morning. Also to have some things packed in our transportation so that we could eat on/off when we take pictures
Post # 7
OK – one more thing – you have a 2 & 1/2 hour gap between when your ceremony ends and your reception begins. Are they at the same place? What do you have for your guests to do for that gap?
Post # 8
@country chic: They’ll be at a different place.
I was against the gap (we compromised and made it shorter) but Fiance says it’s normal in weddings and guests can go home and change into something more comfortable, etc.
I don’t know yet..
Post # 9
One thing that’s of a bit of concern from a guest side is the two hours between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception. With Catholic weddings, the “gap” is a bit more of a norm. But I’m not sure if you’re having a Catholic mass. How do you think that timing will affect your guests? Even though your Fiance says it’s “normal,” I think it’s much less common than not having a long gap and can be an inconvenience — I’ve never known anyone to actually go home between the ceremony and reception to change.
Brides who don’t do photos before the ceremony (which is fine) usually end up having to arrive at the reception a little late. Usually (not always), the guests participate in the cocktail hour while the photos are being taken. Is that an option for you, in order to not lose out on time for photos but to also make it easier on your guests (make there be less of a gap)?
Post # 10
@Gemstone: Yes it is. We could start cocktail hour after the ceremony.
Is that better? However, then how would we do our receiving line at the reception?
Post # 11
@kayberry: If your guests all live close to the ceremony and reception site, then what your Fiance says is probably OK, that they can go home and change. However, if anyone is coming from out of town or traveling say, over 1/2 hour to get to your venues, it doesn’t make sense for them to go home.
As a guest, I hate the gap. We had one with our wedding because we had a catholic ceremony, but it was only 1 & 1/2 hours. We had a family friend graciously open her house for a pre-cocktail hour. She had all sorts of snacks because we did not have hors dvors at our reception. She also lived super close to the church so it worked really well for our guests.
Post # 12
@country chic: Only a few of our guests will be out of town (if they come) and for those they’re all family and will be in the pictures.
Post # 13
@kayberry: One option is to go and greet your guests at their tables at the reception instead of the traditional receiving line. Your venue can make sure that you eat first, so after you and your husband have eaten, you can start hitting up each of the guest tables.
Another option is what we did — after the ceremony, and after the bride and groom and bridal party had recessed down the aisle, the guests remained seat. My husband and I then came back and ushered each row of guests out of the pews and greeted them at that time. It goes more quickly than a receiving line, and the upside is that guests get to stay seated while they wait for you to come to them, instead of having to stand in line.
We had about 250 guests and were able to usher them all out in less than 20 minutes, and we got a lot of positive feedback about that method.
Do either of those options sound good to you?
Post # 14
@Gemstone: They sound good to me, but it’s Fiance I have to convince haha!!
Post # 15
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
I do not think 4 is too late… heck, mine was at 5:30 and we had no first look, but I do think 2.5 hours is an excessive gap for your guests. We used cocktail hour and that’s it to take all our phtos… not a problem.
ETA: receiving lines are usually immediately after the ceremony, but they are pretty old fashioned. Most couples greet and thank guests during the reception. Since you are inviting 107, this will not be a problem. We invitied 117, expecting 96 to show, but actually had 81.
Post # 16
@kayberry: Haha! It may be a regional thing, but I’ve been to 20 weddings and only one had a true receiving line.
I’d recommend seeing if you could move the cocktail hour up so that it’s during your photos. I think that’s often the point of the cocktail hour — to offer some food and drink to the guests while they’re waiting for the bride and groom to arrive and the party to really start. Then you can still have all of the time you need for photos, but your guests won’t be as incovenienced and your dinner will still start at a reasonable time.
Of course, it’s up to you and your Fiance, but something along those lines might make it easier on everyone!