Post # 1
How long is the reception supposed to be? I need to figure out how many hours that I need to rent our venue. Right now I have cocktail hour from 6:30 -7:45, and then the following:
8pm – First Dance
8:15 – Dinner buffet starts
9:15 – Dinner buffet ends
9:30 – Cake cutting
9:45 – Dancing starts (cake will be served during reception)
11:00 – End Reception
Does this sound right, or should some period of time be longer?
Post # 3
I think the average is 4 hrs, not including cocktail
Post # 4
Our reception was four hours, and I still felt it was really really rushed! I think five hourse?
Post # 5
- Wedding: March 2010 - Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
i’m no expert, but i think the buffet dinner might take longer than an hour–people moving around, talking, getting up for seconds, you and your spouse making the rounds, etc. r people may want to dance for longer (assuming that it might take as much as 30 minutes for people to warm up and get comfortable dancing).
the weddingbee wiki (on the bottom right of the weddinbee page) has a an entry about wedding day timelines that include reception timelines, and links to past bees’ posts about their day of timelines:
hope this is helpful!
Post # 6
Ours is going to be 6 hours not including cocktail hour. But we want to have a lot of dancing and partying so it really depends what you are going for. I would be disappointed with just an hour of dancing. Especially if you are going to toss the bouquet and garter too!
Also I think an hour is a bit short for the buffet also!
Post # 7
You’ll only be dancing for 1 hr? That sounds short. Usually folks have at least 3 hrs for dancing. If the reception is over at 11, then an 8pm dinner seems late. If they’re enjoying themselves, then guests won’t want to leave.
That said, there is no right or wrong as for the length since it’s totally up to you. I’ve been to cake and punch receptions that lasted 3 hrs max and dinner and dancing receptions that lasted over 8 hrs, and in both cases, guests felt that was short, at least from what they said to each other.
As for the buffet dinner, how big is your guest list? A larger guest count will make the timeframe longer. But I’ve seen buffets that lasted for an hour with no problem. Talk to your caterer and see what they normally allow for.
Post # 8
Okay…I had the times wrong–since we have 4 hours not 3…
This is what I was thinking…let me know if this sounds right:
8pm – First Dance
8:15 – Dinner buffet starts
9:30 – Dinner buffet ends
10:00 – Cake cutting
10:15- Dancing starts (cake will be served during reception)
12:00 – End Reception
Also, since it’s a buffet, I could hypothetically NOT actually end the buffet…we could just move on to the next thing & leave the food so people could go back for more. (Although the caterer would have to start packing up after a while.)
Other people who had buffets, did you like “close” it, or just leave it open while the events moved on?
Post # 9
Ours is five with the cocktail hour. I’m not sure if that’s normal though.
Post # 10
Your edit sounds just about right!
Post # 11
And it will be under 100 people…aiming for about 85 guests.
We will be in LA, so we are considering doing an afterparty at a bar or club or something….ideally somewhere near a Kogi taco truck. 😉
I don’t have a strong preference for any particular schedule, more just thinking about what we and the guests will enjoy. I just know that the reception venue (really just another portion of the same venue where the ceremony is) includes 4 hours in its rental time, so we will have to pay more if we increase it to 5 hours.
Also, we can’t really start earlier b/c the ceremony has to be at 5:30/5:45 b/c it’s at the library and we need to wait until it closes. Folks will get to eat at the cocktail hour starting at 6:30, so I’m not really worried about dinner starting officially at 8:15-ish.
Post # 12
The weddings I’ve been to (nearly all that served dinner were buffets) had the food left out while the next event was starting. However, to ensure food safety, the caterers have to pick it up after being out for a total of 4 hrs. Depending on the caterer, they may let you take home leftovers, in which case those can be set out at the very end to reheat at home. Not every caterer allows that though.
Post # 13
Hmm…actually now that I think about it, the event has to end at 12 and I can’t start before 5:45, so I guess I am pretty much stuck with this schedule.
Does the allotment of times sound right? If it seems like we need more dancing then I may be more likely to want to plan the afterparty….
Post # 14
We’re doing 5 hours w/ 1 hr cocktail hour.
Post # 15
We’re doing 6 1/2 hours, 5:30pm-12am, first hour will be cocktail.