Our timings, and food choices (to give you an idea) were as follows:
1.30pm: guests walked to the reception venue (about 3 minutes away)
1.45pm: drinks reception started. Canapes (pesto and marguerita croute; baked figs wrapped in bacon; smoked haddock and mustard fishcakes; beef and horseradish truffles; crispy belly pork and black pudding skewers) and drinks (1 x mimosa, 1 x sparkling wine pp) were served; string trio played. Some photos were also taken during this time inc a group shot.
3.30pm: guests were seated for the wedding breakfast (meal). Speeches (FOB; groom; BM; Maid/Matron of Honor (in that order)) and toasts (w/champagne)
4pm: meal (3 choices for the starter and dessert, 4 for the main course (slamon, steak, chicken, vegetarian lasagne), 1/2 bottle of wine or 3 beers pp plus water on the table).
5.45-6pm: meal ended. Slide-show of images from our relationship in the cinema for guests who wanted to see them.
6.30pm: acoustic guitarist/singer started playing, bar tab starts.
7pm: evening reception officially started (we wanted to allow a gap so guests could freshen up/change (most were staying at the venue)).
7.45pm: bouquet toss, followed by cake-cutting.
8pm: first dance to the live band.
9pm: evening buffet (selection of open baguettes (to include V options) with toppings inc brie and chilli jam, cheddar cheese ploughmans, and tuna mayo; jacket potato station (GF) with grated cheese, chilli con carne, and sour cream; croque monseiur; cheese and onion quiche; lamb kofta and chicken tikka skewers (GF); plaice goujons; steak and red onion marmalade ciabatta sandwiches) and the cake (4 flavours plus 12 Girlfriend cupcakes in 2 flavours) served.
11pm: band finished, DJ started.
1.30am: DJ finished, most guests have left.
2.30am: bar tab ended (to get rid of H’s uncle..), re-opens around 3am.
3.30am: all but 5 of us have retired to bed.
While it is common to have a day/evening split, I didn’t want our evening guests to feel like ‘second class citizens’ which is why we put just as much thought into the evening (from the entertainment to the open bar to the food, which was much more substantial than a typical UK evening buffet). As you can probably see, we provided a lot of food, but, IMO that is necessary as it’s a LONG day.