Post # 1
I am currently in the planning stages the wedding day timeline. Our wedding ceremony will be at 5:30 (so probably 5:45 is when it will actually start). I want to make sure there is plenty of time for dancing, as that is my favorite part. I have gone back and forth with the idea of receiving line versus no receiving line, and cocktail hour versus no cocktail hour. Our wedding ceremony and reception are the same venue, and it will be an outdoor wedding. The reception is also outside, but will be covered. The venue is at a winery, so there is plenty if room for guests to walk around if we were to have a cocktail hour.
Here is what I was thinking:
6:15-7:00 cocktail “hour” without receiving line (we’ll just mingle with the guests at that time, and we were wanting to go off for a few minutes on our own or with the bridal party and enjoy snacks and drinks to celebrate first)
7:00-7:30 intros, first dance, dad/daughter and mother/son dances
7:30-8:45 dinner, toasts (welcome, Maid/Matron of Honor, BM) maybe cake cutting too?
8:45/9-11/11:30 dancing and maybe cake cutting would be better here?
Any thoughts on having a receiving line or not? I’ve been to a couple weddings where the couple comes back up the aisle to hug guests as they leave their seats, row by row. That was nice and maybe it would help cut down crowding at the bar. But I’m not sure if it would eat up much time.
Thank you for any help and suggestions!
Post # 2
- Wedding: November 2019 - City, State
humblebee96 : I haven’t been to a wedding with a receiving line for a really long time. If you don’t have anywhere else to be, I would suggest mingling with your guests at the cocktail hour instead. If you want to run off & have some alone time with your new husband and your bridal party, you could do that immediately after the ceremony since you and your bridal party will be the first ones out. You could have the bartender have drinks ready for all of you so you can grab them and go. Give guests 20 mins to grab a drink and then come back & mingle. I think this is how Fiance and I may do this 🙂
Post # 3
I’m assuming you and the groom will be doing a first look? When will you be doing any bridal party/family photos if not during the cocktail hour?
Post # 4
My timeline is very similar to yours, just moved up about an hour time-wise, but similar length (maybe half an hour shorter for mine) We are doing all our photos before the ceremony, and the “mingle with guests during cocktail hour” approach. Not a big fan of receiving lines, myself!
A suggestion my wedding planner gave was during our welcome speech at the reception (which my fiancé and I are giving) to say something at the end like “If we don’t get a chance to come to you, please come and find us, because we would love to see you and thank you personally for being here” Basically opening up anyone who really wants to see us one on one to come say hello, without us having to actually do the rounds (the hope/assumption being that we have already said hello to most people during cocktail hour so that we have the reception to enjoy ourselves without worrying about being inundated greeting guests)
Post # 5
We are having a receiving line because it fits with how the venue is set up; we are getting married on the top floor and everyone will have to walk down stairs to get to the cocktail hour so we figured we’d stand on the platform between the two levels and greet everyone. We are having ~60-70 people so it shouldn’t take up too much time.
Post # 6
How many people are you having? I had ~60 and did a receiving line and loved it. The photos we got were some of the best, and it did cut down the crowding at the bar. I wouldn’t want to do this with 150+ though. Ours was *maybe* 10-15 minutes? We had people come up in couples/families and really just a quick hug and “omg you look so beautiful! Congrats” “Awe thanks! Go hit the bar and we’ll chat again soon!” sort of thing.
Cake cutting is the unofficial signal that it’s ok to leave. So it’s usually not a great idea to push it too late, so elderly or people with young kids can skip out when they need. You could even switch up your timeline to do dinner/toasts first, cake cutting, your special dances while people are eating cake, and then open the floor to everyone. If you want to maximize dancing time, that’s probably what I’d do. Anytime people can be eating while you’re doing something, they will be happy and you will save time.
Post # 7
We’re currently working on our timeline too. So far our timelines are very similar. I’ve only been to one wedding with a receiving line and I personally did not like it all. I was a small wedding, less than 100, but it still took so long because of how long some people wanted to talk to the bride and groom. We then had to wait in line to get food. I felt like we stood in lines for have the wedding. I also went to awedding that the bride and groom went around to each table as the food was being passed out. I thought that was very kind of them. I’m still unsure of how we will greet all guests, but I’ll try my best to not keep guests waiting.
Post # 8
I feel like our wedding will have around 120-150 guests (could be upwards of 190 if some of the out of town guests are able to make it). So maybe it would just be better to mingle with guests after the ceremony, during cocktail hour.
We do plan on taking first look, bridal party, and family photos before the ceremony, to get those taken care of to help maximize our time for mingling/eating/dancing. I will want some more professional photos after the ceremony of course, but I think I’d like those to just be with me and my FH.
Thank you all for these great suggestions! I absolutely love the idea of doing the cake cutting earlier in the evening. We’ll have a few older adults in the crowd that may want to end the evening earlier. Plus, we are having a dessert table and so I feel like by cutting the cake it will give people permission to take desserts when they would like throughout the night.
We can technically dance until midnight (and we have the venue space until 1AM). One thing I’ll have to figure out is who I could ask to help clean up, as we’ll be renting decor for tables and that will need to be boxed up and packed into a car. I am uncomfortable delegating things to other people, and so there is a big part of me that is wanting to help clean up. Should I do this or should I find a team of people who would be willing to stay behind and help clean up? I’d want to get a thank you gift for them – cleaning up does not sound like a fun job and I am not loving having to even ask.