(Closed) wedding timeline between ceremony and reception?

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Well first I just want to point out that if your ceremony ends at 2 and the venue is only 10 minutes away, but you wait until 3 for your reception to start then your guests will still have an awkward hour of sitting around waiting for you to finish your pictures.  It seems like your two option are to

1) start the reception at 2:30 ish, and have a cocktail hour that you miss while you take pictures.  Then your wedding will go from 2:30-8:30 and you can serve dinner.

2) start the reception around 4 or 5.  That way you can take as much time as you want to take pictures and won’t miss the cocktail hour. 

Post # 4
1192 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

My wedding is in Vegas and our ceremony starts at 2pm.. it will last for half an hour and then going outside for pictures which will probably take an hour. Guests need to show up at the reception at 5:20 and dinner starts at 6pm. From 3:30 till 5:20 guests can do what ever they want..ITS VEGAS!!!… and they should have ate lunch before coming to a 2pm ceremony.

Post # 5
788 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I have kind of the same issue as you do. We’re having a Catholic wedding with full Mass at 1:30 and we have to be out by 3 for Reconciliation. Our reception site is 10-15 minutes away as well. We’re expecting the wedding to be done somewhere between 2:30-2:45. Guests will leave and go to the reception site immediately and we will stay to do pictures. We’re going to have most of our pictures done before, and just doing the extended family pictures after the wedding. We’re hoping pictures last no more than 30 minutes. When our guests get to the reception we will have them start eating the light snacks, then when we get there we will start the light dinner (since it’s an afternoon reception we’re not doing very heavy foods) Don’t know if this helps you at all, but it’s what we’re doing. I think we’re also going to have a slideshow playing while the guests visit and snack. 

Post # 6
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Unfortunately it’s tough with Catholic weddings!  Mine was at 2, and we couldn’t start our reception until 5:30, so we had the dreaded gap.  (Our ceremony site was only about 7-8 miles from our reception site- so similar to yours).  It turned out ok for us since we had out of town guests that got to do some sight seeing in between (we had a list of things they could do).  And our pictures took WAY longer than an hour.  I’m sure they can be done in an hour, but it takes a lot longer to organize groups of people then you’d think.  It will probably take about an hour just for all the family and bridal party shots, and that’s not including your creative pics with just the two of you.  It also takes time to get everyone back together after the ceremony / receiving line (if you have one).  Family members will be all over the place talking and you’ll have to round them up again for pics. 

To answer your question, I think you could do the reception at 3, but I’d think about timing for dinner and everything.  Assuming it starts at 3 with a cocktail hour, that would put dinner around 4:30 or 5, unless you can plan other activities in between.  Your dancing and everything will be over by 9.  

Also, I’m guessing some people will eat before your ceremony, but most will probably go somewhere for lunch in between.  If they didn’t eat before the ceremony, they’re not going to want to wait until 3 for lunch.  If you have dinner at 3, they’re probably not going to be that hungry if they just ate.  If you do a cocktail hour at 3 with appetizers, that could work, although it’s still a lot of food with eating lunch + appetizers for dinner + dinner all within a few hours.

Personally, I’d start your reception at 4 with a cocktail hour and appetizers, then have dinner around 5:30 or 6.  That way, you have some more time for pictures (you don’t want to be rushed) and it puts dinner a little later.  With an hour and a half to kill between your ceremony and reception, they’re probably going to go home anyway, so you might as well not rush your pictures and give your guests some time to relax too.  

Hopefully that helps a little bit?  I know it’s so hard.  The timeline was the hardest part of my planning, especially because I’m incredibly anal.  If you want, PM me with your email address and I’ll send you a PDF of the timeline I made.  To warn you it’s quite ridiculous and didn’t go exactly as planned, but it definitely helped to have it!

Post # 8
2442 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

@dragonbride: Keep in mind people will likely be hungry.  If your wedding is at noon, most people will not have eaten since breakfast.  They will be missing lunch for your wedding.  Maybe you’ll want something heavier during your cocktail hour.  

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