(Closed) What time should I have my reception?

posted 9 years ago in Reception
  • poll: What time should I have my reception?
    Keep reception at 3pm : (8 votes)
    44 %
    Change reception to 1pm : (10 votes)
    56 %
  • Post # 3
    209 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    You should definately keep it at that time-  You won’t imagine how fast things go by that day- and most importantly you want sufficient time to take pictures rather than worry about hurrying to the reception site..

    Post # 4
    610 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2009

    It depends. You need to do a cost benefit analysis of the value of having plenty of time to do pics versus inconveniencing your guest; value of having a dinner reception, versus inconveniencing your guest; Does your venue charge more one way or the other?

    There are several ways to cushion the inconvenience in case you decide that the value outweighs the cost. One is to definitely inform your guest ahead of time so that they know what they’r getting into. 2nd is to provide them with options of things to do. E.g. are there attractions/establishments nearby where they can hang out? Are they staying near by where they can go back to where they’re staying. One way to pad the gap is also to serve your appetizers during a cocktail hour starting at 1 or 2pm. You can also provide them with some cards & boardgame to facilitate social interactions, etc. Good luck!

    Post # 5
    7053 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2010

    I personally might bolt from the festivities if there were a 3 hour wait.  Ihate to say this, but I work alot and my weekends are for time to unwind not wait and wait and wait.

    I’d alter the fare, have it lighter as I could not imagine eating 4 courses for lunch, but maybe if you wanted, have it at 130 or 2 and have a cocktail hour before, with light passed appetizers from wait staff.  Then have a very elegant luncheon.


    Post # 7
    2015 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    Hmm, this is tricky!

    Honestly? As a guest, I think three hours is a little excessive to wait around. Yes, you’ll have plenty of time for pictures, but imagine if you got all dressed up, and then had nowhere to go for three hours.

    I think the best solution for this, since you’re serving such a heavy meal is to one, plan an extra long cocktail hour if you can. Offer drinks and some appetizers to give people something to do. To keep costs down, offer just beer and wine, or add in a signature cocktail to the mix. I’m wondering if your reception venue would give you a deal for adding on more food and drink?

    Or, I agree with pren79 … organize some outings for your guests. Is there a wine tasting room for people to go to? A local bar or restaurant? Some people may just want to go back home if they live nearby, but those who have to travel will need something to do.

    Good luck!

    Post # 8
    2015 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    Ahhh, you posted right before me, so I didn’t see your update. In that case, I would move the reception to 1 p.m. 🙂

    Post # 9
    4485 posts
    Honey bee

    I would move the reception as early as you can so there is no gap other than whatever time it takes to drive to the reception (and if you choose to take pictures afterwards). So no more of a gap than an hour. It’s your responsibility as a hostess to make sure that the guests are taken care of and leaving them to fend for themselves for hours before the reception starts is not what a good hostess does. Also, I have heard arguments that “it’s expected and unavoidable with a Catholic wedding to have a gap”. No that just means that the couple isn’t willing to find a reception site that offers something a different time than most start who don’t have that time restriction that a Mass gives you. I’ve been to Catholic weddings that didn’t have any kind of a gap so they do exist. There’s no law that a reception has to start at a certain time, contrary to popular belief. If you can get a reception site at 1pm somewhere, then grab it while you can. If you have a gap of more than an hour which includes driving time to the reception, be prepared for some people to not attend either the ceremony, reception or both.

    Post # 10
    97 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: September 2010

    Well, what is the distance between your ceremony location and your reception location? Are you going to several different locations for your pictures with your bridal party? Also, if you do decide to keep your reception at 3, make sure that your guests realize that they will have to find things to do for 3 1/2 hours. Give them suggestions on fun things to do around the area.

    Post # 12
    4485 posts
    Honey bee

    Sounds good.

    Post # 13
    1135 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    I get the Catholic Mass early morning thing. We just found out that the latest our Mass can start is 1:30pm and we are having an evening reception, starting with a cockatil hour at 5 and dinner at 6pm. Fortunately, our church is in a small (and happening) suburban downtown. Therefore, I am planning on putting small “Things to Do” cards in the invitations, informally suggesting shops and things to see in that downtown, within a few blocks of the church.

    I think most people attending a Catholic (or otherwise Christian) ceremony are typically also Catholic (being family) and are used to having that down time. The only thing my grandmother firmly stated is that the invitation not say “reception to follow”. But rather tell the guests what time the reception starts. Some people will check out our suggestions, some will go off and have a few drinks in the down time, some will go to CVS to pick up a last minute card (I am totally guilty of this).

    All in all, I would keep the time space between the two. You will need it for photos and moving the bridal entourage to the reception, etc.

    My only other thought is that because the Mass is at 10:30, some people will want to eat before 3. Otherwise, your break will be during the lunch hour.

    So that’s my two cents to chew on. One last question though, is there anyway to move your Mass time later? Most churches need you out by a certain time so that they can have the Saturday evening Sunday Mass after 4pm. Is there another wedding that day after yours?

    Post # 14
    248 posts
    Helper bee

    I would keep the gap.  I think 1:00 is too early to serve a heavy meal but 3:00 is more reasonable. I have been to several weddings without an official “gap”. The invitation says “reception immediately following”.  But what actually happens is the wedding party goes for pictures leaving guests to have cocktails for 2 hours.  Personally, I would rather go to the ceremony, then go home or go elsewhere for a few hours and arrive at the reception when it REALLY begins and when the couple is done with pictures so they can mingle with guests.  I don’t like being held captive at the long, drawn-out cocktail “hour”.  However, family and true friends won’t feel inconvenienced by whatever you decide.  It’s your day so you really don’t have to accommodate every guest’s wishes on how they think it should be done. 

    Post # 16
    176 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: June 2011

    Are you planning on going somewhere for pictures or are you going to do them at the church? If you’re planning on riding to a photo site and then riding to the reception, that time might go by really quick.

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