Reception Ideas

Reception time and food question

My fiance and I were going to be married at 1pm, but plan to have a BBQ meal and I am wondering if people will be hungry for that much food at say 3.  So we are open to changing our wedding time to say 3 and then that would make dinner at around 5.  What do you all think?

Re: Reception time and food question

  • My fiance and I were going to be married at 1pm, but plan to have a BBQ meal and I am wondering if people will be hungry for that much food at say 3.  So we are open to changing our wedding time to say 3 and then that would make dinner at around 5.  What do you all think?
    The reception needs to start right after the ceremony whatever you decide to do.

    I would move the ceremony to 4:30 or so and then start the reception at 5:00 - cocktail hour from 5-6pm, intro/dances/toasts 6-6:20 and then dinner at 6:30.

    If you can't move the ceremony, I would do a late lunch reception.
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    doeydolc07
  • I think that my ceremony will last longer than 30 minutes and will leave no time for pictures after the ceremony.  My fiance will be taking before pics to shorten the time between the end of ceremony and us joining our guests at the reception. 
  • How long is your ceremony and what meal do you intend this to be? If it's only, say, half hour, you could potentially be eating by 2, which is a perfectly acceptable late lunch. (Ceremony 1-1:30, few pictures 1:30-2 while guests snack on apps, lunch served at 2.)  But if this is lunch, expect people to leave around 6 to eat dinner.

    Keep in mind that people generally get to weddings about 15-20 minutes early (say 12:40) and add in how much time it takes to get there (half hour? leave at 12:10) and get ready (an hour? 11:10) so they will not have since breakfast, and will be hungry.

    For an early dinner, I wouldn't want to eat before 4. So, the earliest I would have it is about 2:00 ceremony, 2:30-3:30 cocktail hour, 4:00 dinner. Or anything later.

    But yes, reception needs to start as soon as ceremony ends + travel time to reception space. Start your ceremony accordingly.

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    714hbbride
  • Our ceremony and reception are at the same venue...so there is minimal time between end of ceremony and the start of the cocktail hour.  We are having BBQ food...pulled pork, chicken, beans, etc. etc.  
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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    I think that my ceremony will last longer than 30 minutes and will leave no time for pictures after the ceremony.  My fiance will be taking before pics to shorten the time between the end of ceremony and us joining our guests at the reception. 
    What?  You said your ceremony was to start at 1pm and the reception to start at 3pm.  How long is your ceremony if you will have zero time in between your ceremony and the beginning of your reception to take pictures?  Or do you mean that you are thinking that the main meal won't be served till 3pm?

    And you do realize that the point of cocktail hour is to allow you time to take pictures right?  So if you are taking the majority of your pictures (or all of your pictures) before the ceremony then a cocktail hour really isn't necessary.

    doeydo
  • Yeah I don't understand what all is going on in the two hours between ceremony start and reception start. Can you fill in the details on your timeline? That will help us help you.

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    doeydo
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    I'm not sure why the gap exists if you're saying the reception starts right after. Cocktail hour should begin as soon as your ceremony is over. 

    So, let's say your ceremony is 1-1:30pm. Cocktail hour starts right after - 1:30-2:30. I would definitely be hungry for that much food during cocktail hour and afterwards. 

  • I'm also a little confused by the timeline.

    The cocktail hour is there to give you and your FI time to take photos. The bride & groom  & wedding party aren't really expected to be there. It's a different event from the reception: ceremony followed by cocktail hour followed by reception.

    Does your reception *start* at 3pm or is that when you expect food to be served?

    image
  • I am sorry to confuse everyone.  I was thinking that our ceremony might last an hour..maybe that is an overestimate, but we will have a unity ceremony and then a ceremony where my fiance will give my son a gift.  Yes, I know that the cocktail hour is for us to take pictures, but was also reading that it was rude to leave guests too long by themselves so decided to have my fiance take some pre-ceremony with his family, best man, and my son.  So I was thinking if we arrived to the ceremony and did the introductions of the bridal party, then us and then we had our first dance we'd be close to 3pm when we started to eat.  

    Over the past few days my fiance and I have talked about it more and decided that we are going to move our ceremony to 3pm thus making dinner closer to 5pm.  

    Again, I am sorry for the confusion.  I appreciate everyone being so willing to help.  
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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    I am sorry to confuse everyone.  I was thinking that our ceremony might last an hour..maybe that is an overestimate, but we will have a unity ceremony and then a ceremony where my fiance will give my son a gift.  Yes, I know that the cocktail hour is for us to take pictures, but was also reading that it was rude to leave guests too long by themselves so decided to have my fiance take some pre-ceremony with his family, best man, and my son.  So I was thinking if we arrived to the ceremony and did the introductions of the bridal party, then us and then we had our first dance we'd be close to 3pm when we started to eat.  

    Over the past few days my fiance and I have talked about it more and decided that we are going to move our ceremony to 3pm thus making dinner closer to 5pm.  

    Again, I am sorry for the confusion.  I appreciate everyone being so willing to help.  
    Yeah, I really don't see your ceremony lasting an hour.  Unless you are having a full mass you are probably looking at 30 minutes tops (and even that is pushing it).

    Yes, you shouldn't leave your guests too long but that means you don't have a gap between your ceremony and reception where your guests have to find something to kill the time.  It also means that you don't have a 2 hour cocktail hour.  Most guests realize that the newly married couple will be taking pictures during cocktail hour and the guests will use this time to find their table, grab a drink, have some apps and mingle with friends.

    So your timeline would be...

    3-3:30 - Ceremony
    3:30-4:30 - Cocktail hour
    4:30-4:45 - Introductions and first dance
    4:45-6 - Dinner is served
    6-? - Rest of your reception stuff

    lc07
  • Thanks...I appreciate that you gave me a timeline!!  That helps immensely!
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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    And if you don't need the whole cocktail hour to do pictures feel free to join your guests for the remainder of cocktail hour.  You don't have to hide in a room somewhere.  

  • LOL...yeah that is kinda what I wanted to do, but then thought what would we do walk back out to come back and be introduced??  
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago
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    LOL...yeah that is kinda what I wanted to do, but then thought what would we do walk back out to come back and be introduced??  

    You dont have to go to your cocktail hour if you dont want to. But you are paying for it, so you might as well enjoy it. Plus your guests took time out of their day to celebrate with you, they will want to see you.

    If you want to use cocktail hour for pictures and for a few minutes of private time with yoru new H. Thats fine. You can be introduced at dinner. 

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago
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    And I agree with others. Your ceremony might be 30 minutes. A unity candle takes about 30 seconds. And exchanging a gift might take 90 seconds.  
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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    LOL...yeah that is kinda what I wanted to do, but then thought what would we do walk back out to come back and be introduced??  
    I would skip wedding party introductions and just do you and your FI (if you were planning on doing wedding party introductions).  So as the cocktail hour is winding down, you and your FI just make your way out of the room (maybe have your photographer grab you for some last minute shots) and then you can do a formal announcement if you wish.  Or you could skip the announcement all together and just have your DJ ask everyone to please take their seats or turn their attention to the dance floor as you and your FI have your first dance as husband and wife.

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Also, don't do gift-giving to your son during the ceremony. He's not getting married, and wedding ceremonies are not the time to give kids gifts. Save that for when you, your FI, and he are in private. Just have your kid as a ring bearer, a groomsman, or a guest, depending on his age as well as his own preference. He'll be "included" just by being there and in photos with you.
    adk19mrssurselyRebeccaB88LondonLisa
  • jenijoykjenijoyk
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
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    edited November 2014
    It's really surprising how quick wedding ceremonies go! We had a super long aisle, our officiant did a few readings, we inluded our parents in our vows, had a wine [beer] ceremony, exchanged rings.... still was under 20 minutes. I thought it was going to be interminable, so I spent a lot of time cutting out "fluff" language, but still. Less than 20 minutes from start of processional to end of recessional.
  • We also joined the cocktail hour about halfway through, and we still did a grand entrance. After the DJ made the annoucement asking the guests to come down from the balcony (where cocktail hour was) and find their seats, my husband and I just sort of hung back, hugged people on their way down the stairs, and then walked out the back door. Once everyone found their seats and a drink, the DJ announced us and we came back in and went straight into our first dance. Like you, I thought it might be a little weird, but it was totally not weird.

    lc07
  • LOL...yeah that is kinda what I wanted to do, but then thought what would we do walk back out to come back and be introduced??  

    we got to our cocktail hour for last 10-15 min or so and then still did introductions after our guests all went and sat (but the cocktail horu was in a seperate space).  
  • While yes the bride and groom typically take pictures during cocktail hour, that's not the PURPOSE of cocktail hour. The purpose of cocktail hour is for people to mingle eat and drink. There are cocktail hours at all kinds of events, not just weddings. So even if you're not taking a single picture after the ceremony it's still perfectly acceptable to have a cocktail hour. In fact, cocktail hour is my favorite part of pretty much any event, I was so bummed I could only attend half of mine because we were taking pictures. 

    As for the introductions, think about what you really want and why. For us, I felt like as the ceremony ended the officiant "announced us" to our guests as husband and wife as we turned around. We went to pictures, then the cocktail hour, then just accompanied our guests to our seats at the reception. The reception started with a "welcome toast" from all of our parents. After the first course we had 2 toasts. We started doing table visits as soon as we ate a bit of our entree, and as the dinner time ended we were "announced" again as cutting the cake, immediately followed by being "announced" as our first dance. Then the dance floor was open and it was party time.  (Personally I don't like it when the first dance happens right away--seems disjointed to me to dance, then eat, then dance again). 

    With all that announcing there was NO NEED for us to sneak out of the cocktail hour and be announced into the reception!
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