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Reception Ideas

Wedding Schedule Help!

I'm having my ceremony begin at 7pm and have lots to fit in, yet for me the most important part is the visiting and dancing.  I decided to cut out the bouquet/garter toss and to try to combine the cocktail hour with dessert, cake cutting, and toasts. Is it weird to have dinner right after the ceremony? I'm just worried that our guests will be starving, there's lots of kids and we don't have appetizers.  Our ceremony is outdoors on the lawn of the venue and the reception is inside the venue (so no turnover time.)  Here's my schedule I've come up with so far.  If anyone has any advice I'd love to hear it!  I don't have a wedding planner so I'm all ears!  Thanks in advance!

2:30: hair and makeup at house close to venue
5:00: wedding party arrival, set up, finish getting ready, pictures
7:00: ceremony begins
7:20 dinner/table visits
8:45: cake cutting/cocktails/desserts/toasts
9:45: first dance
10:00: Dancing
12:00: Bar closes, clean up


Re: Wedding Schedule Help!

  • im confused about the combine cocktail hour with cake. huh? you either have a cocktail hour or you dont. you dont combine it later.

    who's doing the set up and clean up? hopefully not your BP

     

  • I'm also confused on the cocktail hour thing.

    20 minutes doesn't sound long enough for your ceremony, AND for everyone to reshuffle and find their seats. I'd say 7:30 dinner service as long as your ceremony is short.

    I also think 1.5 hours for dinner is way too long. People will probably finish within an hour unless you're having tons of courses. I like it best when the cake cutting and toasts happen toward the end of dinner so I still have something to do/eat.

    Why is there an hour for cake cutting and toasts? If you're having dancing, you really should open up the floor with your first dance as early as possible.
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    A "cocktail hour" is for the guests to have something to do while they wait on you to take pictures. 


    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • itzMSitzMS member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    wosser said:
    I'm having my ceremony begin at 7pm and have lots to fit in, yet for me the most important part is the visiting and dancing.  I decided to cut out the bouquet/garter toss and to try to combine the cocktail hour with dessert, cake cutting, and toasts. Is it weird to have dinner right after the ceremony? I'm just worried that our guests will be starving, there's lots of kids and we don't have appetizers.  Our ceremony is outdoors on the lawn of the venue and the reception is inside the venue (so no turnover time.)  Here's my schedule I've come up with so far.  If anyone has any advice I'd love to hear it!  I don't have a wedding planner so I'm all ears!  Thanks in advance!

    2:30: hair and makeup at house close to venue
    5:00: wedding party arrival, set up, finish getting ready, pictures
    7:00: ceremony begins
    7:20 dinner/table visits
    8:45: cake cutting/cocktails/desserts/toasts
    9:45: first dance
    10:00: Dancing
    12:00: Bar closes, clean up


    I really don't think dinner will be nearly two and a half hours long? You'll want to get the dance floor going as soon as possible.

    I also don't honestly think you need to start your hair and makeup at 2:30, especially since it appears you're having a stylist come to your home. Mine took all of an hour for hair and makeup. You also shouldn't be requiring your wedding party to come early to help set up or stay late to help clean up. Hire some additional staff at the venue and/or a Day of Coordinator, or plan for you and your DH to do this yourselves.

    Try this:

    4:00: hair and makeup at house close to venue
    5:30: wedding party arrival, set up, finish getting ready, pictures
    7:00: ceremony begins
    7:19: Cake cutting (this allows your venue to cut/plate the cake during dinner)
    7:20: dinner/table visits
    8:00: toasts
    8:20: first dance while guests eat dessert
    8:30-end: Dancing
    12:00: Bar closes, clean up
  • Thanks for all your input!  I think you all have good advice.  We don't need a cocktail hour but the venue is only beer and wine but will allow us to have a signature cocktail.  There's really no good time for a cocktail hour for us, no turnover and pictures will already be done, that's why I thought we could do our signature cocktail during dessert/cake/toasts. 

    I'll probably lengthen the ceremony time and shorten the dinner and cake/dessert time.  Thanks!
  • Awesome, thanks, that really helps!  Also, does there NEED to be an allotted time for toasts?  I don't want to expect it and I'd rather it happen naturally.  I'm guessing we should make a short speech as a couple though?
  • itzMSitzMS member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary

    Also wanted to add that if a ceremony was at 7:00, I'd definitely eat a late lunch and/or a light dinner before coming.

  • I'm confused, are you not going to be serving alcohol the whole evening?

    I think you can just have the toasts during dinner - either toward the beginning or end. You can make a very brief statement thanking everyone.
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  • we'll have beer and wine the whole night, but I didn't want to miss out on a fancy "signature cocktail," just trying to decide if we should make it a "thing" or just have there in addition to the beer and wine.


    Also, itzMS, good call on the late lunch/early dinner!
  • I think you could maybe hand out the signature cocktail as your "toast" drink perhaps. But otherwise you should really be offering the same thing all night.
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  • itzMSitzMS member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    wosser said:
    Awesome, thanks, that really helps!  Also, does there NEED to be an allotted time for toasts?  I don't want to expect it and I'd rather it happen naturally.  I'm guessing we should make a short speech as a couple though?

    It's probably just best to ask your parent(s), Maid of Honor, and Best Man if they plan on saying a few words. Lots of "surprise" speeches can run long.

    Most people are nervous enough about public speaking, it will be nice to let them know what time (approximately) this will be occuring.  Your DJ or MC can have the mic ready.

  • ItzMS, thank you!  Lots of good advice : )
  • wosser said:
    we'll have beer and wine the whole night, but I didn't want to miss out on a fancy "signature cocktail," just trying to decide if we should make it a "thing" or just have there in addition to the beer and wine.


    Also, itzMS, good call on the late lunch/early dinner!
    Arrange for your venue to offer the signature cocktail all evening or don't host it at all.   People don't like mixing liquors. If they start drinking your signature cocktail, and then have to switch to something else, that would suck.
  • I'm just worried that our guests will be starving, there's lots of kids and we don't have appetizers.

    People with young kids will (hopefully) know to feed them something before they get to your wedding... but it can't hurt to have something available for the kids to snack on while they're waiting for the food to be served.  Especially if you're doing plated soups/salads and then main courses...  A few boxes of granola or cereal bars goes a long way...

     

     

  •  First I second a Day of Coordinator but if that's not an option here's my suggestions:

    2:30: hair and makeup at house close to venue

    5:00: wedding party arrival, set up, finish getting ready, pictures

    7:00: ceremony begins

    7:30:  toasts 

    7:45: dinner/table visits

    8:45: cake cutting/first dance/dessert served

    9:00: dancing begins

    12:00: bar closes, clean up 

  • kryan32 said:

    I'm just worried that our guests will be starving, there's lots of kids and we don't have appetizers.

    People with young kids will (hopefully) know to feed them something before they get to your wedding... but it can't hurt to have something available for the kids to snack on while they're waiting for the food to be served.  Especially if you're doing plated soups/salads and then main courses...  A few boxes of granola or cereal bars goes a long way...

     

    If you're that worried put plates of HDs on each table otherwise they'll be fine-the ceremony is only 20 minutes long.

     

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