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Timeline Help

How would you do this?

Our wedding ceremony is at 4:30. Our reception site is a 30 minute drive from the church. I'm not sure how long our ceremony will be yet, but we're initially planning on half an hour. So, guests will likely arrive to the reception at 5:30.

The reception is at a brewery and the taps open at 6. We have from 5 to 6 to set up. Guests can arrive (no one will be locked out) anytime after we're allowed in at 5, but there will be no beer until 6. We are planning to have fruit and veggie trays for light apps and other drinks (water, tea, non-alcoholic punch, not brewery provided) for a "cocktail hour" and to avoid any gap, even a short one. We are taking large family photos and that's it after the ceremony (doing everything else before), so we plan to arrive at the reception site by 6.

We are having a BBQ buffet with 3 meats and 4 sides, including salad. We are inviting 224 (max seating for brewery) and expect about 150. We do not have a wedding party.

Now, I have no idea how to structure this reception. The tricky part is that it must end at 9. We only have the space for 3 hours max, because that is the maximum amount of time they will rent it. At 9, the taps close and people need to leave. By 9:30, everything that we brought in needs to be out, and all the trash needs to be in the cans. The brewery will do the mopping, sweeping, table wiping, etc.

So, if you were having a 3 hour reception, what would your timeline look like?

Would you let people eat as soon as they arrive?

When would you dance (first dance, mother/son, father/daughter)? Cut cake?

I'm just really struggling with this one and I appreciate any ideas you lovely people may have.

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"They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

Re: Timeline Help

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    jules3964jules3964 member
    First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited August 2014
    Since the taps open at 6:00, I would consider having some drinking/mingling time once you arrive, especially since cocktail "hour" is only a half hour. Then start dinner at 6:30, do the dances around 7:30, and cut the cake around 8:00. That gives people another hour to mingle, dance(?), and enjoy dessert.

    ETA:
    If the above scenario seems tight on time, another option would be to have dinner start immediately at 6:00. It may take some time for everyone to get through the buffet anyway. Do the dances around 7:00 or a little after, then cut the cake. Are you having toasts?

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    I would do:

    6:00 B&G arrival/announcement and toasts
    6:15 first dances
    6:30 dinner
    7:45 cake cutting
    8:30 last call
    8:45 exit, if doing one. If not doing one, you could have the DJ announce the end of the reception and that the B&G will be standing by the door to thank everyone one last time (or something like that).

    Also, if I were you, I'd do a receiving line after your ceremony. I think this would accomplish two things:

    1) Eliminate the need for formal table visits - which it sounds like you may not really have time to do at the reception with your short time frame. In addition, during toasts you and FI can take the mic for a 2 minute additional "thank you for coming...."
    2) Keep guests from arriving at the brewery too early - reducing the time they're there w/o the taps being open.
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    Thank you, both.

    I suggested a receiving line, but FI doesn't want to do one. I may have to revisit that conversation.

    We were already planning to be out by 8:45, since everyone else needs to be out by 9. I figure once we're gone, everything will end fairly quickly (with a little prompting by the DJ).

    We will not be doing any toasts. We won't have a wedding party and I think they'll just meander on forever without any structure because of that. If our parents/grandparents want to say something, I suppose we'll let them, but we're not planning on any toasts.

    These are really good suggestions and we will certainly discuss your ideas. I'm just really stumped on this one. I have no idea how to structure things.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image

    "They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

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    @lkristenj - whatever you end up deciding, you'll need to find a way to personally thank everyone for coming. The most common ways are the receiving line and table visits. If your FI is anti-receiving line, he needs to understand the alternatives and be able to commit to at least some form of thanking people.

    Have fun and good luck!
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    @southernbelle0915 - Oh, I know all about thanking and wholeheartedly agree. He also knows and understand that we need to individually thank everyone in attendance. I think I've drilled it through his head enough. He wants to do table visits, but as you know, it takes a long time. I think it would take ALL our time and we wouldn't get to enjoy the reception (not to say that talking to loved ones isn't enjoyable) as much as our guests. I know it's not about us, but it would be nice to not stress about making it to every table in a limited amount of time.

    I really hope I get other suggestions. I don't know if I can express how stuck I feel right now.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image

    "They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

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    @lkristenj - don't stress too much. You'll get there. Maybe once you lay out a timeline on the table to show him and voice your priority that you make time to just enjoy the reception... maybe he'll come around. Either way, you'll figure out - don't feel stuck!
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    jules3964jules3964 member
    First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited August 2014

    Is there a coordinator or contact at your venue you could ask? They may be able to offer insight as to how other couples structured their timelines at your specific venue.

    Or contact your DJ! Ask him how a 3 hour reception is often structured and what works best.

    Are you having a professional photographer? Mine offered pretty solid timeline advice as well, even advice beyond how much time he would need for family photos, etc.

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    It's a good idea to ask the vendors.

    Unfortunately, the brewery doesn't offer any sort of coordination. They are often rented by corporations or for other parties, and sometimes weddings. I know it's been done before, because my photographer has pictures from another wedding he shot there.

    We haven't officially settled on a DJ yet, but all the ones we've interviewed are made well aware of the situation. So far, none have offered a mind-blowing solution when we met them.

    FI's timeline is:

    • Anyone can eat as soon as they arrive, alleviates long buffet line and having to announce by tables, and the need to offer light apps. Cons include no blessing of the food by my dad.
    • 6:00 we come in (Grand entry- just us) and immediately pick up a plate from the caterer and eat
    • 6:30 After eating, we do spotlight dances and open the dance floor
    • 6:45 Immediately begin table visits as the dance floor remains open (we wouldn't get to dance)
    • 7:30 cut the cake
    • Everyone gets to eat cake and we go back to table visits (still not dancing except the occasional song between tables)
    • Garter/bouquet toss (I'm indifferent, but my mom wants these)
    • 8:40 last song, announcement about departure
    • 8:45 we leave
    • 9:00 everyone out!

    I have no idea if that will actually work, but it doesn't sound too fun to me right now. Maybe it's just the best option.

    What would you do different?

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image

    "They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

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    I think your FI's timeline would work, and is a good option to maximize time. I know it sounds crammed with all the table visits you will need to do. I think the only way to alleviate that though would be like PP said and do a receiving line after the ceremony. Maybe you could explain to your FI that you guys will get to dance and be more relaxed at the reception if you're not spending the whole time making sure to say hi to everyone. It'd be really nice to get that out of the way.

    Otherwise, with that timeline, I think if it were me I'd strongly consider an after-party. Even if it was just a "hey, the bride and groom will be hanging out at such-and-such bar after the reception; feel free to join us!" It would give you some more time to spend with people who want to come out, and you can let loose a bit.
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    lkristenjlkristenj member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment Name Dropper
    edited August 2014
    @jules3964 - I think it would be awesome to spread the word of an after party by word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, FI is a bit of a party pooper and really doesn't want a long reception. He's told me that he's thankful for the constraints. I've brought it up to him and he doesn't like the idea because he thinks we'll be too tired. We probably will be tired, but I like the idea of hanging out somewhere with friends in my wedding dress. How often can I do that?!? Oh, well. He gets super grumpy when he stays up late, so it might not be worth pushing the after-party thing. But, I think I will bring up the receiving line again. Plus, he's planned our honeymoon (and wants to surprise me by not telling me where we're going) and we're set to leave the city immediately from the reception. ETA: TK ate my paragraphs

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image

    "They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

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    I think the biggest issue I'm having is whether or not it's acceptable/a good idea to let people eat upon arrival. I get that it avoids the line, etc, but also means that people will be done at very different times and that my dad can't bless our meal. I've never been to a wedding where the main course is available immediately. Our wedding is relaxed and relatively informal, but I still want to do the best by our guests. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my brain around how it works.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image

    "They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

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    How can you do table visits if the dance floor is open? What if everyone at the table is dancing? How will you thank them?
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    wrigleyvillewrigleyville member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    edited August 2014
    Aargh. TK ate my paragraphs. No way am I posting that wall of text.
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    @wrigleyville- Awww. TK needs to get with the program. I want to read it!

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image

    "They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

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    I think I have it now. :)

    My family tends to have large weddings with a buffet. We tend to have the same timeline at every wedding, so people are used to it. Here's an example that will fit your scenario:

    6:00: B&G arrive and are announced. B&G head to their table. Blessing follows as soon as they sit down.

    6:05: B&G and WP head to buffet. Tables follow in order.

    6:10 - 6:30: B&G eat. Toasts are given.

    6:30: B&G start table visits. Most people are still eating, depending on when they went to the buffet, so this is convenient.

    7:00: Cake is cut. Servers start plating cake. If cake is on dance floor, it is moved off so spotlight dances can start.

    7:10: Bride/father dance

    7:15: Bride/groom dance

    7:20: Dance floor open. B&G continue visiting tables.

    We have this tight timeline so the older guests and those with young children can leave right after cake if they want. Since the spotlight dances are done immediately, people can eat cake while watching the B&G dance instead of waiting.

    Obviously, some of these times will vary. It's meant to be a rough outline to put the steps in order.
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    ashleyepashleyep member
    First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited August 2014
    lkristenj said:

    Thank you, both.

    I suggested a receiving line, but FI doesn't want to do one. I may have to revisit that conversation.

    We were already planning to be out by 8:45, since everyone else needs to be out by 9. I figure once we're gone, everything will end fairly quickly (with a little prompting by the DJ).

    We will not be doing any toasts. We won't have a wedding party and I think they'll just meander on forever without any structure because of that. If our parents/grandparents want to say something, I suppose we'll let them, but we're not planning on any toasts.

    These are really good suggestions and we will certainly discuss your ideas. I'm just really stumped on this one. I have no idea how to structure things.

    Table visits are HARD. We did it and only made it through half the tables before we were called to cut the cake and do the parent dances. I spent a good chunk of the rest of the night trying to make sure I greeted everyone, which was not easy when they were no longer sitting at their tables. In retrospect, we sort of had the time to do a receiving line and I kind of wish we had done one.

    That being said, you could do something like:

    6:00 - Guests arrive/cocktail hour
    6:30 - Serve Dinner
    7:30 - Cut the cake, immediately followed by spotlight dances

    Then the dance floor would be open. We had a "grand entrance" so to speak, immediately followed by our first dance, but you don't have to do that if you'll be mingling with guests at the cocktail hour.
    Anniversary
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    @wrigleyville - Thank you! So glad you got the paragraphs to work. It would have to be amended for our situation (no toasts, no WP) but it's nice to know that you've seen this done and it works.

    @ashleyep - I will try to push the receiving line more, I think. It will probably be better all around if we do one. It's nice to hear your experience with trying to make that work.

    FI still wants everyone to be able to eat as soon as they arrive. I am still not sure how I feel about this.

    There will not be a "cocktail hour" per se, but I guess the half hour between when the guests begin arriving at 5:30 and when we arrive at 6 could count as one. We wouldn't spend time mingling, though. I feel like things just need to get started asap.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image

    "They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

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    lkristenj said:

    @wrigleyville - Thank you! So glad you got the paragraphs to work. It would have to be amended for our situation (no toasts, no WP) but it's nice to know that you've seen this done and it works.

    @ashleyep - I will try to push the receiving line more, I think. It will probably be better all around if we do one. It's nice to hear your experience with trying to make that work.

    FI still wants everyone to be able to eat as soon as they arrive. I am still not sure how I feel about this.

    There will not be a "cocktail hour" per se, but I guess the half hour between when the guests begin arriving at 5:30 and when we arrive at 6 could count as one. We wouldn't spend time mingling, though. I feel like things just need to get started asap.

    If you're going to arrive at 6, you could have your guests seated right before that, then do your entrance and have your dad bless the meal, and then open the buffet at 6:15 or so.

    But if you can swing some cheese and crackers or veggie trays for the 5:30-6 window, that would be good.
    Anniversary
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    @ashleyep - Light snacks were always the plan if we didn't have the buffet open when people arrived. Gotta have something in there, right? :)

    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    image

    "They say there's no such place... as Paradise. Even if you search to the ends of the Earth, there's nothing there. No matter how far you walk, it's always the same road. It just goes on and on. But, in spite of that... Why am I so driven to find it? A voice calls to me... It says, 'Search for Paradise.' " - Kiba, Wolf's Rain

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    I don't really have anything constructive to contribute, but just wanted to say that having a BBQ buffet at a brewery for your reception sounds awesome!
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    Why can't your ceremony start a half hour later? I'd find it really odd to mill around a brewery for a half hour with no beer. Like, bizarre. It's an entire place focused around beer. I'd have guests arrive at 6, you arrive as soon after as possible but not later than 6:30, blessing then dinner, cut cake at 7:30, some sort of grand exit at 8:45 to signal to everyone that it's time to go b
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