Wedding Reception Forum

Wedding timeline with many out of towners...

Hi everyone,

Please help!  Here is a brief timeline of our day:

Saturday Evening Wedding:

Late Morning/Early Afternoon -- Hair, makeup, pictures, etc.
4:30 or so-- Bridal party arrive at venue
5:00 - 6:00 -- First look at venue for pictures
6:30-7:00 -- On site ceremony
7:00-8:00 -- Cocktail hour
8:00-12:00 -- Reception ending at midnight

We booked our place in December and ever since then I feel like I should make everything start earlier so people will be able to leave earlier.  What times do most weddings in New  Jersey (with on site ceremony) end on a Saturday night?

Here is the problem -- My family and FI convinced me to start a little later because many people are coming from out of town (2 hours) and will be staying at a hotel. They told me to make sure that they have plenty of time to check-in, get ready, and take our hotel shuttle to the venue which is about 15 minutes away.  We also want to do a first-look prior to the ceremony, which requires time to take pictures.

It is tricky because I am starting later for out of town people to have plenty of time, but at the same time if people choose not to stay at a hotel it is ending late to have a 2 hour drive home.  

Do you think I should see if I could move the ceremony up?

Re: Wedding timeline with many out of towners...

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It depends on how much earlier you want to move it. Most hotels allow you to check-in at 3:00 so you could move everything up an hour and a half to two hours. However, I don't know that I'd worry too much about it. In our area, receptions ending at midnight are not unusual. People can decide if they need to leave early to drive home or stay in a hotel. I'm assuming "reception" includes dinner. Either timeline would be over the dinner hour so dinner should be served.
  • Hi everyone,

    Please help!  Here is a brief timeline of our day:

    Saturday Evening Wedding:

    Late Morning/Early Afternoon -- Hair, makeup, pictures, etc.
    4:30 or so-- Bridal party arrive at venue
    5:00 - 6:00 -- First look at venue for pictures
    6:30-7:00 -- On site ceremony
    7:00-8:00 -- Cocktail hour
    8:00-12:00 -- Reception ending at midnight

    We booked our place in December and ever since then I feel like I should make everything start earlier so people will be able to leave earlier.  What times do most weddings in New  Jersey (with on site ceremony) end on a Saturday night?

    Here is the problem -- My family and FI convinced me to start a little later because many people are coming from out of town (2 hours) and will be staying at a hotel. They told me to make sure that they have plenty of time to check-in, get ready, and take our hotel shuttle to the venue which is about 15 minutes away.  We also want to do a first-look prior to the ceremony, which requires time to take pictures.

    It is tricky because I am starting later for out of town people to have plenty of time, but at the same time if people choose not to stay at a hotel it is ending late to have a 2 hour drive home.  

    Do you think I should see if I could move the ceremony up?
    I don't get the concern your FI/family has about out of town folks, since your wedding is on a Saturday.  If it was on a Friday and people were coming from work, then it might make sense to start later, but on a Saturday people should be able to leave earlier.  If they're flying in, they may come in Friday night anyway, so check-in would be a moot point; if they're coming in day-of, and they arrive prior to check-in time, most hotels are willing to hold their luggage until they are able to check in.  Either way, I'd say you're fine moving the ceremony earlier.  I'm not from NJ, but I know I'd be STARVING if cocktail hour was at 7 and dinner wasn't until after 8!  Personally, I'd start your ceremony by 6 at the latest, or even 5 or 5:30.  That will also help with your concern about those guests that are driving home late at night--they'll be out by 10 or 11 instead of midnight!  
    ernursej
  • edited June 2016
    I think it looks fine, you won't be able to predict who doesn't mind a two hour drive home, who wants to leave early anyway, who wants to stay until the very end, who needs to check in before the ceremony, who doesn't mind going right to the ceremony. Choose a time, let people know when it is and let them make their own arrangements. 

    Assuming dinner is served around 8/8:15, and you have snacks at cocktail hour it's fine. People should figure out if the ceremony is at 6:30 they won't be eating until 8ish. 
    SP29
  • ei34ei34 member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    The bulk of weddings I've attended (not far from yours, in NYC/Long Island) have cocktail hour at 7 and reception 8-12, so it looks standard to me.  Pre-kids, when we knew we'd be drinking heavily, H and I would rent a room at one of the suggested hotels.  Your guests who are uncomfortable driving home at midnight are welcome to do this. 
    I don't quite understand why it was purposely made late so guests would have time to arrive- does the majority of your guest list work on Saturday?  Ditto PP that if you move it up, keep the hotel check-in time in mind.
    STARMOON44
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It depends on how much earlier you want to move it. Most hotels allow you to check-in at 3:00 so you could move everything up an hour and a half to two hours. However, I don't know that I'd worry too much about it. In our area, receptions ending at midnight are not unusual. People can decide if they need to leave early to drive home or stay in a hotel. I'm assuming "reception" includes dinner. Either timeline would be over the dinner hour so dinner should be served.
    I am wondering/hoping the same thing. 

    It may be absolute luck, but every time we attend a wedding and stay with a hotel block, we have always been able to check in early.
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    MobKaz said:
    It depends on how much earlier you want to move it. Most hotels allow you to check-in at 3:00 so you could move everything up an hour and a half to two hours. However, I don't know that I'd worry too much about it. In our area, receptions ending at midnight are not unusual. People can decide if they need to leave early to drive home or stay in a hotel. I'm assuming "reception" includes dinner. Either timeline would be over the dinner hour so dinner should be served.
    I am wondering/hoping the same thing. 

    It may be absolute luck, but every time we attend a wedding and stay with a hotel block, we have always been able to check in early.
    Us too!
  • missfrodo said:
    Hi everyone,

    Please help!  Here is a brief timeline of our day:

    Saturday Evening Wedding:

    Late Morning/Early Afternoon -- Hair, makeup, pictures, etc.
    4:30 or so-- Bridal party arrive at venue
    5:00 - 6:00 -- First look at venue for pictures
    6:30-7:00 -- On site ceremony
    7:00-8:00 -- Cocktail hour
    8:00-12:00 -- Reception ending at midnight

    We booked our place in December and ever since then I feel like I should make everything start earlier so people will be able to leave earlier.  What times do most weddings in New  Jersey (with on site ceremony) end on a Saturday night?

    Here is the problem -- My family and FI convinced me to start a little later because many people are coming from out of town (2 hours) and will be staying at a hotel. They told me to make sure that they have plenty of time to check-in, get ready, and take our hotel shuttle to the venue which is about 15 minutes away.  We also want to do a first-look prior to the ceremony, which requires time to take pictures.

    It is tricky because I am starting later for out of town people to have plenty of time, but at the same time if people choose not to stay at a hotel it is ending late to have a 2 hour drive home.  

    Do you think I should see if I could move the ceremony up?
    I don't get the concern your FI/family has about out of town folks, since your wedding is on a Saturday.  If it was on a Friday and people were coming from work, then it might make sense to start later, but on a Saturday people should be able to leave earlier.  If they're flying in, they may come in Friday night anyway, so check-in would be a moot point; if they're coming in day-of, and they arrive prior to check-in time, most hotels are willing to hold their luggage until they are able to check in.  Either way, I'd say you're fine moving the ceremony earlier.  I'm not from NJ, but I know I'd be STARVING if cocktail hour was at 7 and dinner wasn't until after 8!  Personally, I'd start your ceremony by 6 at the latest, or even 5 or 5:30.  That will also help with your concern about those guests that are driving home late at night--they'll be out by 10 or 11 instead of midnight!  

    You really wouldn't just get the invitation for a later wedding and then just eat a later lunch?

    If people are coming from out of town the day of they'll need to check-in and you know, have an hour or two to get ready before the wedding. If someone needs to leave at 10pm then they'll leave at 10pm regardless of whether the reception is over or not. I think the later wedding is personally preferable.
    ei34OurWildKingdomKnottie1452098987
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think either timeline is fine (earlier or later).

    If it were a Friday night, I would definitely say later. But a Saturday is flexible. Most hotels have check in around 3pm, but just because that is the check in time doesn't mean guests have to check in then. I guess the issue though would be taking the shuttle (and luggage). You could have the shuttle available at 4pm for a 4:30 ceremony start and proceed from there. You are still free to do your first look pictures at any time before.

    Our ceremony was at 3:30, followed by cocktail hour and reception that ended at 1am. DH and I had a hotel room for the night, we didn't check in until after the wedding was over at about 1:30am by the time we got there.

    If I received an invitation for a 6:30pm ceremony, I would eat a larger late lunch.
  • missfrodo said:
    Hi everyone,

    Please help!  Here is a brief timeline of our day:

    Saturday Evening Wedding:

    Late Morning/Early Afternoon -- Hair, makeup, pictures, etc.
    4:30 or so-- Bridal party arrive at venue
    5:00 - 6:00 -- First look at venue for pictures
    6:30-7:00 -- On site ceremony
    7:00-8:00 -- Cocktail hour
    8:00-12:00 -- Reception ending at midnight

    We booked our place in December and ever since then I feel like I should make everything start earlier so people will be able to leave earlier.  What times do most weddings in New  Jersey (with on site ceremony) end on a Saturday night?

    Here is the problem -- My family and FI convinced me to start a little later because many people are coming from out of town (2 hours) and will be staying at a hotel. They told me to make sure that they have plenty of time to check-in, get ready, and take our hotel shuttle to the venue which is about 15 minutes away.  We also want to do a first-look prior to the ceremony, which requires time to take pictures.

    It is tricky because I am starting later for out of town people to have plenty of time, but at the same time if people choose not to stay at a hotel it is ending late to have a 2 hour drive home.  

    Do you think I should see if I could move the ceremony up?
    I don't get the concern your FI/family has about out of town folks, since your wedding is on a Saturday.  If it was on a Friday and people were coming from work, then it might make sense to start later, but on a Saturday people should be able to leave earlier.  If they're flying in, they may come in Friday night anyway, so check-in would be a moot point; if they're coming in day-of, and they arrive prior to check-in time, most hotels are willing to hold their luggage until they are able to check in.  Either way, I'd say you're fine moving the ceremony earlier.  I'm not from NJ, but I know I'd be STARVING if cocktail hour was at 7 and dinner wasn't until after 8!  Personally, I'd start your ceremony by 6 at the latest, or even 5 or 5:30.  That will also help with your concern about those guests that are driving home late at night--they'll be out by 10 or 11 instead of midnight!  

    You really wouldn't just get the invitation for a later wedding and then just eat a later lunch?

    If people are coming from out of town the day of they'll need to check-in and you know, have an hour or two to get ready before the wedding. If someone needs to leave at 10pm then they'll leave at 10pm regardless of whether the reception is over or not. I think the later wedding is personally preferable.



    BOX-BOX-BOX

    Good point.  I'm just so used to going to bed early, I prefer everything earlier!  If I knew I wasn't going to eat dinner until after 8, I would have a snack right before the ceremony.  
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    We're having a Saturday 6:00 pm ceremony, 6:30-7:30. cocktail hour with reception ending at 12 as well. I'm biased, but I don't think that's too late. 
    image
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