Reception Ideas

Timeline Check

So, I've been lurking (read: ignoring all parts of my life except my job and completing my MA) for a while, but now that the day's getting close, I'm trying to shift focus. Could you wonderful ladies please give this day-of timeline a look? 

For reference, the "Warren Suite" is the private suite on the top floor of the venue where we'll be getting ready. It's split into a Bride's and Groom's side, and we can get it earlier if needed. 

Also, the venue/hotel is anywhere from an hour's drive to a cross-country flight for our bridal party, so we're not mandating lunch, just making sure those who are already in the area have plans if they need them. We will be hosting that for any bridal party members who come, as well as their SOs.

Particularly, am I leaving enough time before the ceremony for formal pictures? I don't want the bridal party to have to take any pictures after, and it's really important to FI & I to have at least half an hour to ourselves between the ceremony & reception.

Time Main Activity
12:00 Lunch with the bridal party (optional)
1:30 Warren Suite: Ladies Only
2:30 Warren Suite: Everyone
3:30 First Looks / Couple Pics
4:00 Bridal Party / Parents & Siblings Pics
5:00 Guests Arrive
5:30 Processional/Ceremony/Recessional
6:00 Cocktail Hour / Extended Family Pics
6:30 Cocktail Hour / Yichid 
7:00 Introduction of wedding party, First Dance, Dancing, Hora
7:30
8:00 Dinner / Table Greeting
8:30  
9:00  
9:30 Cake Cutting
10:00  
10:30  
10:50 Last Dance
11:00 Reception Ends

Re: Timeline Check

  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    member
    1. Can you move up dinner to 7:30?
    2. Are you having a buffet or plated dinner? If the former, can you move the cake cutting to 9:00?
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    There is way too much time between introductions and dinner.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    InLoveInQueensSP29
  • 1. Can you move up dinner to 7:30?
    2. Are you having a buffet or plated dinner? If the former, can you move the cake cutting to 9:00?
    We can move dinner and the cake cutting up half an hour, but is half an hour enough time for introductions, first dance and the Hora? I've only been to a handful of Jewish weddings, so I'm not sure if we should just do one after another in quick succession, or open the floor to dancing for a while after the first dance, then the Hora just before dinner. 

    It's a plated dinner, with tableside ordering. I assume the venue will take orders when everyone sits down after cocktail hour.
  • 1. Can you move up dinner to 7:30?
    2. Are you having a buffet or plated dinner? If the former, can you move the cake cutting to 9:00?
    We can move dinner and the cake cutting up half an hour, but is half an hour enough time for introductions, first dance and the Hora? I've only been to a handful of Jewish weddings, so I'm not sure if we should just do one after another in quick succession, or open the floor to dancing for a while after the first dance, then the Hora just before dinner. 

    It's a plated dinner, with tableside ordering. I assume the venue will take orders when everyone sits down after cocktail hour.

    If the venue is able to, I would try to move up the food service, but in most weddings I have been to with tableside ordering about an hour wait is the norm.

    I do think you could move the cake-cutting up a bit (either right after dinner around 8:30-9pm, or even right after the first dances before the dinner is plated) to save some time and keep the party going once dinner is served.  I'm not a huge fan of the reception where there is constant interruptions of the dancing for various reasons (i.e. Intros, Spotlights, dancing, dinner, dancing, cake cutting, dancing...I would much rather do intros, spotlights, dinner, cake-cutting, (could be switched too), open dance floor). 

    Also, if anyone wants to speak limit them to about 2 minute toasts and try to do them during the meal time/between courses so you are not holding the audience captive for too long.

    OurWildKingdom
  • 1. Can you move up dinner to 7:30?
    2. Are you having a buffet or plated dinner? If the former, can you move the cake cutting to 9:00?
    We can move dinner and the cake cutting up half an hour, but is half an hour enough time for introductions, first dance and the Hora? I've only been to a handful of Jewish weddings, so I'm not sure if we should just do one after another in quick succession, or open the floor to dancing for a while after the first dance, then the Hora just before dinner. 

    It's a plated dinner, with tableside ordering. I assume the venue will take orders when everyone sits down after cocktail hour.

    In my experience, no. I've been to 30+ jewish weddings and will have one myself. The band or DJ will usually read the room play the hora until people start dropping off or attention is waning. In every wedding I've been to it's been over 15 minutes and some have lasted well past 30 minutes. I think 30 minutes is cutting it extremely close. I assume your FH is jewish? You should ask him how long the hora typically is in weddings in his family and use that to judge. 
  • I think your basis is solid, but I have a couple questions:

    - What is "Warren Suite: Everyone" at 2:30 that's going to take an hour? Unless that's some ceremonial thing, I would cut that in half and move everything up 30 minutes (e.g. start lunch at 12:30 and so on).

    - Why are guests arriving at 5:00 and the ceremony doesn't start until 5:30? Since you're starting dinner late (8:00 is pretty late for most people), I would move the ceremony to 5:00 and move everything else back 30 minutes accordingly. 

    -If you're doing a plated meal and staffing is appropriate, dinner shouldn't take 90 minutes. I only mention that because I wouldn't count on having that much time to make table visits. I would plan to have your table visits done within an hour (tops) of dinner starting, as people will finish up and hit the bar. You don't want to miss anyone.
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    lnixon8OurWildKingdom
  • edited January 30
    The Hora usually takes ~10 minutes if only the couple is going up in the chairs, a little more if the parents are going up and a little less if no one is going up or if you don't have a lot of Jewish guests/guests who don't know how to do the Hora, but it's not exceptionally long (caveat to that being if you are having a lot of Orthodox guests, my cousin's wedding had a ~15 minute Hora because my other cousin is orthodox and his Rabbi/friends kept the dancing going long passed when the chair lifts were done). Unless you've got a 20 minute intro and first dance planned 30 minutes should be good timing for all your pre-dinner stuff.
  • Some thoughts:
    -an hour seems like a very long time for bridal party/parent/sibling pics.  And it seems like kind of a lot to expect siblings to show up that early if they're not in the wedding party.
    -What do you mean by "guests arrive" a 5 PM?  If you put 5:00 on the invitations you need to be ready to go at 5.  You can't just leave your guests twiddling their thumbs until 5:30.  If you mean that you plan to unlock the doors at 5 for particularly early guests then that's fine.
    -I don't know anything about the cultural requirements of a Jewish wedding, but could you move all the dancing to after dinner?  That way you avoid breaking up the festive atmosphere.  Bride and groom open the dance floor, then group dance, and then flow straight into whatever other party dancing.
    InLoveInQueenscowgirl8238SP29
  • Thanks everyone! This really helps!


    In my experience, no. I've been to 30+ jewish weddings and will have one myself. The band or DJ will usually read the room play the hora until people start dropping off or attention is waning. In every wedding I've been to it's been over 15 minutes and some have lasted well past 30 minutes. I think 30 minutes is cutting it extremely close. I assume your FH is jewish? You should ask him how long the hora typically is in weddings in his family and use that to judge. 

    His family is Jewish, and will make up the bulk of our guests. He's pretty non-religious, and doesn't really pay attention to those things, but I think I'll ask FMIL how long she suggests we budget for it. She probably know the family well enough to know.


    I think your basis is solid, but I have a couple questions:

    - What is "Warren Suite: Everyone" at 2:30 that's going to take an hour? Unless that's some ceremonial thing, I would cut that in half and move everything up 30 minutes (e.g. start lunch at 12:30 and so on).
    For the part with everyone, I'm not sure how much time the groom's party to get ready in their side of the suite. I can change that to make the day shorter

    - Why are guests arriving at 5:00 and the ceremony doesn't start until 5:30? Since you're starting dinner late (8:00 is pretty late for most people), I would move the ceremony to 5:00 and move everything else back 30 minutes accordingly. 
    Guests are being asked to arrive at 5:30, but the doors will open at 5. So by then everyone should be done with pictures and secluded away from where guests are coming in.

    -If you're doing a plated meal and staffing is appropriate, dinner shouldn't take 90 minutes. I only mention that because I wouldn't count on having that much time to make table visits. I would plan to have your table visits done within an hour (tops) of dinner starting, as people will finish up and hit the bar. You don't want to miss anyone.

    We want to do table greetings ASAP, before we enjoy our meals if possible. There will only be 12-15 tables, so I can't imagine it taking the entire 90 minutes. 


    Some thoughts:
    -an hour seems like a very long time for bridal party/parent/sibling pics.  And it seems like kind of a lot to expect siblings to show up that early if they're not in the wedding party.
    The only sibling invited to the wedding is actually in the wedding party, so it'll really just be parent pics & his family.

    -I don't know anything about the cultural requirements of a Jewish wedding, but could you move all the dancing to after dinner?  That way you avoid breaking up the festive atmosphere.  Bride and groom open the dance floor, then group dance, and then flow straight into whatever other party dancing.

    I don't want to do the Hora after dinner - I'm not sure a full dinner followed by being raised up on a chair by increasingly intoxicated dancing people will be that good on my stomach. It's already a bit scary!


    I think this is my updated timeline. We have a wedding party of 14, plus our officiant (a very good friend) and parents, so I kept in the 90 minutes for photos. I'd rather get done early and just go upstairs for a pot of tea than feel like we're rushing: 

    TimeMain Activity
    12:00Lunch with the bridal party (optional)
    1:30Warren Suite: Ladies Only (Dressing, hair, make up, tea/coffee/champagne  - no stylist or MUA, so anyone who wants that can find a salon and show up closer to 3)
    3:00Warren Suite: Everyone (Groom & guys get ready, if needed)
    3:30First Looks / Couple Pics
    4:15Bridal Party / Parents & Siblings Pics
    5:00Venue Opens to Guests (Wedding Party back to Suite)
    5:30Processional/Ceremony/Recessional
    6:00Cocktail Hour / Extended Family Pics
    6:30Cocktail Hour / Yichid 
    7:00Introduction of wedding party, First Dance, Dancing, Hora
    7:30
    8:00Dinner / Table Greeting
    8:30
    9:00Cake Cutting
    9:30
    10:00 
    10:30 
    10:50Last Dance
    11:00Reception Ends

  • @JediElizabeth

    at the vast majority of weddings I've seen the hora done before dinner. Funny story - one of my cousins didn't have a jewish ceremony but was planning to do the hora. However, since they didn't do it before dinner many of my relatives thought they were skipping it entirely. Most of my side of the family spent a good chunk of dinner being disappointed about skipping it! They were all pleasantly surprised when it opened the dance floor, but while it may "break up" the fun a little I think this will be expected by your FI's family at the very least.

    I also definitely think you should ask your FMIL about how these things typically go - my family is very party oriented and the hora is super long, but it's not this way in every family. She can probably give you a sense of how much time to budget
    SP29
  • I think you should move dinner to 7:30. 
    southernbelle0915
  • I think you should move dinner to 7:30. 
    Ditto.

    Maybe that means starting your ceremony at 5:00 instead of 5:30. 45 minutes for parent and sibling pictures is a LONG time. Realistically and with an organized photog who has lists of who's supposed to be in what photos, this should take 15 minutes, TOPS. 
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    OurWildKingdomernursej
  • I think you should move dinner to 7:30. 
    Ditto.

    Maybe that means starting your ceremony at 5:00 instead of 5:30. 45 minutes for parent and sibling pictures is a LONG time. Realistically and with an organized photog who has lists of who's supposed to be in what photos, this should take 15 minutes, TOPS. 

    If they're having a Jewish ceremony they can't move it before sundown. Don't know if this is the case here, but ceremony time might not be flexible.

    Because of this many people who regularly attend Jewish weddings are used to eating a little later, especially after a heavy cocktail hour.

  • If they're having a Jewish ceremony they can't move it before sundown. Don't know if this is the case here, but ceremony time might not be flexible.

    Because of this many people who regularly attend Jewish weddings are used to eating a little later, especially after a heavy cocktail hour.

    I think dinner at 8pm is also fairly common in NY/NJ and may be in other cities as well (not sure because I have limited experience in other cities).  Personally, as long as I had a few good apps to eat, having dinner at 8pm isn't the end of the world.  Also with tableside ordering there is likely to be bread and butter and probably a salad course served before the actual dinner is plated at 8pm.  Of course if this is incorrect OP please consider having some food available earlier.

    As to the time for photographs, I feel like this depends on the size of the families and WP and how efficient your photographer is.  For our wedding we had about an hour of "getting ready" time which included all the bride and her BMs/family pics and Groom with his GM/family pics.  Then during cocktail hour we had all the combined photos.  About 20 minutes with just the two of us and about 30 minutes with the combined family and WP photos.

  • I think you should move dinner to 7:30. 
    Ditto.

    Maybe that means starting your ceremony at 5:00 instead of 5:30. 45 minutes for parent and sibling pictures is a LONG time. Realistically and with an organized photog who has lists of who's supposed to be in what photos, this should take 15 minutes, TOPS. 

    If they're having a Jewish ceremony they can't move it before sundown. Don't know if this is the case here, but ceremony time might not be flexible.

    Because of this many people who regularly attend Jewish weddings are used to eating a little later, especially after a heavy cocktail hour.
    If they're doing that, they'd only be able to get married between November and mid-February, depending on where they live. @JediElizabeth, when is your wedding?
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    image
  • Will the wedding party members attend cocktail hour, or will they do pictures until their introduction? If the latter, waiting from noon to 8 p.m. to eat would be a long time for me.
    "Marriage is so disruptive to one's social circle." - Mr. Woodhouse
  • JediElizabethJediElizabeth
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited February 5
    Sorry for the delayed response! I'm going to try to answer as much as this as possible without quoting everyone.

    I'm cutting photos with the bridal party down to half an hour, and our photos to half an hour, so first looks will move up to 4pm and everything before that will be adjusted, starting with lunch at 12:30 or 1.

    Ceremony still starts at 5:30 - since the invitations are already done and have to go out this month, that can't be changed. FI isn't very religious, and I'm not Jewish at all, so waiting until after sundown on the Sabbath isn't an issue for us, but since we come from one Jewish family and one family of NJ/NYC commuters who usually don't even get home for dinner on a weeknight until after 7, I think our circles will find this to be normal. (Most of the time we make dinner plans for 8 when we go out.)

    There will be a lot of hot appetizers during cocktail hour for anyone who's hungry, as well as plenty of seats & tables for everyone in the venue during cocktail hour.  The wedding party will also be in the cocktail hour, since all their pictures will be done before the ceremony.


    ETA: I should have worded that: "...one Jewish family used to late Saturday night weddings..."

    LadyCatherineDBcowgirl8238
  • I don't have any issue with eating dinner starting at 8pm, but I do see an issue with dinner not starting until an hour after the reception starts. Typically people move from cocktail hour into the reception space and find their seats. Intros and first dance combined shouldn't take longer than 5-10 minutes MAX, and it sounds like you'l likely be planning 10-15 minutes for the Hora based on previous posts. So what is everyone supposed to do for 35 (or more!) minutes sitting at their tables before dinner is served. That's a long time for people to be sitting and waiting. Can't the first course come out at 7:30?
    InLoveInQueens
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