Texas-Dallas and Ft. Worth
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Length of Reception Question...

So, currently, our reception is scheduled for 3 hours (this does not include cocktail "hour") and our ceremony and reception are at the same location.

I'm am starting to debate on whether or not to add an additional hour. My question is, for those of you that had a 3 hour reception, was that enough time, or do you look back and feel it should have been longer.

Same question to those that have a 4 hour, was that a good time, or to long and did the party die out?

Re: Length of Reception Question...

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    edited December 2011
    I think this question is all relative. It depends on several factors: your guests, and the time your ceremony starts. 

    If your guests are a younger crowd and will party all night, 4 hours would be great. However, if your crowd is older, more family, then 3 hours is plenty.

    Most important thing-know your crowd.

    If your ceremony starts at 7, and you don't arrive at the reception after pictures and cocktail hour until 8, I would say again 3 hours is probably enough because most people won't stay until midnight. 

    And if you do have people who want to keep the party going, you can have an after-party. 

    So, there is no "one answer fits all" for these types of questions. You just have to know your crowd. 

    ETA: The time the reception is starting is also really important to the length of the reception because grandma isn't going to want to wait around until 9 or 9:30pm to cut the cake. 
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    edited December 2011
    We had a 4 hour reception (8-12) and I wish it would have been longer.  All but 3 people stayed from beginning to end.

    But as Natalie said, it will depend on your crowd.
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    courtski2004courtski2004 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Ditto Natalie, know your crowd.
    I contemplated the same question--we have a 4 hour block locked in, and one hour of that is the cocktail hour. We are extending by an hour to take us to 11 PM since our main goal and vision is a raging party with our friends. We also have the freedom to decide the night of if we want to shell out another $125 for an hour time extension. We can do the same for the DJ as well, but we have him booked for 5 hours anyway and I honestly don't see us raging after midnight.

    Ceremony @ 5
    Cocktail hour from 6-7 (Jazz trio, no DJ)
    Reception 7-11 (DJ from 7-12)

    I think that is a good chunk of time so I don't see us going outside of this, but the option is there if we want to (which eases my mind).
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    fallbride1109fallbride1109 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Our cocktail "hour" was 7:30-8:15 and dinner/reception 8:30-11:30.  Although I never wanted it to end, I feel like it was really perfect for our crowd, like Natalie said.  Our hotel had a great bar and was in an area with plenty to do if the 30 somethings wanted to keep going (and some did--including my 60 something mom!) but we were pooped and more than ready to call it a night.  Yet, not many people had left and there were plenty there to send us off.

    Our DJ was fantastic and kept everything flowing just right so we never felt rushed and still had time to do all the traditional things.  I will say though, that we only had a first dance and 2 toasts--so keep that in mind if you will have lots of those.

    We cut our cake at 9:30 and it was fine.  If you have a DJ, ours was great at helping us craft our timeline.
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    edited December 2011
    Our timeline was pretty close to Stephie's.  I think we left at about 11:00, but our cocktail "hour" wasn't that long because we took all of our photos beforehand.
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    edited December 2011
    Our ceremony will be from 630-6:50 and everyone will be in the reception by 7:00 (no cocktail hour) and right now the reception is paid to go through 10:30 which I am thinking will be plenty of time.  However if it is not we have already worked out with all key players (venue, photog, video, DJ) that we can tack on an extra hour with no problem.  We are choosing to just go with the flow and if everyone is partying it up still at 10:30 we will keep going and if they are not thenwe will end it.
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    edited December 2011
    I was worried about our length, too, and we ultimately decided to add another hour. That's one thing I would hate to dwell about regret-wise.
    Disclaimer: Please excuse the above comment. I'm probably freaking out because there is less than one month to go. Thank you.
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    edited December 2011
    Our entire event was about 4 hours.  We took most of our pictures before the wedding.  So, the ceremony started at 6 and the reception ended at 10.  There really wasn't much of a break between the two.  I don't regret it at all.
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    Jen6862Jen6862 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I ended up booking the extra hour if you read my earlier crazy post. But, even if I hadn't needed to start early we would have added at the end. This might be good for you, especially if people run late to the 7 am start time and you are having a lot of people if I remember correctly.
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    angelsong21angelsong21 member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I'm having trouble making the same decision.  Our ceremony will be 7:00-7:20pm, then dinner/reception is scheduled until 11:00pm.  We're going to have about 100 guests there, but I can't decide if 3 hours is enough time for everyone to have a drink, eat dinner, cut the cake, do the dances, etc.  As I write that, I'm thinking that its probably not lol, but people are right that it would just depend on your crowd.  I'm having a hard time judging my crowd!  It would be a little different if I knew somewhere we could go after the reception ended so we didn't have to pay an astronomical amount for adding on an hour, but I can't think of anywhere to go. :(
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    edited December 2011
    Our ceremony is at 7:30, cocktail mini hour is 8-8:30, reception is 8:30-12a.  Plenty of time (was my FSIL time table as well)
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    edited December 2011
    Ceremony at 6, guessing reception entrance at 7:30, so I felt 10:30 was way too early to leave (with the big entrance, special dances, toasts, cake, eating). I want some time to really enjoy my friends and family being there. So we decided yesterday to leave at 11:30 instead, so I contacted all of my vendors accordingly.
    Disclaimer: Please excuse the above comment. I'm probably freaking out because there is less than one month to go. Thank you.
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    winechic25winechic25 member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    All great things to think about ladies, with the number of guests we're going to have and the fact we will probably have a party crowd, thinking we need to add time, or at least have that option!! Going to a wedding this weekend and plan on paying close attention to the timing !
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    edited December 2011
    Our ceremony is at 5:30, Cocktails from 6 - 6:30.  Doors open around 6:45 for guests to get seated and we make our entrance around 7:10. Reception goes to 11pm.
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