Wedding Reception Forum

How Long is your Reception?

How long are most receptions you've been to?  How long was your/will yours be?

A standard reception at my venue is 4 hours, but an additional hour can be added on for $250.  I originally thought 4 hours was plenty, but my dad keeps insisting it will go by faster than I realize, pointing out once you do all the toasts, dinner, father/daughter dance, bouquet toss, etc...that leaves minumum time for everyone getting out on the dance floor and having a good time. 

I was at a 5 hr reception tonight, and it did seem perfect, not too long, and there was enough time after all the formal stuff to just relax and have a good time.

So, in your opinions, what's the standard amount of time receptions last? 
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Re: How Long is your Reception?

  • I'm dealing with the same question. Except at our venue an extra hour is $700! If it was $250 I'd definitely go for it. Does that include open bar (if you're doing one)?
  • aro1589aro1589 member
    First Comment First Anniversary
    I believe so.  I'd have to double check though.
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  • Avion22Avion22 member
    5 Love Its First Comment
    We did an hour of cocktails followed by 3:45 of recpetion.  It was perfect.
  • Our cocktail hour was from 5-6. This is what our guests did while we took pics.

    The actual reception (dinner and dancing) lasted from 6-11. I think this was the perfect amount of time where we didn't feel rushed, and by 11, most guests were ready to call it a night anyway (and those who still wanted to party decided to head to a nearby bar after). If we had done 4 hours, a huge chunk of our dancing time would have been gone, and I wouldn't have liked that, but you COULD do it in 4 hours if you wanted. I think dancing is what would be sacrificed.

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  • Yeah $250 is a great price. I'd do it.
    June 16, 2012
  • edited May 2012
    Our short ceremony is at 7pm in the same room as the reception. Dinner will start being served at 7:20. As it is a smaller wedding with a buffet we figure everyone will get through and be done eating by 8:30. This leaves 3 hours for dancing as we are not doing anything but a first dance and cake cutting. Last dance is 11:30, we will leave then and the DOC will pack up and be out by 12:15.
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  • $250 is a great price.  Our venue charges $500 per hour to add on an hour to the end of the reception.  Our reception is about 3.5 hours, but we aren't doing any of the traditional stuff like the dances (except the 1st dance), garter toss, bouquet toss, speeches, etc.  For us, I think 3.5 hours will be plenty.
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  • We're having an hour for cocktails followed by dinner and dancing for four hours.  This is the amount of time for all the weddings I've been to.  $250 is a great price- if you think you want more time, I'd go for it!

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  • heb557heb557 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited May 2012
    My reception was 7 hours long, and it was way too short. Get the extra hour, it's worth every penny..
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  • HobokensFuryHobokensFury member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited May 2012
    Ours was 5.5 hours including a cocktail hour. It flew by. I would add the extra hour for $250.
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  • Ours is only 4 hours.  We have a small crowd of 40 so that should be plenty of time as we are not doing special dances, speeches, or bouquet tosses.
  • aragx6aragx6 member
    5 Love Its Combo Breaker First Comment
    Ours is a short ceremony followed by 4 hours: 1 for cocktail hour, 1 for dinner, and two for open dancing. It ends at 10:30. That seems like plenty to me.

    We'll be post-partying back at the hotel bar.
  • 1 hour cocktail hour and then a 5 hour reception
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