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How long do pictures take? What's a good length of a reception?

Here's our plan
5:30-5:45p     Ceremony
5:45-6:30p     Cocktail hour
6:30-7:45p     Dinner (buffet)
7:45-11p        Dancing!

Apparently, we have to turn down the music to "softer levels" at 10:30, so that give us about 3 hours of dancing & fun.  Is that normal?  Is it enough, particularly for our extra fun loving families? 

Also, I'm curious about photos.  We have a small wedding party (parents, 2 grandparents, 6 total for best man/maid of honor/groomsman/bridemaids.)  Is 30-45 minutes sufficient to get some great photos?  

Any insights would be great - Thank You!

Re: How long do pictures take? What's a good length of a reception?

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    We've only allotted about 20 minutes for our family formals.  I just want the basic configurations, so I'm hoping it goes very quickly.

    We're planning a two-hour photo tour before the ceremony to get more of the fun and candid shots.  I'm really looking forward to being able to get some really cool pictures without holding up the reception.
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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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    That is the exact timeline we have planned for our cermony and reception. We have the room until midnight but I don't really plan on people staying that long plus we need some time to clean up. The only difference is our cocktail hour will run a little longer, until about 7, as we have a larger bridal party and family.

    I like the idea of doing some of the pictures before but that won't work for our site. We are planning to take the pictures in the front area (ceremony is around back outside behind the hall) and I don't want to be out there taking pictures while guests are showing up. I also don't want to do it way more ahead of time and then sit in my dress for an hour. If it works for you to do some pictures early I have heard that it is a good idea and you can get to your guests and enjoy the coaktail hour quicker.
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