Reception Ideas

How long should my reception be?

Hi Everyone! 

We are having our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception all at the same place. Our venue contract allows for 4.5 hours of time. which we'll use like this:
 
30 mins for ceremony (6:30pm-7pm)
1 hour (approx) for cocktail hour (7pm-8pm)
3 hours for reception, including exit/send-off (8pm-11pm) -- NOTE; We are having a full dinner reception (served buffet style) & full bar, etc.

We do have the option to extend our reception time by 1 hour. (This would increase our venue expenditures by 13%).

So... Here's my question: is 3 hours enough time for a reception?  We don't want our guests feeling like they're being rushed out the door ; the end of the night... But we don't want to add the extra hour if we truly might not need it.

Your thoughts??

Thanks for the input!

Re: How long should my reception be?

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    For me, personally, 3 hours would be fine. But I don't dance, so my enjoyment of a wedding reception wears off pretty quickly b/c for me it's a lot of sitting around and chatting, and a couple hours of that is enough for me. But if your crowd is into dancing, I would say extend it the hour. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • Thanks to everyone who voted/commented...   A little more info: In an effort to limit the number of youngsters, we are only inviting the children of family/extended family members.
    We only expect about 120 total guests (and very few children). 

    I don't think I'd regret it if our reception was slighty too long... But, if it felt as though it ended abruptly, I think I'd be a little sad.

    And, from what I've heard, for the bride and groom, the night goes by so quickly-- so may be better to extend it by the hour, if for no other reason than to spend a little more time with family.

    Any additioanl or further thoughts, knotties??
  • libby2483libby2483
    1000 Comments 250 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    edited March 2013
    Our reception was eight hours long.  Our ceremony was at 3:30, and then our reception started at 4:00 and went until midnight.  Long receptions like this are pretty typical where I'm from.  I've honestly never been to a wedding that has a reception shorter than six hours, so even four hours would seem really short to me.   That is just what is common in my circle, though, and from posting on here it seems like much shorter recepitons are the norm.  

    If you think you will regret feeling rushed, I would opt to add an hour.  Like you said, I don't think that you will regret making the reception longer, but you may regret it if you feel rushed and like you don't have enough time with your guests.  If it is in your budget, I would say to add the hour, but as someone who had an eight hour reception, I suppose I'm a bit biased.
  • In Response to Re: How long should my reception be?:
    Our reception was eight hours long.  Our ceremony was at 3:30, and then our reception started at 4:00 and went until midnight.  Long receptions like this are pretty typical where I'm from.  I've honestly never been to a wedding that has a reception shorter than six hours, so even four hours would seem really short to me.   That is just what is common in my circle, though, and from posting on here it seems like much shorter recepitons are the norm.   If you think you will regret feeling rushed, I would opt to add an hour.  Like you said, I don't think that you will regret making the reception longer, but you may regret it if you feel rushed and like you don't have enough time with your guests.  If it is in your budget, I would say to add the hour, but as someone who had an eight hour reception, I suppose I'm a bit biased.
    Posted by libby2483
    Definitely! (re: bold)... I am not sure how long most receptions I have attended typically are... But, as a guest, I've found myself both feeling rushed out the door and (in other situations) feeling like, "gees, this is a long reception..."

    And, the latter is definitely more detrimental. I'll add the hour. Seems it'll be more than worth it, in the long run. :) Thanks for the input!
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