Wedding Reception Forum

Time length of Reception.

I'm really trying to manage the timing with our reception. Trying to figure out the time it takes to commute from the ceremony to the reception, when people are still getting there, serving the dinner, music/partying and then ending it.
My biggest challenge has been deciding to what is too long, and what time is too short for a reception. I want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves, but also don't want it to drag out nor rush people to finish up and leave.
Any tips?

Re: Time length of Reception.

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited March 2016
    Depends what time your ceremony is,  what type of reception you are having, and what activities/events you are having at the reception.
    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
    image
  • edited March 2016
    *deleted*
  • We're considering 3pm that way the reception won't be held so late, we both have quite a few senior citizens in our families that tire out at certain times. So we want to be respectful of that.
  • What time is your wedding ceremony at? Please don't delete your posts ... hard to follow your thought pattern.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Will there be dancing? Spotlight dances? Cake cutting? Bouquet or garter tosses? 
    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
    image
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Are you having your reception at a place that regularly hosts weddings? They will often give you a time frame that they are quoting you a price on.

    Depends what meal you are serving- sounds like dinner. How many courses? Likewise, the venue or caterer should be able to tell you how long it will take to serve your meal (1-2 hours). Is there dancing? Most evening receptions are usually in the 6-8 hour range, but there are no rules about this.

    What kind of ceremony are you having? Catholic ceremony with full mass that will take an hour? Something more civil that will take 15-20mins?

    How long does it take to get between the ceremony and reception site?

    What you could do is ceremony at 3pm, start your cocktail hour at 4pm (gives time for travel and you could do a receiving line either out of the church or into the reception space for cocktails), dinner starts at 5pm, with your evening finishing anywhere between 10pm and 1 am.

    If you are having a bar, the bar must be available throughout the reception (of course baring any state laws that dictate when a bar must be closed), and if you are going to have something run late into the night/early morning, I highly suggest a late night buffet. Of course if you'd like to do dinner, an hour or two of dancing, cut your cake, maybe dance an hour more and call it a night, that is more than fine too!
    [Deleted User]
  • Rachelx7 said:
    We're considering 3pm that way the reception won't be held so late, we both have quite a few senior citizens in our families that tire out at certain times. So we want to be respectful of that.
    And yes, we picked out a beautiful building that hosts receptions and events quite often. The actual ceremony (wedding) will be held about 10 minutes away on a beach.
    We're trying to make this as "us" as possible. We're not overly fancy but still would like to keep it very formal.
    Music and dancing of course, but no tossing my bouquet. I'm keeping mine because... well, it's mine and it's MY day. Garter toss was always a NO because I always felt it was inappropriate in front of friends and family.
    We're Christian/Messianic so there will be no alcohol and no unsavory music obviously lol. 
    So ceremony at 3pm, we don't want to make it too long but we do want to make it very meaningful and symbolic. 
    Then probably at 4/4:30 the Reception officially starts by the meal being served at a certain time. So we're thinking maybe drinks and small appetizers should be ready as people are arriving. Having it wrapped up and done by 8-9 at the latest.
    We don't want to be out all night long because we'd like to have "our time" for our wedding night. We picked out the perfect hotel on the island with special arrangements waiting.. so yeah hehe!
    Mind you my future fiance hasn't even proposed yet so this is all me pretty much, for right now at least.
  • It's not that hard lol
  • Rachelx7 said:
    Rachelx7 said:
    We're considering 3pm that way the reception won't be held so late, we both have quite a few senior citizens in our families that tire out at certain times. So we want to be respectful of that.
    And yes, we picked out a beautiful building that hosts receptions and events quite often. The actual ceremony (wedding) will be held about 10 minutes away on a beach.
    We're trying to make this as "us" as possible. We're not overly fancy but still would like to keep it very formal.
    Music and dancing of course, but no tossing my bouquet. I'm keeping mine because... well, it's mine and it's MY day. Garter toss was always a NO because I always felt it was inappropriate in front of friends and family.
    We're Christian/Messianic so there will be no alcohol and no unsavory music obviously lol. 
    So ceremony at 3pm, we don't want to make it too long but we do want to make it very meaningful and symbolic. 
    Then probably at 4/4:30 the Reception officially starts by the meal being served at a certain time. So we're thinking maybe drinks and small appetizers should be ready as people are arriving. Having it wrapped up and done by 8-9 at the latest.
    We don't want to be out all night long because we'd like to have "our time" for our wedding night. We picked out the perfect hotel on the island with special arrangements waiting.. so yeah hehe!
    Mind you my future fiance hasn't even proposed yet so this is all me pretty much, for right now at least.
    If you two are actively planning a wedding -- regardless of whether or not there has been any official proposal -- he's your current fiance. 

    If you're just sort off in lala land daydreaming about your wedding way off in the maybe future, uh, you're kind of going into BSC territory worrying about the timing of a reception down to the details of this level.
    image
    InLoveInQueenssparklepants41STARMOON44
  • Considering this has been planned TOGETHER, meaning him and I, for 3 years and we know what we want. There's no lala land here, sweetie. It's pretty clear what we want and how we want it.
  • @Rachelx7, I don't think @redoryx was out of line trying to figure out if you were planning things on your own (some people plan things before there is even talk of getting married ... not the best plan) or if it was planned together. You don't have to receive a ring to be engaged. 

    Most ceremonies take 15-30 minutes depending on components included. If you are including religious components, might even be longer. I think 4pm is probably appropriate to start your reception. Starting with drinks and appetizers is a great idea. I would do a short cocktail hour and then get down to introductions of bride and groom, dinner and then cake cutting (if you are doing) and dancing (if you are doing). Speeches can always occur between courses. 
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Considering this has been planned TOGETHER, meaning him and I, for 3 years and we know what we want. There's no lala land here, sweetie. It's pretty clear what we want and how we want it.
    Then you are engaged and a proposal would be pointless, sweetie.
    [Deleted User]InLoveInQueensAddieCakeSTARMOON44
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    OP fled TK afterTHAT? Wow. She was weak.
    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
    image
    SP29madamerwin
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