Timeline for the Best Reception!
Updated: May 27, 2019
Start with the end in mind. Let's start with a little dream. Your wedding reception is ending, do you want a send off where all of your guests are there to send you off with sparklers? Or do you want to sneak out with guests not knowing you left?
After you have your ending planed...
Then you can work your timeline backwards to figure out when you should start your ceremony. This method will keep you from having long space where you don't want it.
Let's say you want a sparkler send off at 10:30pm. We will work backwards from that:
Dancing - 7:30 Estimate about 3 hours for dancing. (So your guest go away remembering how fun it was.)
Dinner - 5:00 Depending on how many guests, 1hr - 1.5hr. (Ask caterer as they have done enough of these to know how long their service takes.
Cocktails - 4:00 Estimate 1 hour. Enough time for them to have a snack, couple cocktails, and visit.
Travel from Ceremony to Reception site: 3:30 This you can get off Google Maps. Remember to check if there are any festivals or parades that will cause delays or frustration for you guests.
Ceremony: 3:00pm Generally about 30 minutes.
Your guests don't usually hang out while you take pictures at ceremony site. They will go directly to the reception site. Yes, you will probably miss the cocktails, but your guests will be ready for the next formality. One way to avoid that is do as many pictures as you can before the ceremony.
If you leave them wanting more your event will be remembered as the most fun they had of all the weddings they went to!