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Alissa
Frequent user September 2020 British Columbia

What time does the reception start

Alissa, on February 29, 2020 at 10:53 Posted in Plan a wedding 0 18
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If you are having a traditional style wedding, seperate ceremony and reception locations with time for portraits in between, what time will the reception start?



We have 250 for a plated dinner, I don't want to start too late because I don't want everyone to be seated and eating too late. But my fear in starting early is people getting tired and leaving earlier?What is the appropriate start time for an event like this?? (For reference, the ceremony is from 1-1:30, the earliest time I considered was a 5pm reception)

18 Comments

Latest activity by Vinod, on March 17, 2020 at 11:56
  • Vinod
    Featured August 2017 Ontario
    Vinod ·
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    5pm sounds great for reception start so that you have your guests seated on time and eating before its late. The time frame for pictures to do between the ceremony and reception is lots if you are planning family and wedding party photos. Group shots if decided to do can be done as well if other guests feel they want a picture with you two. On this note, make a list of photos you want taken with the guest list given. It can be divided into coworkers, friends, and finally each family and both families together. This allows less time to spare to waste and be organized to have the groups are set for the next shot. Those who want photos aside can wait for later to keep your schedule on time.
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  • Sarah
    Featured August 2021 British Columbia
    Sarah ·
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    That makes perfect sense then.I don’t have a ton of family coming so mine will be coworkers and friends that don’t really know each other.The quicker I feed them the happier they will be lol.
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  • Stefanie
    Devoted August 2020 Saskatchewan
    Stefanie ·
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    Yea that is what we were thinking. Plus my FHs grandmother lives a block away from the church where we are getting married and she always welcomes people for coffee and such. I wanted to make sure we got the photos we wanted and that we weren't rushed.
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  • Alissa
    Frequent user September 2020 British Columbia
    Alissa ·
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    Yeah, to be honest all the traditional style weddings I've been to had big gaps in between events, it never seemed to be the bride and grooms issue where I went to stall the time while they had their photos.
    We are serving lunch for an hour at the church, our reception venue is downtown and close to a ton of bars, people typically group up and grab a drink for the couple hours they have to spare.
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  • Stefanie
    Devoted August 2020 Saskatchewan
    Stefanie ·
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    A lot of my family will be hanging out together and such. The ceremony will be done at around 2-2:30. The only reason we had the gap so big is because our families are so big and we needed to make sure there was enough time for photos
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  • Sarah
    Featured August 2021 British Columbia
    Sarah ·
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    That would be my concern lol a bunch of hangry people waiting around..Not the party vibe I would want to walk into.Your idea sounds perfect 👌 feed the masses.
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  • Sarah
    Featured August 2021 British Columbia
    Sarah ·
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    What is everyone doing from 1-5?The one wedding I went to that had a 3 hour gap between events had about half of the guests not coming to the dinner hour.
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  • Sarah
    Featured August 2021 British Columbia
    Sarah ·
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    That seems like a big gap between events 🤔 I personally get hangry if I don’t eat something all day and I hate waiting around for the next event.Our wedding ceremony starts at 3:30 and I plan on feeding the guests by 5-5:30 so that we can start the partying and keep it going until at least 11-12..My FH wants to leave the reception by midnight and I’m wanting to keep going until we absolutely have to shut it down lol.Will you be doing a cocktail hour with snacks?If so I think your timeline would be fine.
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  • Megan
    Frequent user April 2021 Ontario
    Megan ·
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    Our ceremony is at 5. Cocktails start five minutes after that. Dinner is at 6:30.
    I've only been to one wedding that started dinner too late. Dinner was served close to 9pm.

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  • Ashley
    VIP August 2020 Ontario
    Ashley ·
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    Our ceremony is 1230 which will be about an hour and our reception is 5 pm which is cocktail hour and dinner will be at 7

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  • Stefanie
    Devoted August 2020 Saskatchewan
    Stefanie ·
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    Our ceremony starts at 1 p.m and then cocktails begin at 5 p.m. with dinner being served at six.

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  • Amanda
    Curious August 2021 Manitoba
    Amanda ·
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    Our ceremony is starting at 4:30pm. I'm assuming our reception will start around 6-6:30pm. We will take pictures before the ceremony. Ceremony is at our venue.
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  • Kelsie
    Featured September 2021 Ontario
    Kelsie ·
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    Our reception is starting at 5:30pm with a ceremony time of 12:30 pm.


    We’re going straight from the ceremony to our reception venue for photos (it’s a 30-40min drive) and doing photos through til 5:00 ish.
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  • La Na
    Newbie October 2021 Ontario
    La Na ·
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    We are having our church ceremony at 2:30pm and the reception (at another location not too far from the church) will be at 6pm. We are having a cocktail hour first with apps, so dinner will likely start at about 7. Our locations are all super close and within downtown boundaries so we aren't too concerned if guests want to go back to their hotels for a couple hours or grab a drink elsewhere or whatever.
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  • Alissa
    Frequent user September 2020 British Columbia
    Alissa ·
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    We are serving a full lunch at the church hall while the bridal party leaves for photos. My family is Italian they wouldn't let anyone go that long without food😂
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  • Amelia
    Featured October 2020 New Brunswick
    Amelia ·
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    I think between 530 and 630 start for dinner is reasonable. Are you having appetizers during cocktail hour while the photos happen? If you are you can push dinner a little later, if not I would feed people as early as possible.


    Keep in mind that if your ceremony is at 1/130 people probably ate at 1130/12 and waiting 6+ hours before eating again will probably make them hangry and more likely to leave early. Even little nibbles for you and the wedding party when you're off camera can make a huge difference.
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  • Daniela
    Frequent user September 2020 Ontario
    Daniela ·
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    Church ceremony is at 130 and reception starts at 530 for me Smiley smile
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  • Kirsten
    Frequent user April 2020 Alberta
    Kirsten ·
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    My ceremony starts at 2pm and the reception starts at 5pm, dinner probably around 6/6:30 I think? Still trying to work out those details but I only have 57 guests not including the fiancé and I lol
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