The Flow of the Party

Ideas for Reception Timing from Beginning to End

After a sunset ceremony, use lanterns to guide guests to a dinner reception that begins at dusk.
Colin Miller

Guests don’t notice when timing is working well; only when it’s not.

We're going to let you in on a little secret. People putting on a wedding almost always ignore the key factor that really makes or breaks a party. It's something everyone has access to and doesn't cost a dime: timing.

The quality of time people spend at a wedding is far more important than the quantity of time. As the bride and groom, the host and hostess of this party, it is up to you to ensure your guests will enjoy themselves.

How often have you attended a wedding that started at six in the evening; the bride came down the aisle after seven; the cocktail reception ran from eight until nine-thirty; and dinner was finally put in front of you at ten-thirty at night?

By midnight, you've been there for six hours, and they haven't even cut the cake. Your energy level has dropped and maybe you've had too much to drink. This is the profile of many weddings where issues like timing and the elements that go into creating a good party have been ignored.

The quality of time people spend at a wedding is far more important than the quantity of time. As the bride and groom, the host and hostess of this party, it is up to you to ensure your guests will enjoy themselves.

If guests are invited for a seven P.M. ceremony, start the ceremony by seven-fifteen or seven-twenty at the very latest. Once the ceremony is over, if there is a cocktail reception it should last no longer than 45 minutes to an hour.

Here are some more examples of some popular scenarios:

 
CCC Promo 1
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