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Just Said Yes September 2024

3:30pm Ceremony - Wedding Timeline Help

Rachel, on May 30, 2024 at 7:27 PM Posted in Planning 2 6
I have a 3:30pm Ceremony start time.
3:00pm guests will arrive and the ceremony will start at 3:30pm and will only be 30minutes. So far I only have 3:30pm-4:00pm - Ceremony 4:00pm-?? - Open Bar/Appetizers
Now for the rest of the day I need help! Our wedding will end at 10:00pm.
I have no wedding party but, we will have speeches from about 5-6 people.
We will have a first dance, a first dance with my dad and a first dance with his mom.
Our dinner will be buffet style.
We will have a cake to cut and I want to take pictures for that.


Latest activity by Sarah, on June 6, 2024 at 9:08 PM
  • Marie
    Beginner June 2024
    Marie ·
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    Is the ceremony and reception at the same place?

    Cocktail hour should be right after your ceremony.

    Then your entrance. Your first dance should follow your entrance.

    You should do speeches during dinner so that people are paying attention.

    Dinner should be at 5 or 6 pm.

    I hope this helps a little.

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  • H
    Master July 2019
    Hannah ·
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    I would set the start time on the invitation to 3:30. Otherwise you’re going to get a bunch of people showing up at around 2:30-2:45 thinking they are arriving for a 3pm ceremony. As Marie suggested, the cocktail hour is typically immediately following the ceremony and is an hour to an hour and a half tops. The reception follows after that. So I would do cocktail hour 4-5pm, and then move into the reception. We’ve been to weddings where the dances are at the start (so when couple is introduced in the reception, they move straight into the first dance and then the parent dances follow that). Otherwise, you can save the dances to open up the dance floor after dinner. I would do the toasts (they should be toasts, which are only like 1-3 minutes—not full on speeches, especially if you have 5-6 people speaking), while people are eating.
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  • Michelle
    Rockstar December 2022
    Michelle ·
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    Are you greeting guests as they leave the ceremony? Dismissing the rows goes super fast compared to table visits where only 1/3-1/2 of the tables are approached. Guests know to keep it quick and you get to talk to everyone. Most that we have seen including our own took 10 minutes at most, including for 100-200 guests.

    Is the ceremony at another location or the same place? You need to account for travel in rush hour traffic and finding parking when the reception is elsewhere. A major issue that people talk about but are not open to alternative venues without the restrictions, is the ceremony ends at one time but there is a gap where the reception doesn’t allow anyone to enter for an hour or more. Contrary to popular belief, guests generally hate the gaps and they do not want to nap, shop, sightsee, etc in fancy clothes.
    Another thing guests either love or hate with no middle ground is toasts. Don’t go over 2 minutes max and be prepared for guests to zone out. Some circles skip them entirely and others have them at the rehearsal dinner to avoid that. If you do have them, keep them limited, don’t force anyone to speak because not everyone is comfortable with talking to crowds, and have them while guests are eating. That way, you can use the rest of the time to the fullest with dancing, socializing, etc.
    With a tight timeline, can you combine parent dances or play shortened versions? 60 seconds (it’s actually a good amount of time when you’re in the spotlight) instead of 4 minutes each?
    Otherwise, ask your month of coordinator, photographer and dj for assistance with timelines because this is a basic job description of each vendor, and they make timelines for every wedding as a default.
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  • Kimberly
    Savvy September 2024
    Kimberly ·
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    Hi Rachel! I also have the same question. We’ve decided on a 3:30pm start time and have to end by 10pm as well. Also getting married on Sept. 21st!! 🫶🏻 I’m thinking Ceremony: 3:30-4pm, Cocktail Hour: 4-5pm, Dinner & Speeches: 5-6pm (thinking that gives 30 mins for everyone to grab their plates from the buffet and then 30 mins to eat and listen to speeches), First Dances: 6-6:10ish pm, Open up the dance floor right after, Cake Cutting/Dessert Table: 7pm? That way, for cake pics, I’m not sweaty or anything yet hopefully lol because we will go table to table after first dances to say hi to everyone. Then just party the rest of the night after that. DJ will end by 9:30pm and then our coordinator will line everyone up for our grand sparkler exit. Dj will then play a final intimate/personal last dance for my groom and I. After our dance, we will head to the grand exit for a few more pictures with everyone holding the sparklers. This is just my brainstorm but I’ve been stressing about this lately too haha.
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  • Rachel
    Just Said Yes September 2024
    Rachel ·
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    Hi Kimberly!

    This is very helpful 😊. Thank you! Love that we have the same date and time.
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  • S
    March 2024
    Sarah ·
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    10:30 a.m.
    11:00 a.m. Hair and makeup
    [mostly spent worrying]
    1:00 p.m. Bride gets into her wedding dress
    3:00 p.m. Guests begin to arrive
    3:30 p.m. Ceremony start time
    4:00 p.m. Ceremony ends / cocktail hour begins
    5:00 p.m. first dance, father daughter dance, hora
    5:15 pm get food
    5:40pm speaches
    7:00 pm sunset portraits
    7:20 p.m. cut cake and dance. I picked 'shut up and dance with me' and told my siblings they are required to dance for this 1 song
    and I spent the remaining 2 hours dancing
    My ceremony started at 4PM
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