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Alana
VIP March 2018

How long does a wedding reception last?

Alana, on January 24, 2017 at 12:45 PM Posted in Planning 1 37
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I am brainstorming ideas and I'm thinking the wedding ceremony should be about 30 minutes at the most and the reception should be about 2.5 or 3 hours. Is that not long enough? Do people really spend hours at a reception? Me personally give me 3 hours for everything ceremony thru reception and I'm good. Do people still hang around and party for hours after the bride and groom have left?

37 Comments

Latest activity by Lynnie, on October 29, 2020 at 4:40 PM
  • ShannMUA
    Super November 2017
    ShannMUA ·
    • Flag

    From all the weddings I've been to, that's a pretty short reception. They're usually somewhere between 4-5 hours

    • Reply
  • Q
    Savvy September 2017
    Qui528 ·
    • Flag

    I believe a rough standard time and of course this all has to do with what you can afford, but I would say around 4-5 hours for the reception. Gives people a chance to eat, drink and dance. You can have your 1st dances, toasts and cake cutting all in the time frame. With 3 hours it may seemed rushed.

    • Reply
  • Swin.
    Master June 2016
    Swin. ·
    • Flag

    We had a reception that was about that long. Except we didn't have any dancing. It was just a dinner party. So, if you want dancing, plan for more.

    • Reply
  • melanie
    Master August 2017
    melanie ·
    • Flag

    Most of the weddings I have attended were between 5-6 hours ceremony & reception

    • Reply
  • VegasWed!
    Super October 2017
    VegasWed! ·
    • Flag

    My venue only books 4 hour time blocks for weddings and it's an extra $1,000 per hour (no thanks). I think 4 hours is plenty of time to do a ceremony and reception. Any less than that though, and I'd be worried. We are keeping our cocktail time short. As a guest, I always hated the hour long cocktail hour.

    • Reply
  • MrsCalderon
    VIP December 2016
    MrsCalderon ·
    • Flag

    Mine was 3 hours

    • Reply
  • Karie
    VIP October 2017
    Karie ·
    • Flag

    Id say 2.5-3 is plenty! I plan on having mine short, I only booked my photographer for 1 hour of the reception, not planning on having any dancing though

    • Reply
  • The Trap Selena
    Master March 2016
    The Trap Selena ·
    • Flag

    I think you should aim for at least 4 hours for the reception alone. If you have alcohol flowing and a good musician/DJ, people will absolutely stay after and party. Dinner alone will take about an hour, depending on how many guests you'll be having.

    • Reply
  • xray12280
    Master June 2017
    xray12280 ·
    • Flag

    I think it depends on what you want at the reception. Mine will be from 5-11, 5-6 cocktail hour, followed by dinner then dancing.

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  • mochaloctte
    Devoted August 2018
    mochaloctte ·
    • Flag

    @Vegas our venue offers the same wl the same additional hourly pricing

    Our reception is 4 hours not counting cocktail hour

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  • Mrs. Knolle
    Master July 2016
    Mrs. Knolle ·
    • Flag

    Our ceremony was from 6pm-6:30. Cocktail "hour" was from 6:30-7. Reception was from 7-11. We did a sparkler exit at 10:45.

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  • FME
    Master March 2018
    FME ·
    • Flag

    Mine will be 3.5 hours, and I still keep asking myself if that's long enough, but I really don't want to bump the ceremony up earlier

    • Reply
  • Shannon
    Devoted August 2017
    Shannon ·
    • Flag

    How many guests are you having? And what kind of dinner? Our reception was originally going to be 3 hrs but after some thought we didn't think that would be enough time. We are having approx 40-60 guests (DW) and a plated dinner (unfortunately we don't have a choice in the matter, I would have chosen a buffet) and we figured dinner would take ATLEAST an hour to just get through dinner and it always takes people a little time to get warmed up to the dance floor. I didn't think an hour or 1.5 hrs (at best) was enough time to just enjoy dancing and partying with everyone. We decided to pay for another hour making it a 4hr reception.

    • Reply
  • A
    Savvy May 2017
    Amanda ·
    • Flag

    Ours is 4 hours, then we are having a little after party with the bridal party

    • Reply
  • Alana
    VIP March 2018
    Alana ·
    • Flag

    We dont have a guest list in stone yet but we are capping it at no more than 100 guests. Buffet style small menu. Most venues I'm looking at have a 6 hour window which includes set up and break down and the ceremony. They offer extra hours at a cost of course. Ok so I know how to budget. 4 hours at least g for the reception and 30 min tops for the ceremony.

    • Reply
  • AK
    VIP July 2017
    AK ·
    • Flag

    We have the venue from 10am to 2am, but we're planning 6 hours ceremony + reception.

    If you want it that short, make sure you're on top of the timeline that day! And maybe eliminate the cocktail hour.

    • Reply
  • Bee
    Master April 2017
    Bee ·
    • Flag

    We were told 4 hours for reception. 1 hour before that for cocktail hour.

    • Reply
  • MMB
    Master January 2017
    MMB ·
    • Flag

    Ours was about that length. But we didn't have a cocktail hour or dancing.

    • Reply
  • Alana
    VIP March 2018
    Alana ·
    • Flag

    Fall bride I'm not necessarily leaving the reception early what I meant was at some point the bride and groom at every wedding I've been to has called it a night for some alone time. They don't stay and clean and most often after about 4 or 5 hours are waiting to just breathe so they leave and the rice is thrown....birds are released or whatever. Not throwing insults or anything but I mean why would they stay until everyone has left. Not leaving early but leaving before everyone else if that makes sense

    • Reply
  • MMB
    Master January 2017
    MMB ·
    • Flag

    Alana, so are you asking how long you and FH should stay or how long the reception should be?

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