Evening cocktail reception/ceremony time line

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Nov 12, 2006
Hello all~

If the point of making a cocktail reception occur at a non-dinner-time hour is so that guests can seek out a "proper" meal beforehand if they so wish, then doesn''t having the ceremony directly before that reception sort of negate that goal?

Specifically, our cocktail reception will be from 7-11 (or 8-12...we haven''t decided yet) with the ceremony either at 5 or 6, respecitively. Guests are invited to both so, really, they don''t get to have that proper meal if they want to either way!

Shall I schedule the ceremony earlier in the day...say, guests have a "break" in between to get meals if they want to?

FYI: Our reception will have heavy HD''s and a pasta and antipasto station so, frankly, they won''t be hungry after they leave even IF they don''t eat a proper dinner beforehand.........but it''s thier choice to make so I''m not going to write that on the invites lol.

I don''t like the idea of having a FOUR hour break in between events but is this the only way to make it work? Anyone do this or have another suggestion. This timeline business is really killing me!!!

THank you!


Jan 11, 2006
No, I don't think guests would appreciate a 4 hour gap between the wedding and reception! But I do think a 6 pm wedding with reception following means you'd better have really heavy hd's which would suffice as dinner.


Feb 27, 2006
My impression about the decision to not feed people a meal at the wedding was that if you do it, you really should have the WHOLE wedding (ceremony and reception) at a non-meal time. I normally eat around 7 or 8, and it would not cross my mind unless I were told that dinner would not be served at an event starting at 5 or 6. To avoid a mealtime, I''d personally have the wedding (ceremony & reception) from, say, 2-6 or 7/8-12. How long will your ceremony be, and how far away are the ceremony and reception locations?

I agree that guests probably wouldn''t appreciate a four hour gap, especially if a lot of them are from out of town and not sure where to go in the meantime or if you are having a fairly formal ceremony/reception and they''re all dressed up.


Apr 6, 2006
I agree time in-between is pretty inconvenient especially for anyone with a babysitter or someone who has traveled far. What do you do for the 4 hours all dressed up?

There must be a way to say, "please join us for hors d''oeuvers and cocktails" so it is understood to eat before. It always creates questions, tho, because a whole meal has been the tradition. By the time you start getting ready, drive to the ceremony location, have the ceremony, wait for the pictures to be taken, get to the reception, wait for the bride and groom to arrive, have a cocktail, most people are hungry even if they ate hours ago. So it''d be nice to make it clear not to expect a sit down meal.
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