How Long Should Your Reception last and What You Can do Without
With wedding season here, we thought we’d address 2 topics that have been huge conversation pieces with our brides and grooms during our sales consultations and creative planning meetings. The first is “How Long Should Your Reception last”. This is based on two things: your attendance count and the meal type (buffet or plated). With large guest counts, this typically means large families and wedding parties. Photos can take a bit longer, there are more toasts, and dinner will take longer regardless of meal type. The ideal wedding reception ends with a packed dance floor and the bride/groom having to decide whether or not to go a little longer. Some guidelines would be for 50-150 people, a 3-4 hour time frame is generally perfect. For every 50-100 people over, add an hour. So if you had between 200-250, you’re looking at a 4-5 hour time frame. If you have a plated dinner as opposed to a buffet, add 30 minutes for each additional course to the times listed above. The extra 30 minutes accounts for taking orders and the extra course delivery/clean-up. Anything less than a 3 hour event for 50+ attendees would feel rushed so give yourself at least that amount of time.
We also get couples asking us what they can take out of the formalities to have more time for dancing because they have a real party crowd. Let this be your rule of thumb: there are no rules. In this day and age, you can do whatever you want so don’t feel restricted by tradition or what everyone else is doing. That said, here’s a few suggestions:
*Grand Entrance: Just introduce the couple of honor. This can shave anywhere between 5-10 minutes from the beginning of the reception.
*Formality Dances: Combine 2 or all 3. Obviously, you want each person to feel special and get those important photos. We’ve had a dance start with just the bride/groom and then we ask the parents to join them about half way through. Going this route, you take 9 minutes worth of dances and get it down to 2-3 minutes. If you want to have the first dance with just your spouse, another way is to combine just the parents dances. Start with the father/daughter and then ask the groom and his mom to join halfway in.
*Move Toasts To The Rehearsal Dinner: Generally most rehearsal dinners don’t have time limits and everyone can be given a platform to speak. Toasts these days can go anywhere from 10-20 minutes so this is a great way to recoup some time.
*No Cake Cut: This has really started to trend with going away altogether in lieu of tiered cupcakes or donuts or a dessert station and just having the DJ/MC announce when it’s open. This is a 5-10 minute formality time saver.
*No Tosses: Another trend starting to develop is no garter removal/toss. We’re seeing this less and less. If you remove the bouquet toss as well, you’re looking at a pick-up of at least 10-15 minutes. If you want to give away the bouquet, think about having the DJ/MC honor the longest married couple and give it to them. It’s a cool moment that can be created during dinner with no time taken away from dancing.
If you incorporate these tips, you’re looking at giving you and your guests anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour of extra dance time. Want more ideas? Don’t hesitate in contacting us. We’d be glad to help.