Creating A Wedding Timeline Series | Part Five – The Reception

Wedding Tips

Somehow the weeks have flown by and we are already to the part in your timeline about The Reception! It flew by almost as fast as your wedding planning will! Creating the perfect timeline is truly something that most brides struggle with, because most of us are planning a wedding for the first time! So, how the heck do we know what time to schedule for each part of the day?

Hopefully you have found this series helpful in mapping out your once in a lifetime day! The last piece to the timeline puzzle is the easiest! You have scheduled EVERYTHING else already. So, the real question stands, what time should you start your reception?

In 99% of cases, your reception will follow your ceremony and cocktail hour (if you are having one). Your reception should have very little gap between whatever the last event is and the time you are announced in! If you opt not to have a cocktail hour, starting your reception as soon as possible means you are less likely to lose guests who go home or elsewhere in between.

Can you get away with an early ceremony and a late reception? You absolutely can. The biggest thing to remember is that often time your guests block off their entire day for your wedding. Allowing too much time in between, they will want some sort of entertainment or food. Its not uncommon for you to lose 15-25% of your guests between the ceremony and reception.

How long should your reception be?

Your reception sweet spot is usually about 4-5 hours. This gives you enough time to be announced, eat, cut cake, enjoy your special dances and open up the dance floor. Its okay to go longer or shorter in time.

Consider the demographics of your guests. If the majority of your guests are younger in age, they will of course want to dance the night away by your sides. If your guests consist of older people (think grandparents) they typically leave receptions between 8-9pm. So extending your reception to 11pm may not be necessary! Trust me, at the end of your wedding day you will be exhausted and thankful when the night is over!

Knowing your crowd of people makes all the difference in planning your reception, from when to start it, to how long it should be. Keep your guests at the top of your mind. Know what activities you want to take place during your reception and schedule plenty of time to check them all off the list. If you are planning an exit of some sort (sparklers, petals, confetti) and you want a lot of guests present so that your photos are EPIC, be prepared for a slightly earlier end time or to fake an exit and then return to the party to dance with your guests some more!

The reception really is the easiest part of your day. It’s when you truly get to celebrate with all of the people you love most. Try not to stress too much about it. Your DJ or entertainment for the evening will help you map it out perfectly so that it flows smoothly and is lots of fun! Most importantly, take the time to be present in the moments during the reception! This is when you should take the chance while eating your dinner to look out in appreciation at each table filled with your guests. Remember their faces, and cherish the fact that you are finally married!

Check back next week for a recap and putting it all together!

In case you missed the previous posts, head to the links below for the previous steps in planning your wedding timeline

The Ceremony

Getting Ready

The First Look

Cocktail Hour

Creating a timeline is stressful and one of the top questions I get from my couples. I hope this series will be helpful in taking a little of the stress off of your wedding planning plate! If you need more help, or have questions I would love to connect! OR if you’d like to find out more about becoming a #CourtneyPaigeCouple head back to the home page and fill out a contact form and I will be in touch!

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