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Newbie May 2023 Quebec

Timeline - Couple Reception Entrance Time : How Late is Too Late?

Theodora, on April 2, 2022 at 14:08 Posted in Plan a wedding 0 5
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Hello Smiley smile

I'm looking for some timeline advice for our May, 2023 wedding! We are trying to work the wedding day timeline backwards and to do so, I am wondering how late is too late for the couple's reception entrance?

We will be having a one hour to one and a half hour cocktail hour at the same venue; there is the possibility to do the cocktail hour in the same room as the reception, or to do it in a separate room. We do want to maximize the time of the cocktail hour because there will be lots of food!

We are contemplating a few timelines (still haven't decided on first look or not, church ceremony or not) and one of them would mean that the bridal party reception entrance would only be at 8:00pm, which sounds too late to me but I am not sure! Looking for some advice.

The other timelines make the entrance time at 7:00pm, with cocktails starting at 5:30pm.

Another thing to keep in mind is that we are trying to avoid making the bridal party, close family (and us!) wake up very early to get ready, as we want everyone to be as energized as possible for the day Smiley smile

Any input welcome! Thanks so much!

5 Comments

Latest activity by Kara, on April 6, 2022 at 02:17
  • Kara
    Frequent user June 2022 Ontario
    Kara ·
    • Dispute
    I think your timeline could work with the 7pm entrance, but dinner service can take up to 2 hours… I personally feel that’s a bit late to feed guests…. But I’m an early eater typically with an Italian family…. So 6pm is pushing it for dinner…lol

    I would also keep in mind most church ceremonies take place a bit earlier in the day- if this is something you’re considering, I would check with the church first to see what options they have available for time- to see if it fits in with your plan. This may help you make a better decision.

    At the end of the day, it’s yours and your FH’s day….whatever you want is all that matters❤️
    • Reply
  • Tunisha
    Featured October 2021 Ontario
    Tunisha ·
    • Dispute
    If you’re serving dinner. 7pm sounds just right for entrance.


    We did our wedding 4PM ceremony, it was delayed a bit because the day of coordinator was waiting for more people to arrive. Haha. But then we had cocktail hours after then we came in around 6:15/20pm for the reception — activities and dinner. Haha
    Whatever time works for your and your SO for the day also is what it should be.
    • Reply
  • Derek
    Frequent user September 2022 Alberta
    Derek ·
    • Dispute
    We will be entering at 6:15-6:30, to allow time for our guests to get seated as well as to allow time for us to return from photos (we are having them taken off-site and then the limo is bringing us back to the reception).
    • Reply
  • Carmel
    Featured December 2020 Ontario
    Carmel ·
    • Dispute
    Are you having dinner? If it's just cocktails then that's not too late at all. If you're serving dinner you need to allow for ~2 hrs for dinner before your party really starts, so just keep that in mind. Our cocktail time was from 6:15-7:30. Our entrance and first dance was at 7:30, with dinner beginning at ~7:45. We had no issues. We did mix in dancing between courses so our dinner was stretched out a bit more. The real party (covid style) didn't start until maybe 10 ish but, again, non issue with our guests. We also had late night food.
    • Reply
  • Vinod
    Featured August 2017 Ontario
    Vinod ·
    • Dispute

    8:00 reception start entrance would not give enough time for dancing if you have other things happening after that for an hour or so.

    The time to consider for starting is earlier around an hour after since you can give yourselves more time for dancing after and your guests to enjoy the party time as well. Saying this, I have seen one wedding take really a long evening of a storyline for the couple getting together and videos of what dinners, etc. happen. Guests including myself were probably getting bored and by the dancing time, 1/4 of the guests left because they had kids falling asleep throughout the presentation.

    Half hour for the cocktail hour seems enough time to get guests seated and have the reception started given you have the first dance, father/daughter & son/mother dances, speeches and cake cutting (if getting by the bakery). The guests will probably be hungry after which would be a good time to have the food served and then you can party with them for the whole evening.

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