A crucial aspect of wedding planning is scheduling, as there are many customs and events you want to fit into a limited time frame. To plan effectively, it’s important to know the length of your wedding reception. The length can vary depending on the venue and package you choose, so consult with your wedding planner and venue coordinator for the exact duration. On average, a complete wedding event lasts about 6 hours, with a ceremony lasting approximately 30 minutes, cocktail hour lasting an hour or longer, and the reception (dinner and dancing) lasting 4 hours.
The wedding reception timeline should account for all the significant activities, giving you time to interact with your guests, dance, enjoy food, and cherish being newlyweds. To create a timeline, list all the events you want to include and work with your wedding coordinator to fit them into the allotted time. A sample timeline is provided for reference. The cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m., followed by guests entering the reception space, the grand entrance and first dance, dinner, toasts, and dancing. The reception ends with the cake cutting and couple’s thank-you speech. Make sure to factor in activities such as getting ready, pre-wedding photos, setup, and cleanup, and after-parties into your timeline. You may also be able to pay for extra hours if needed.