We're having a wedding that begins at 5 pm.
How long should the reception be?
I've always left wedding receptions long before they were over, so I have no idea what time they usually end. :-)
The reception can end at any time once the planned activities, such as cake cutting, first dances, etc. occur. If you are dancing, the time that the DJ or band is contracted for often dictates the end of the reception, usually about 4 hours. If there is no dancing, the reception is usually shorter.
The bride and groom can decide when they want to leave and then ask the DJ or band leader to play a last song. When the couple leaves guests will follow. One thing to remember is that the bride and groom will be exhausted at the end of the evening, so they won't want to stay late unless their friends like to party late.
I have been to 4 weddings this summer - 2 local, one in another part of the state and one out of state.
DH and I commented on how odd we thought it was... that all four receptions (which were all quite different) were all 4 hours long....
That is probably the amount of time they contracted the music. Maybe they all had the same DJ :)
Thank you all SO much for the feedback.
I was trying to figure out how long to book the DJ for.
I guess I'll go with approx. four hours.
I have been lurking here for awhile. I normally "hang out" in the Kitchen Table and Florida gardening forums.
I was a DJ specializing in weddings for over 20 years so I may be able to offer some suggestions.
How long you book the music for can depend on the type of reception, number of guests and also the "partying level" of your guests
The "standard" 4 hour wedding I use to DJ in NJ would generaly break down as follows
bridal party intro
That leaves 2 hours for dancing , cutting the cake and throwing the bouquet
If you think your family and friends are big dancers you might either consider not having a cocktail hour that will leave another hour for dancing or going with a 5 hour reception.
Hope this helps
P.S. feel free to email me through mypage here if you need any hints or tips :)
Whether or not the wedding includes young children affects how long your guests stay. I think 4 hours is plenty. By 9 or 9:30, people are ready to drive home.
Most DJs allow the option of adding extra time the night of the reception if guests are still partying. If you contract for 4 hours, you can then add more time or bring the reception to an end. If you contract for too much time, however, you may not want to stay till the end.
My daughter was married in May. The ceremony started at 4:30, the last song was played at 10pm. Everything was held in one location. I thought it was a perfect length.
we just atteded a "methodist" wedding (i say this, as i know catholic, with full mass, can be much longer) it started at 4, was over at 4:30. reception started at 6, with dinner at 7. think dd1 (who was bridesmaid )said she and sil were back at the hotel by 11:30.
bride did allow for driving time from church to reception, about 15 minutes. we, as not to get there too early, took the scenic route back, which was thru the state (mi) capitol...really a neat evening. she had plenty of goodies to tide us over till dinner.