Wednesday, October 15, 2014

planning a cocktail reception timeline

I have previously mentioned that we are planning our wedding with a cocktail reception. Way back in 2007, I attended a family wedding that started later in the evening (after dinner) and I absolutely loved it. First of all, we were out of town guests that were able to travel down the day of (one night hotel costs versus two nights). Secondly, we got to go out for dinner before the wedding, and then show up ready to party celebrate. Not having an entire Saturday dedicated to the wedding is nice. Summers are precious, and once you hit your late 20's you start going to a lot of weddings.

When Mr. Narwhal and I discussed the idea for us a year or so ago, and it became our goal. Whenever we would mention the idea to friends and family they loved the idea.

Planning your timeline is a little difficult when you're going outside the norm. So... I figured it would be helpful to share how we came up with our date and timeline.

signage // Images from My Wedding Reception Ideas // Images by Gina Cristine Photography and One Love Photography 

First, I started with the sunset. Since we're getting married after dinner we wanted to get married as early as possible without forcing people to eat dinner at 3pm. This obviously played a role in our date selection. We originally wanted a September wedding, but September puts us at risk for colder temperatures and earlier sunsets, so we settled on the end of August.

By looking into the sunset and twilight times we were able to plan ahead and pick the perfect date for us. We also factored the moon phase into our date selection. According to the Farmers Almanac full moons are less likely to bring rain (fingers crossed!)

During sunset and civil twilight we'll still be able to see without additional lighting. While the full moon will also help to keep the sky brighter, once the nautical twilight sets in, lights will be necessary and we'll be facing the darkness of the night sky by the end of astro twilight.

On our wedding day the sun will set at 8:01pm and by 9:07 we'll be heading into darker territory.

insert your location and will give you sunset information! // Screenshot
We want our ceremony to be early enough that it is still light out, and still have some light for some quick after ceremony photos, first dances and toasts.

Keeping all of these factors in mind, we have set out our preliminary timeline as follows:

4:00pm: Photographers arrive - Individual wedding party photos
4:30pm: First look photos
5:15pm: Wedding party group photos
5:45pm: Family photos
6:00-6:15pm: Bus pick-up
6:30pm: Guests arrive
7:00pm: Ceremony
7:30pm: Cocktails and Appetizers/Post-Ceremony photos
8:00pm: First dances
8:15pm: Toasts
8:45pm: Fire lighting
9:00pm: Band starts - party begins!
9:45pm: Special toast (more on that later)
10:00pm: Photographers leave
1:00am: Band end time/Last bus

What kinds of things did you factor into your timeline creation?
Do you think we've given ourselves enough time for everything?

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