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How Long Should Our Wedding Be? 5 Things to Consider

Of course, you want the perfect wedding day to never end! But it will... They all do. :-(

With all that fun planned, it's tempting to take the venue up on that "all day 'till midnight" offer, or the DJ who promised "unlimited coverage"... So why WOULDN'T you want the party to keep going? Welp, maybe you do, but remember, you're throwing a party for your guests to enjoy. It's important to consider things from your guests perspective!

The following are 5 things to consider, as to why it may be best, to make extending the party a "game-time" decision.

1. How far is your ceremony and/or reception venue from most of your guests' homes or hotels?

I'm sure you already considered this when you reserved your date, but it's important to remember, the further the guest, and the older the guest, the earlier they're likely to leave.

2. Think of your ceremony as being at least 1 hour, no matter what.

Even if you have a short & sweet 20 minute ceremony planned, your guests will begin arriving at least 30 minutes prior to that. Your grandparents, even earlier! Also, your ceremony will probably start late, sorry. In my experience, handling sound for literally hundreds of ceremonies, probably 10% of them start right on time. No biggie, don't stress- savor the moment!

3. Most US wedding receptions are either 4 or 5 hours.

This usually breaks down to: 1hr/Cocktail Hour, 1hr/Dinner, 2-3hrs/Dancing Fun & Other Formalities. This matters because it’s customary, and it’s what most guests expect and plan for. If you want tips on planning a timeline that keeps your guests engaged and not bored, read our blog post about Planning Your Wedding Timeline!

4. Dancing for more than 3 hours borders on exercise, not fun.

I LOVE people who dance, so rest assured this isn’t MY rule. I think it’s a law of nature, surely written in a reference book somewhere.

5. Do you want your reception to fizzle out, or end with a BANG!

Adding an extra hour or two (or more) AHEAD OF TIME, is tempting fate. Your guests will remember the last feeling they experienced, and an otherwise GREAT wedding that ends slowly and painfully, is remembered for all the wrong reasons. Instead, I suggest you make it a “game-time” decision whether or not to extend an extra 30-60 minutes. Let all of your pertinent wedding vendors know that you may want to extend, and get their rates for that. Many will require payment on the spot, so plan ahead for that scenario.

I hope this post helps. The last thing I want to do is make anyone feel like their wedding will fizzle. If you know what to consider going in, you can plan accordingly.

Good luck with your wedding planning, please be sure to read our Blog-Post on Planning Your Wedding Timeline!

Best, Kirk R.,

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