You are planning out the timeline for your wedding day and have no idea how long your reception should last? You would love to dance the night away with your friends and family and not have to put an end time on the reception. I totally get it. I was that same bride ten years ago.
Most venues in Mississippi require you to end your reception by 11:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m. so there’s usually not an option to just not have an end time for your reception. Also, your wedding vendors are not paid to be there “until.”
To figure out how long your reception will last will first be determined by the amount of time you have your band or DJ for. Most DJ’s include 3 hours in their package and most bands include 4 hours. Once you know the amount of time you have the entertainment for then you can set an end time for your reception. With that being said, the majority of the weddings we plan have a 4 to 4.5 hour reception.
If you are having a first look and doing all of your pictures before the ceremony that will allow you to head straight to the reception. When our couples arrive at the reception venue we usually have them eat together in a private room before they are announced and do their first dance. This gives guests time to arrive and get inside the venue before the couple is officially announced. If you are having a band their time would not officially start until they start performing live. So you would need to decide if you wanted them already playing as guests are arriving or if you want their time to start when you arrive and have your first dance.
If you chose to not have the band start playing live until you are announced and go into your first dance this is where the 4.5 hour reception comes into play. The band would play for 4 hours and you would estimate about 30 minutes of time for you to eat together, have your dress bustled, etc. The band would just have background music playing as guests were arriving then would start their 4 hours (this will depend on the band you choose) when you started your first dance.
If you are having a DJ their time will start when the reception begins. Their time wouldn’t start when you had your first dance like it could with a live band. You can always add on additional hours with a DJ (or band for that matter), if you wanted more than a three hour reception.