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Please help!! Wedding and only 5 hours to do it!?

Ok, so I have a total of 5 hrs to have my wedding- ceremony, cocktails, and reception. I was thinking about putting on the invitations that the ceremony will start at 5pm sharp. Then that will take less than 20min... then have ppl mingle and eat appetizers and cocktails while the wedding party takes pictures. Then at about 6pm have everyone head down to the reception room...grand entrance at 6:20ish- dinner at 6:30-cake 7:30 and start dancing at 7:45-8pm... then we gotta end it at about 9:30ish so we have time to clean up. Clean up will be simple as long as I keep to the simple ideas I already have. It is a BBQ style wedding...not many decorations are needed b/c it is at a historic mansion. Do you think this is enough time? How do I tell guests we need to wrap it up at around 9:30pm? I still want to party after... what should I do? Would it be lame if we got married at the court house and had the whole 4.5-5 hours just for the party? SOOO confused and I am open to ANY suggestions!! Thank you! my sister says the only thing about doing the courthouse wedding is that people are coming to see me get married.... and i did already buy my dress... could i wear it to the party/reception anyway? and it is buffet style with bbq food... more ideas please...and thanks


  1. why do you only have 5 hours? Its still possible it you have it all in the same place. Having a buffet type of meal will be really quick and easy, but usually a normal reception lasts about three hours. Many people choose to take majority of the pictures before the ceremony. ( Like with family and wedding party and stuff) but If the ceremony lasts 30 minutes, I think it's totally possible. Don't put 5 on the invitation, put 4:30 to make sure they are all there. hope I helped a little. Make sure you cut the cake, and throw the bouquet at least an hour before things are over.
  2. Get married at the courthouse the daybefore in the Morning. That afternoon plan everything and set it up.Then next day have everyone come at 5 and have the food served as a buffet as everyone is coming in ( that way if anyone is late u can just leave the buffet out and they can serve themselves). At 6 serve the cake. 7 have your special dance or father daughter if u have ur father. Then at 9 make sure there are pictures taken if not during the whole wedding. 9:30 put slow music on. 9:45 cut the music and let people talk.9:50 pppl should start leaving say goodbyes. On the invites say its from 5 to 9:30 that would only seem like 4.5 hrs but most ppl wont leave intill 10 anyways. Hope that helped! Srry I tried if it didnt! :)
  3. I think your idea of a simple courthouse wedding with 5-10 family members and a wild reception is a good idea. It will save you money and time. It seems your having a outdoorsy type wedding. Why not have it in someones back yard..then there'd be no time limit ya know. and you'd save TONS of money but i think so far your first ideas are great. on your invite you may include reception from whatever to whatever. Another options is not to have a sit down dinner- offer light refreshments and finger foods. small sandwiches, veggies, fruits and commence to cutting the cake. I say think of it this way...all the money your might it for you to have a wedding or is it for your friend and family to have a wedding? If you can save time and money by doing the courthouse and then a reception, Id do it.
  4. We have about 5 hours also. Ceremony is at 11:30. We are doing some of our pics before the ceremony. (Groom won't see me until the ceremony) Ceremony should be over by 11:50-12. Pics with the groom and wedding party until 12:30-12:45 and while that is going on, people will be having appetizers. Our reception will be from 12:30-4. We need to be out of there by 4, so about 3:30 our DJ is announcing the last song and letting people know when they need to leave. (In a nice way of course) Your DJ should announce to the group when things are wrapping up. If you don't have a DJ, then designate someone to tell the group that things are wrapping up. And then we are going out with some of the younger crowd to party later that night. No one says you can't bring the party somewhere else :) I hope that helped! (and made sense lol)
  5. Here is the traditional timeline for a 5-hour reception Now . . . if one only has 5 hours total for ceremony, photos, AND reception, then one must cut back on the reception. One could opt to eliminate the band, the dancing. or . . . One could opt to serve heavy hors d'oeuvres, instead of an entire meal. The shortest receptions serve only cake and punch. So you take your cake and punch, adding on to your reception from there . . . until you reach a timeline that works for you personally. And remember . . . Things always take longer than expected. Someone will always be a couple of minutes late or there is some delay in getting things organized. You don't want to feel rushed, and you don't want the guests to feel rushed. My personal opinion? You either need to purchase additional time . . . or you need to cut back some way on the reception. Good luck.
  6. It should be what you want to do.If you want time to party I would personally get married at the court house and then arrive in my dress.People don't always show up to the wedding and when they do they spend half the time talking about what other people are wearing while your exchanging vows. lol..Not to mention if you get married in the mansion your rushing your guests and that's not fair to them or you.Just let them know your on a tight schedule and make sure you stress in the invitation that everything will be starting promptly and to please respect that.Congrats