Outdoor/Indoor Wedding Timeline

I am trying to plan the timeline for my wedding. The ceremony and reception are at the same location, The Red Barn in Amherst, MA.

The dinner will be buffet-style and under a tent while the dancing will be within the barn.

The cocktail hour can be on the back deck (in betw. the barn and the tent) and maybe in the barn, but the caterers will likely be setting up the buffet tables in the barn as there won’t be room under the tent due to size constraints.

Here is my tentative timeline that I came up with:

4:00-5:00 -> Ceremony
4:30 -> Receiving line
5:00-6:00 -> Cocktails / Photos — caterers / bar should be ready/open by 4:45
5:45 -> Start seating
6:00-7:30 -> Dinner
Since it’s a buffet dinner, we will have a waiter appointed to tell tables when to go up for their food so there isn’t too much chaos or long lines
6:00 -> Intros
6:45 -> Toast
After all tables have gone up for their food
7:15 -> Cake Cutting
7:30 – 12:00 -> Dancing
11:30 -> alcohol service ends

I am curious if this is too long and if the timings seem correct. I feel like a lot of weddings there is never enough dancing time. With this, the guests can stay as long as they like without feeling like there wasn’t a lot of party time after dinner.

Would it make more sense to have the cake cutting in the barn, as we are planning on having the dance floor and table and chairs in the barn for sitting?

How do you transition guests into the barn for the first dance?

Any other suggestions would be much appreciated!

Nancy Tucker

Your timeline as shown should work well. The first dance wasn’t mentioned in your timeline but following the cake cutting an announcement should be made to join the new Mr. and Mrs. in the Barn for their first dance. This will need to be someone with a strong voice…your catering lead will probably do this for you if you don’t have a wedding coordinator. The caterer will also most likely prefer that you serve the cake in the same place where the dinner is served. You are right, in most cases the dancing time allotment is limited.