@KAT2015 ok I like your timeline. However; and I sware I'm not being a jerk just think about mexico mid day sun or even if it wasn't Mexico having ceremony begin at 3 and dancing not start until 8pm, 5 hours later? And then the nearly 4 hours after ceremony ends assuming ceremony is not more than 30 minutes before guests have a place to sit down and eat?
By all means it's your day and what is important to you should def be the most key factor but recently, last week actually, I was a guest at a wedding that I only had to travel 3 hours to and it started at 5:30 dancing didn't start until 9:30, 4 hours later. I wanted to die.
You can totally tell me you hate my comment and I'll understand but I just thought id share my experiences.
I know it seems long. But keep in mind that the cocktail hour (which includes snacks) is right after the wedding, so that takes us to about 5pm. Some of my guests are bringing kids, and we wanted to give them time to get them out of the sun, have a nap, clean them up etc. We also didn't want to rush through our photos.
In truth - at most resorts you eat your lunch at noon or 1, lie on the beach until 4 or 5, go to your room, clean up, get dressed and have dinner around 7 or 8. So we are still keeping in normal timelines for people's eating and we will have snacks at the cocktail hour.
I had a wedding I went to that had an hour or so between the cocktail hour and the dinner (actually probably closer to 2 - I was drinking and didn't notice!) and it worked well. If people want, they can head off to the pool bar, or go back to their rooms for a drink and to cool off.
I don't find it is much different than a wedding at home would be. I am going to one in 2 weeks that has the ceremony at 2, and then cocktails at 5, dinner at 6 and dancing probably won't start until 7/8 depending on the speeches and formalities. Most weddings I have gone to have had a break and I like that. Otherwise its a long day in heels.
I want to enjoy all parts of my day, including participating in the cocktail hour with my guests (because they won't really seem me all day until then), and making sure I have time for photos (we're flying in a photographer so we want to do all our pics - family, friends etc.) and then making the reception on time because we ONLY can do from 7-10 (the area is only available from 7-10 as it is pool side).
I just hate feeling rushed, and I know my mum, my MIL/FIL, and anyone with kids is going to want to head inside to relax before the rest of the festivities get going! Since everyone has a room they can actually relax instead of run in and out of.
Although we are debating some type of activity to fill that 2 hour void for people - a game of some sort for example. Something optional where people aren't forced to be at point a, b, c, and d one after another.
But you're right - its personal preference and I completely understand what others want to do as well.