The amount of time between “I do” and dinner could accidently put a damper on your Big Day.

Cavin Elizabeth Photography

Planning your wedding day timeline may feel tedious, but you better believe every minute in that spreadsheet is important. That piece of paper plays a larger role than just ensuring your vendors know where to be and when. It’s your chance to orchestrate the day in a way that fits in every little detail you’ve dreamed of while keeping celebratory spirits high.

One of the trickiest timeframes on that schedule? The gap between the ceremony and reception. The amount of time between “I do” and dinner could accidently put a damper on your Big Day. Gaps that are too long leave guests looking for something to do while breaks that are too short may rush guests when trying to find the reception or sip your signature drink during cocktail hour. 

For late afternoon weddings with an evening reception, try to keep the break at an hour to 90 minutes. This will give you plenty of time for pictures while your guests make their way to a secondary venue or graze the cocktail hour hors d'oeuvres. It should also still allow you and your brand new hubby a moment alone for a quick bite if you’re looking to enjoy your meal privately before making the rounds at your reception.

WATCH: Southern Wedding Etiquette You Need To Know Before The Big Day

However, if your nuptials are at a house of worship, you may not have as much control over your ceremony time slot. If your service is earlier in the day, but you’re still eager for an evening celebration, planning ahead is crucial for your guest experience. If your delay is more than a few hours, make sure your guests are well aware of the gap in advance. Include a reception card with your invitation to inform your loved ones of a more drawn out schedule. It can also be helpful to include a list of local restaurants or activities on your wedding website or welcome letter to help guests pass the time. As long as your guests are able to plan how they’d like to spend their time off, they should show up to the party with plenty of energy to celebrate your Big Day.