New York New York
In my years as a DJ, I have learned that a bride-to-be is usually correct in her prediction about how long guests will stay at her reception. Some brides tell me, "You will have to kick us out at the end." While others say, "It probably won't last the entire time." Some people just aren't partiers.
In my never-ending quest to offer every bride in Atlanta every option in the world, to help customize her wedding day, you may enjoy a true "New York style" wedding reception. The way the New Yorkers do it, is to introduce the couple into the room and have the first dance. Following the first dance, there is a toast. Then the guests dance for about 45 minutes and then salad is served. After the first few people finish the salad, the music changes and guests dance for about 45 more minutes and then the entrée is served. After the first few people finish the entrée, the dance music starts again until time to cut the cake. I have also seen an appetizer course as well as a dessert course added, to make the dinner last pretty much the entire reception.
With this schedule of events you dance in 45-minute increments and eat in 30-minute increments and the significant events get divided up quite nicely. So if you think you may have guests that will tend to bail out on you, the New York style may schedule things in a way to happily keep all of your guests at your reception until the end.
You could easily have a 9:00pm cake cutting with a 6:00pm to 10:00 wedding reception and have the garter and bouquet toss immediately following the cake cutting. Now who would leave before that?
It is VERY important to hire a qualified wedding planner, professional DJ or band leader to orchestrate this type of wedding because there is quite a bit going on. So please don't plan this type of reception without planning very carefully with the person that will be the emcee for the night to make sure he or she can pull it off.
I am offering this suggestion in place of a buffet for the first hour and delaying the cake cutting until the final hour of a reception, because this usually will yield you about 30lbs of cake left to take home and I know you don't want that!
Best of Luck!
Ted Crowder Atlanta DJ