So your ceremony has concluded, you’ve made your guests cry with happiness at your adorable profession of love and commitment and threw some pretty rose petals 🙂 There’s really nothing left for your guests to do except… hang out and wait for the reception?
There is usually an awkward time in between the ceremony and reception in which you and your guests have finished the most important part of the day and can’t wait for the #2 most important thing – food! From receiving lines to photos to pre-party to having delicious apps and beverages – which do you choose? Can you do it all?
Why this time exists
Generally, the in-between time comes from either:
1. Needing to have the ceremony at a set time or
2. Needing to take pictures after the ceremony
This post might not apply to you if you are doing a first look and having the ceremony immediately before the reception. For all other couples, read on!
What to do with this time: Pros and Cons
Having a receiving line may occur naturally. After the ceremony, some of your guests may not want to stick around for the reception (especially the older folks) so they will come forward for a quick hug and congrats and start a trend for the hundreds or so behind them.
You get a chance to talk to your closest friends/family on your special day
It takes a long time, can be tedious, and your bridal party will have no idea who most of the people are (and vice versa)
Family and Bride/Groom Photos
If you didn’t do a first look, after the ceremony is when you will take ALL of the pics with you together.
Pro: Efficient use of time and tradition
Con: Non-efficient use of time
Bridal Party Hangout
If your photos will be ‘on location’ or you’ll be doing a little pre-partying with your best buds before settling down at an elegant reception, you’ll probably spend time with your bridal party on a party bus!
Pro: An intimate time to hang out with your entourage
Con: While your other guests are patiently waiting your arrival
Your guests can totally snack on food while they… wait for food!
Pro: Happy guests
Con: Potential awkward guest interactions while the bride and groom and party are away, pre-dinner drinking may cause more awkwardness, extra expense
Giving your guests extra travel time between the ceremony and reception may be a smart idea especially if your guests want to spend that time doing a few other things like getting your wedding present! 😉
Pro: Out-of-town guests can explore the city a bit
Con: In town guests have just enough time to become lazy while waiting and/or get a pre-dinner dinner elsewhere.
Whether you are letting your guests explore Omaha (or wherever you will be) or mingle amongst each other, give yourselves plenty of time to do your thing, but not too much! 1.5 hours is the recommended maximum amount of time for a cocktail hour so if you and your party will be traveling, hanging, and taking formal photos you may want to give your guests more freedom and reconvene later for dinner.
Making this in-between time part of your guests’ wedding day experience is key. Keep this time intentional and meaningful! Determine how much time you’ll need and think about what your guests would want to do in the meantime. You know your guests the best!
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