Because there won't be a break in the festivities between the exchange of vows and the beginning of cocktail hour if you plan to have both the ceremony and the reception at the same location, you will be doing a wonderful thing for your guests. The transition from one to the other will be smooth. If, however, this is not the situation that applies to you, continue reading for some suggestions concerning longer breaks and the comfort of guests. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
The planning of the timeline for your wedding day may feel like a chore, but you can be sure that each minute of the timetable on that spreadsheet is critical. That scrap of paper plays a more significant role than simply ensuring that your suppliers are aware of where they should be and when they should be there. It is your opportunity to plan the day in such a way that all of the specifics that have been running through your head can be incorporated into it without dampening the celebratory mood.
One of the most challenging windows of opportunity on that schedule? The time period separating the ceremony from the reception. It's possible that the length of time between "I do" and dinner will make your Big Day feel less special than it should. When breaks are too short, guests may feel rushed while trying to locate the reception or enjoy a sip of your signature drink during cocktail hour, whereas when breaks are too long, guests are left looking for something to do during the lull in the event.
If the wedding is in the late afternoon and the reception is in the evening, try to keep the break to an hour or 90 minutes at the most. This will leave you with plenty of time to take pictures while your guests move on to the next location or nibble on the hors d'oeuvres that have been set out for the cocktail hour. If you and your new husband want to eat privately before making the rounds at your reception, it should still be possible for the two of you to have some time to yourselves for a bite to eat if you want to take advantage of this opportunity.
However, if you choose to have your wedding at a place of worship, you might not have as much control over the time slot allocated for the ceremony. Planning is essential to ensure that your guests have a pleasant experience if you want to hold a celebration in the evening even if your service is held earlier in the day. If the delay is going to be for more than a few hours, you need to make sure that your guests are aware of the situation well in advance. Include a reception card with your invitation to let your loved ones know to plan on staying for a longer period of time.
To assist your guests in passing the time while they are waiting for the wedding to begin, it is a good idea to include in either a welcome letter or on your wedding website a list of local restaurants and activities. Your guests should arrive at the party with plenty of energy to celebrate your Big Day as long as they are able to make plans for how they would like to spend their time off as long as you give them enough notice.
A break of 60 to 90 minutes is fine.
If the reception will be held at a different location in the city than the ceremony, it is acceptable to leave an hour between the conclusion of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception. This will allow everyone to make their way to the new location at their own pace, or they can use the time to take a short break at home or in their hotel room. In the event that the event lasts any longer than necessary, guests will become restless; however, this is something that cannot be avoided in certain circumstances (such as when you are hosting a church ceremony that can only take place at noon).
Provide ideas and activities if a long break is inevitable.
Think about what your customers will do if there is a delay of several hours. Perhaps it occurred to you while you were attending the wedding of a friend. Your residence was located a three-hour drive away from the wedding location. You made it in on time for the ceremony that was to begin at three in the afternoon. After it was over, you looked at the clock and saw that it was 3:25. You took a look at the invitation, which stated that the cocktail hour wouldn't begin until 7:00 p.m.
What exactly are you supposed to do when you find yourself in an unfamiliar town with a number of hours to kill? Think about hiring a bus so that you can take your guests sight-seeing around town (or even to a nearby town). Or, you could compile a list of entertaining pursuits that people can engage in while dressed up (visiting an aquarium rather than renting dirt bikes). At Wild Romantic Photography, we have the best Melbourne wedding photographer to take memorable photos on your wedding day.
Ask local loved ones for help.
Ask any of your invitees who live in the area if they would be willing to host an informal get-together after the ceremony and before the reception, so that people who travelled from out of town will have somewhere to go after the ceremony and before the reception. It would be ideal if you provided some light snacks and beverages; anything more than that would compete with the reception.
Things To Consider When It Comes To The Gap Between Wedding Events
The planning of a wedding is a lot of work, and it takes a lot of effort to create a schedule that will run smoothly on the big day. The start time of your ceremony and the reception are the two times that are most important for your guests. The remaining parts of your schedule will typically revolve around these primary activities. The question is, how long of a break should there be between the ceremony and the reception? When it comes to the time in between wedding events, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
Imagine that you have chosen to hold both the ceremony and the reception at the same location. When this occurs, couples typically host the entertainment for the cocktail hour immediately between the events so that their guests do not have to travel from place to place. A cocktail hour typically lasts for sixty minutes, with a maximum length of ninety minutes.
This allows plenty of time for the wedding party to take photos, as well as for guests to top off their drinks and nibble on some finger foods. Think of some additional activities for the wedding cocktail hour that the guests can participate in to keep them entertained and get them excited about the reception.
On the other hand, if you're planning to get married at a place of worship, the available time slots are likely to be limited and will take place during the daytime. If your wedding reception is scheduled for the evening, this means that you will need to plan a bit more strategically if you want everything to go smoothly. In the event that this describes your situation and you plan to host your reception at a different location in the area, there are a few things that you will need to give some thought to.
Distance Between Venues
To begin, you will need to ensure that there is sufficient time for guests to travel between the different locations. In the event that you are getting married in a church that is located in your hometown, but you have rented a reception location that is 45 minutes outside of town, you will need to account for travel time in your schedule. When there is not enough time between the ceremony and the reception, the guests may feel rushed, and when there is too much time, they may become bored and aimless.
Within the time frame of an hour to an hour and a half, guests should be able to make their way from the location of the ceremony to the location of the reception in a comfortable manner. For instance, if your wedding ceremony concludes at 3:30 p.m., but it takes 30 minutes to drive to your reception venue, and if your cocktail hour begins at 5 p.m., the most time that guests will have on their hands is an hour gap between the two events.
Of course, not all venues will permit such ideal timing, so, in situations where hours-long breaks in between ceremony and reception are inevitable, you need to get creative. We have the best wedding photographer in Yarra Valley to capture your beautiful moments on your wedding day.
Keeping Guests Entertained
If there is going to be a gap of several hours between the wedding ceremony and the cocktail hour that kicks off the reception, it is imperative that you provide your guests with a list of activities that they can participate in during that time, particularly if they are travelling in from outside the area. Guests need to have somewhere to go or something to do during the break between the ceremony and the reception, for example, if the ceremony is over at 2:00 p.m. but the reception doesn't begin until 6:00 p.m.
Make sure that your guests have something to do by providing them with a map or guide that includes things to do in the area, such as restaurants, local shops, sightseeing (provided that it won't get their wedding attire dirty), or even organising a short tour if it is at all possible. Make sure your guests are aware of the activities they can participate in ahead of time by including this information on your wedding website.
When attending a wedding at a destination, guests may be permitted to return to their accommodations in order to freshen up in between the various ceremonies and events. In the wedding welcome bags, you might also want to include a map of the area as well as some suggestions for local points of interest.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you don't want your guests to be bored to the point where they go to a nearby bar for a drink or eat a full meal before your reception. You don't want this to happen. The time between the ceremony and the reception should be kept to a minimum in order to prevent anyone from getting too drunk before the official party begins.
Host a Pre-Reception Gathering
Imagine that you are overly concerned about the length of time that will pass between the ceremony and the reception. In that case, you might want to think about asking a member of your family or a close friend for some assistance in hosting a small pre-reception gathering for your guests. For instance, if all of the guests are staying at the same hotel, you could throw a "pre-party party" in the lobby bar or outdoor garden of the hotel as a fun way for people to socialise and keep their minds on the upcoming wedding.
Consider, alternatively, that the location of your ceremony has room for guests to congregate. In that case, you might also want to arrange some snack tables for people to congregate around prior to moving on to the area designated for the reception. Your wedding photographer should take advantage of this opportunity to get some great shots of the entire wedding party while everyone is still together and looking their best.
You want the transition from the ceremony to the reception to be as smooth as possible and feel completely natural on your wedding day. However, it is essential to keep in mind that whether you have one hour or three hours between events, as long as you have a good plan, activities for your guests, and a positive attitude, people will be excited to celebrate with you for the entirety of the night no matter how long you have between events.
How to Make the Gap Between Your Ceremony and Reception Work for You
You are already aware of how important timing is on the day of your wedding. It ensures that everyone stays on schedule, maintains a high energy level, and helps ensure that you are able to cram in every last moment that you have dreamed of. Even though you may have a very specific idea of when you want everything to take place, you will still need to be flexible, particularly with regard to the timing of your ceremony.
If you have decided to get married in a place of worship, there is a good chance that you will only be able to choose from a limited number of predetermined times for your walk down the aisle. This means that it may not be an hour that is convenient before your cocktail hour is scheduled to begin. But if you find that you have some extra time between saying "I do" and going to the party, don't stress about it! We have some suggestions that will assist you in making the most of the time that you have available.
Inform Your Guests
Make sure that your guests are aware well in advance of whether or not they will have to fend for themselves for a few hours before the start of your reception. Include suggestions for nearby activities and entertainment options (such as lunch spots and your favourite places for a drink!) on a section of your wedding website where guests can find things to do to pass the time, and don't forget to include this information in any welcome information or gifts you give.
You might want to go the traditional route with your invitation and include a reception card. This will help alert your guests to the more drawn-out schedule that you have planned for the event.
What activities should you, your families, and the other people in your wedding party participate in while you are waiting? Capture some images! Take advantage of this time to learn more about the location you've selected for your wedding and to take photographs that are uniquely representative of the setting. Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
Make the most of the time before the reception to have your hair and makeup touched up, and this is especially important if you are getting married in the summer. You'll want to make sure that when you walk into the cocktail hour that you look just as fabulous as you did when you were walking down the aisle.
Have Some Alone Time
Another fantastic way to fill in that space, how about that? Spend some quality time with your new partner in an intimate setting. Take some time to relax and enjoy the post-wedding glow in your honeymoon suite by arranging for your hotel to deliver a delectable lunch (complete with champagne, of course) to you there.
Better yet? You should ask your maid of honour or wedding planner to assist you in removing your wedding dress so that you can change into some leggings and a button-down shirt (without ruining your hair or makeup) and enjoy your first meal as a married couple in comfort.
Feed Your Loved Ones
Make sure that your wedding party is fed during the break, either with you and your partner or as a group, while the two of you sneak off to have some alone time together before the ceremony. When the cocktail hour starts, the last thing you want is for them to be starving because that will make your life a living hell.
Make the most of the downtime by assisting your guests in making their way to the party, especially if the location of the reception is some distance away. Inform them of the times that the shuttles will be leaving or how to get a designated car service like Uber, and then make sure that the cocktail hour is ready to begin as soon as they walk through the door.
Greet Your Guests
If you schedule your reception for a few hours after the ceremony, you'll be able to arrive at the cocktail hour before the rest of the guests do, which is another advantage of this arrangement. If you intend to have a receiving line, set it up on the path leading into the area reserved for the cocktail hour.
This will allow you and your guests to exchange pleasantries as you enter the space, after which they will be able to get a drink. If you have time to take photos and do touch-ups before the reception begins, you will be able to attend the majority of your cocktail hour, which will give you the freedom to mingle with whoever and however you please during that time. This is true even if you plan to keep things casual.
Timing of the wedding ceremony and reception
You have sent out your invitations, and the people who accepted them have come through for you. Planning will consume a significant portion of your time over the next few weeks and months. The manner in which you fill the time in between the ceremony and the reception is one of the more important decisions that you will have to make. You are planning the wedding of your dreams, and you don't want to miss out on any of the special moments that will take place on your big day. Worry no more. Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
The wedding ceremony can be held separately from the reception, which is one of those plans that can either turn out wonderfully or horribly, depending on how it is managed. Because of the high risk involved, only a small percentage of married couples opt to have this procedure done. However, there is no hard-and-fast rule in etiquette that states you have to hold your reception immediately after the ceremony.
The same principle that applies to planning a successful wedding reception also applies here: the comfort of your guests should come first. It is imperative that you steer clear of the Crap Days listed below and give some thought to the Winning Weddings and Awesome Alternatives instead.
Disaster One: Right Party, Wrong Time
The guests anticipate going directly from the location of the ceremony to the location of the reception, with perhaps a brief pause for shaking hands and taking photographs. If you don't include the time of the reception on the invitation card, your guests will likely assume that it starts as soon as they arrive. They will make a beeline for the location of the reception, only to discover that the doors are locked or to hear someone say, "No, that wedding isn't until six!" That is not the way to make someone feel like they have arrived!
It's one of the few times when I'd recommend shelling out a few extra bucks for separate reception cards, and this is one of those times. The separate card provides you with more room for noting times and locations, and the fact that it is distinct from the other card further emphasises the point that the reception is separate from the ceremony. If you are adamant about including information about the reception on the ceremony invitation, make sure to write "Reception at six in the evening" rather than "Reception follows." This will give you more room to include all of the relevant details.
Disaster Two: Bored, Bewildered and Bushwhacked
It is the worst case scenario for every guest to be stranded in a rural area for six hours on a day when the temperature reaches one hundred degrees, while wearing their best clothes, with no lunch options other than Dairy Queen or the nearby truck stop, and with nothing to do after lunch other than stare into space and swot flies.
Between the conclusion of the ceremony and the start of the reception, these guests will continue to be your guests, and it is your responsibility to ensure that they have a good chance of being fed, made comfortable, and entertained during this time. This is something that can be accomplished much more quickly and easily in a city of a decent size as opposed to a teeny-tiny village.
Give your out-of-town guests the information they require in order for them to have something to do during the break between the ceremony and the reception so that they do not become aggravated. This includes a map of the surrounding area, as well as a list of restaurants with a range of price points, as well as attractions and shopping opportunities.
Free nifty packets are frequently available to obtain from the local Chamber of Commerce or Tourist Bureau. These packets are typically of a small size. Send the box to out-of-town guests who have accepted your invitation in a separate mailing rather than wasting postage on sending it with each invitation. This will keep your costs down.
Disaster Three: Bride in Bondage
The process of putting on and taking off formal wedding dresses is not always a walk in the park; elaborate updos with veils cannot be taken down without destroying the hairdo. What should the bride do if she is unable to remove her dress during the inevitable lull that will occur between the taking of the last formal photographs (it is impossible to fill six hours with photography!)? Hold your breath and scratch your head? Not very entertaining!
If you choose to have the reception later in the day, the bride should consider having her hair done in a way that is more adaptable and will last throughout the day, as well as how she will get into and out of the dress. A half day after getting dressed for the ceremony, bridesmaids and male attendants may also require assistance in planning how to appear fresh and unwrinkled in their attire. You might also want to have a theme reception that requires guests to dress more casually.
Disaster Four: Harumph Time!
The traditional guidelines for what men should wear to formal events in the morning and evening are distinct from one another. Morning suits are required for events that begin before six in the morning, while tuxedos or "white tie and tails" are required for evening events. It is highly unlikely that the groomsmen will approve of your decision to rent two sets of formal attire; therefore, which rule do you intend to break? If everyone in your social circle wears tuxedos for daytime weddings, then you don't have a problem; however, if the old rules are still followed, then you might want to start thinking about that casual reception again!
Disaster Five: Photo Fed Up
The fee that will be required to keep a photographer on call from ten in the morning (for pre-game coverage of the bride dressing) until twelve in the morning (when the dancing comes to an end) will be close to unimaginably high. Also, there is no guarantee that you will receive a discount if you send the photographer home between the hours of 1 and 6 p.m. In the time allotted for your wedding, he or she could easily shoot two other couples' nuptials. Will you forego getting photos taken at the reception events, or are you prepared to spend a lot of money to get complete coverage?
Disaster Six: Party Pooped
The excitement of the ceremony has died down during the wait of six hours... The guests have kept themselves occupied throughout the entire afternoon... The reception will begin in just a moment... And it's really just a formal dinner that would have been just as successful if it had been held for lunch instead. The guests yawn, eat, and leave before the scheduled time because they are exhausted, bored, and out of energy.
There needs to be a compelling reason for the gap between the wedding and the reception, such as dancing, if the reception is going to be held much later in the day than the wedding.
Winner One: Dance Fever
One of the most compelling arguments in favour of holding a later reception is so that there can be more lively dancing. It is possible to have dancing during an afternoon reception; however, it will be more challenging to inspire enough enthusiasm to keep the dance floor full.
You might want to mention dancing in the invitation since the majority of women's formal daytime dresses are not designed to withstand vigourous dancing. I suggest something like:
- Host's names
- request the pleasure of your company
- for dinner and dancing
- at six in the evening
- location of reception
Winner Two: Living Large
Is it possible for you to provide a special treat for your guests during the time in between events even if you are unable to do so in person? If you are in an area that sees a lot of business travellers but not many tourists, it is possible to find reasonably priced luxury hotels that still offer amenities such as swimming pools, spas, and shuttle service to local points of interest.
A great list of activities that your particular guests are likely to enjoy, such as a foreign film festival for your artsy friends from college, can also be of assistance in hosting a successful party. It is possible to make arrangements for group rates and even, on occasion, receive complimentary tickets at no cost.
Alternative One: Elegant Luncheon
Almost anything that can be done during dinnertime can also be done during lunchtime, including dancing. At the conclusion of the ceremony, it is in everyone's best interest to move as quickly as possible on to the reception so as to make the most of the celebratory mood that has descended upon your guests. The wedding will be over in plenty of time for lunch even if it is scheduled for 11 in the morning.
Two significant benefits can be gained from hosting a luncheon reception. To begin, lunch typically comes in at a lower cost than dinner does. Second, the wedding reception will end before you and your new spouse are too worn out to enjoy the rest of the evening together, which will allow you to spend more quality time with one another on your first night as a married couple.
The obvious concern is how you will manage to take pictures throughout the day without appearing to ignore your guests. Take as many pictures as you can before the ceremony, but if you don't want to "see" each other, make sure to take them separately. After the ceremony, you should only pose for a limited number of pictures together as a married couple. Your post-ceremony images will take about twenty minutes to complete if you plan this step out carefully.
Alternative Two: Evening Ceremony
Why not have the ceremony in the late afternoon instead? It is true that many churches do not hold ceremonies on Saturday afternoons because they conflict with other events; however, you should verify that this is the case with your particular church. It's a common misconception that weddings in the Roman Catholic religion have to take place before noon... But our church only hosts weddings at 1 and 5 in the afternoon!
If you do not intend to get married in a religious building, then there are many advantages to having the ceremony performed at the location where the reception will take place. The vast majority of well-liked locations for receptions also offer an easy way to set up for ceremonies.
There is no need to rush around in the early morning hours if your ceremony is in the evening because you have the entire day to get ready for it. Even if you have your heart set on having your formal photographs taken in a park, you can still take those photographs in the afternoon light prior to the ceremony. (You will, in fact, "see" one another. Many couples do.) If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
If you are looking for models of successful "split" ceremonies and receptions, we wish you the best of luck in your search. This route is taken by a very small percentage of married couples, which may serve as an appropriate warning of the dangers.