Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Questionable Wednesdays: Time Between Ceremony and Cocktails

Every Wednesday, I will try to shed some light on a Question that I find floating around the wedding'sphere.

Question: "My ceremony will be starting at 2:00PM. It will probably last an hour and a half...The reception site is at a resort, 15 minutes away. Most of the guest live in the city. Cocktail reception starts at 6:30 PM. I feel bad that the guests have to wait 3 hours before the festivities begin. What do you do as a guest who has had to wait long in between? What should I do to help relieve guests of that down time??"

Answer: The most common debate is regarding the wedding day timeline! How to time between the ceremony end and the reception begins is very important not only for your guests but for your vendors. This question is obviously avoided if your ceremony and reception at the same site. But if you are having the ceremony in a different place to the reception, you need to factor in a couple elements:

Firstly, if the place where your ceremony is taking place has time restrictions on wedding ceremonies, you need to adhere to them. Most Catholic churches for instance won't allow weddings to begin after 2PM. If you are having a black tie evening, its probably not going to begin at 3 or 3:30PM right as the ceremony concludes.

Secondly, driving time. Please remember to factor in the amount of time it will take guests to get from either the ceremony site or their hotel {depending on what you want them to do during their down time} to the reception area. Also be sure to provide very clear directions especially for those who aren't familiar with the area.

Obviously, if you have a few hours between ceremony and reception, for the bridal party, this is the best time to go and take some amazing photo's. For the guest, you're all dressed up with basically no where to go! I would suggest including some sort of tour {self guided or bus with guide} of the area, particularly if there are some great things to see in your area, you could create a map with history bites for guests to follow. Otherwise, I find that most guests will either go back to the hotel to relax or they will begin celebrating without you in a local watering hole.

While its definitely an issue regarding timing, don't let it be a huge cause of stress in your wedding planning. Your guests are there to celebrate with you, not cause anxiety!

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