After the Wedding and before the Reception

Many brides and grooms have their photos taken after the wedding ceremony. The bridal party is more relaxed than before the wedding, and all the guests that need to be in the family photos are present.

But what about the guests who are going directly from the wedding site to the reception?  What do they do while your photos are being finished?

If you are going to be more than 20 minutes behind your guests (and you probably will be) you need to plan out what you want for them.  Will you be providing alcohol as soon as they arrive?  Will appetizers be served? Few things can turn a reception into a disaster faster than an open bar, no food, and a long wait for the bride and groom.

If the bar is open as your guests arrive, you should plan on serving food of some kind right away.  If your wedding is a small one, something as simple as a bread, cheese and fruit buffet set up on a small, pretty table will go a long way toward keeping your guests relaxed and happy while they wait for your arrival.  If your wedding is larger, the food you provide should be more substantial, even if alcohol is not being served. That could mean an expanded finger food buffet, or a fully catered array of hot and cold appetizers served by wandering waiters. What is important is that you don’t leave your guests hungry and waiting for 45 minutes for your arrival.

Make sure that you are in good communication with your caterer or the person in charge of your reception area.  Do you want your guests to be served as soon as they arrive?  Let someone know.  Were you hoping to arrive shortly after your guests, but everything is running long?  Have someone assigned ahead of time to open the buffet line or to tell the caterer to go ahead and start serving. Be sure that the person you select to start things off is not needed for any of the set shots and make sure your caterer knows your wishes ahead of time.