You have so much to plan for your wedding day. However, in addition to hiring a florist and photographer, it’s important to consider your attendees. If you haven’t started to think about it, we have! Here are 8 of the best ways to entertain guests between the wedding and reception.
Don’t forget to plan ways to entertain guests during down times.
You’ve said your “I do’s” at the beautiful wedding ceremony of your dreams, and now it’s time to prepare for your reception. If you need time to take pictures, set up, or just have some downtime before your reception starts, you may want to devise a plan for your guests.
Having people stand around for hours waiting to move to the reception is boring and can lose some of the momentum you’ve been building. Need a solution? Here are eight great ideas for things your guests can do between the ceremony and reception.
8 Ways to Entertain Guests Before the Reception
1. Schedule a cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception.
The most popular way to fill the time is with a cocktail hour. And it remains one of the most classic ways to entertain guests. So what do you do during a wedding cocktail hour? Serve light refreshments and open the bar or have a signature cocktail.
Having appetizers and drinks will allow your guests to mingle and get to know one another before they move to your reception.
2. Let guests enter the wedding reception venue.
If you are getting married in a beautiful manor or botanical garden, why not let your guests explore the wedding venue while you wait?
They can walk around and see the sights or explore what the area offers while they wait for you to move forward to the reception. You’re already paying for the reception hall, and this is a great way to make better use of it.
3. Schedule an activity to entertain wedding guests.
Know you will have hours of downtime before your reception begins? Plan a fun game or activity for your guests to enjoy. Book a few lanes at a local bowling alley or give them vouchers for games to play independently.
You could have a game card for the local arcade or tickets to a local attraction, such as a museum or garden.
4. Plan a walking tour of your town to pass the time for wedding guests.
Are you planning to get married in a larger city or a place with a lot to see and do? Why not offer a walking tour or riding tour for your guests? Hire tour guides to let them see the sights and have them end right at the reception.
This is also a nice way to transport folks between venues if they are at different locations. Just be sure to have wedding transportation on the way back! Also, if you plan an outdoor walking tour, have a rain plan in case of inclement weather.
Doing a tour is a great activity if you’re having a destination wedding, too.
5. Let your band or DJ play tunes to pass the time between the wedding and reception.
Who says you can’t go to a concert and a wedding on the same day!? If you’re hiring a live band, have them perform for your guests. They can play their set or classics and perform for your guests at the venue.
Of course, a wedding DJ can always get the party started by starting playing familiar tunes before everyone gets bored.
6. Go to someone’s home between events.
If you don’t have a place available at the reception or the venue until the reception starts, invite people back to the hotel or someone’s home to spend some time together.
Guests can chat over light refreshments or just hang out together. This is a great option if someone in your family or friend group has a larger place or a bit of land perfect for socilaizing.
7. Head to a local bar or restaurant for hors d’oeuvres.
If you need a place between the wedding and reception, offer to spend time with your guests at a nearby bar. There are plenty of swanky bars that are a little more upscale and where your guests will fit right in.
If you’re having photos taken in between, you can always have a tab at a bar or restaurant and allow your guests to order what they’d like. However, it’s probably a good idea to have a maximum amount or set menu so that folks don’t overspend or get too full.
8. Start the wedding reception dancing earlier.
If you have a party crowd, why not tailor to them by giving them extra time to dance? Get a lot of the group dancing out of the way earlier so they can work up an appetite when the meal is finally ready.
Dancing — either participating or watching — is a superb way to pass time. It may be one of the best ways to entertain guests!
Save our ways to entertain guests after the ceremony.
There are so many ways to fill an awkward gap of time between the wedding and the reception. You can easily fill that time with these easy ideas without an issue.
MaureenThese are great ways to entertain guests between the ceremony and reception. We had cocktail hour and allowed the guests to go to the venue early so that they can view it, just take pictures or just relax. It worked out great because our pictures took awhile but no one had seemed to complain!
Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com
HeatherSo many great ideas! We didn’t have a traditional wedding, so we didn’t need to worry about this part, thankfully.
BethI like the idea of heading to a local bar or restaurant. We have a few favorite places in my hometown to visit.
Melanie williamsThere are some really sound and sensible options here for sure. I must admitg I do like the sound of a pre-drink cocktail before the ceremony xx
MarysaThese are all very thoughtful ideas for guests. I have sat at a wedding for hours with nothing to do in between the wedding and reception. I totally understand leaving time for pictures and other things, but it was clear the bride and groom were totally disorganized!
Ntensibe EdgarHhhhmmm…I like the idea of engaging the wedding guests in some activity that will get their bodies stretching….like woodball! I would probably have to alert them not to show too smart for that part, huh?
OlgaI like these ideas. 8 years ago at our wedding we made this mistake, the guests were kinda lonely for 1,5 hours. I wish I were smarter that time.
MayHaving a band play while they wait in between is common around here. We’ve played at many weddings before. But I think the cocktail hour and soft jazz music is the classier way to go. Wish we’ve done that!
Sonia SeivwrightWow, you are helping me plan my wedding. My family will be the first on the dancefloor that’s for sure.
ClaudiaGreat ideas here to keep guests happy and occupied between parties. I love the idea of hitting local restaurants.
AmberThese are some great ideas. I have been to weddings where they seem to have forgotten that the guests are waiting during that in between time.
Neely MoldovanWe had a fun cocktail hour with music, drinks, and apps! It was so fun!