Post # 1
My fiance and I are having an early Sunday evening wedding ceremony, followed by cake and a champagne toast. Since it is a Sunday evening, we feel that it is likely that people won’t bother to come to the reception after the ceremony or seen it or if they do, they’ll eat and dash.
We would still like to celebrate and eat with our guests so we’re planning on hosting the “reception” before the ceremony.
Has anyone else done this or seen it before? How has this worked? Is there anything special to consider when doing a reverse-order day?
Post # 3
I think if you just have a champagne and cake reception people will stick around for that part! If you were having dinner and dancing I could see people leaving early but not if it is just champagne and cake.
Are you having a big gap between the ceremony and reception? If you are having a large gap I would think that more people may leave before the reception.
I am not sure how I feel about having the reception before the ceremony, only because the reception is to celebrate the new marriage and so you would be celebrating before the marriage actually happened!
Post # 4
My concern would be that the cake and champagne reception would be taking place over the dinner hour. People who would be driving a distance would need to eat and may choose to forgo the reception and just attend the service afterwards. How close is the wedding site and the reception site and what hours are you thinking of?
Post # 5
I don’t think it is a good idea, bc as Maggie Mae said, then wouldn’t the champagne and cake reception be at dinnertime? If your guests have time to eat dinner, before the wedding and then attend the wedding, and then your champagne and cake reception sounds like it would be lovely, and not too late for your guests-especially for a night that people have to work the next day. Are you having your ceremony and reception in the same place? That would definitely help-so that people would not attend the reception. How long did you hope that they would stay for champagne and cake? Will you be cutting the cake to serve it to each other? Are you including music/dancing? The dj that my daughter had did something really fun that I had never seen before, with the bride and groom and shoes, it was VERY fun/funny!! Perhaps you could ask your MOH or Best Man to do that? (It would not be fun if you knew the details, but perhaps they could look it up and do it). What about doing a inexpensive faux-to booth, so that guests would be invested in staying a bit longer? Just some ideas!
Post # 6
Good point. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6PM. We have the site reserved for 6-8PM. The ceremony should be short, i.e. 30 minutes or so. We’re not yet certain of the reception venue, but we’re trying to get one close to the chapel. We can be at there no earlier than 5PM which I’d like do to make sure that everything is just right. The site is beautiful as-is, so no decorations will be necessary. (Thank goodness!)
Part of my dilemma is that if, for example, we host the reception from 1:30-4:30PM, allowing for travel time and an hour for prep at the site, then guests have a 1.5 hour window between reception and ceremony. Is that too long?
Also, what do you think of the amount of time for the reception? Is 2.5-3 hours enough? Too much? What I want is for guests to be at the reception by 2PM so that we can eat by 2:30-3PM.
Around 4-4:30 my fiance and I will ask thank everyone for coming and ask that they meet us for the main event.
We’ll have to word the invitations so that the itinerary is clear and that people know they will be eating “lunch” in the middle of the afternoon and not to expect the ceremony to be the first thing.
Post # 7
What if you do apps and champagne then people will be more likely to stay and you can grett everyone? (afterward)
I worry that if you do something before, then your ceremony, then the champagne and dessert people won’t go to the last part.
Post # 8
Okay, I think perhaps I misunderstood. So, your plan is to have an afternoon luncheon reception, the ceremony and then the cake/champagne. I would just make it clear on your invitations so there is no confusion. Unfortunately, I think you may have some fall out of people not coming to the service after the luncheon reception. Especially, if you have alcohol at the afternoon reception, people may get a little buzzed, leave the reception, then go for dinner and bypass the service. That would be my concern.
Post # 9
Hi! Actually, I disagree with most people–I’ve seen it done before–my husband’s brother got married a few years ago and he and his wife had the reception before the ceremony. The whole thing was in one location–the bride changed in between the reception and ceremony (she had a minimalist kind of dress), with only maybe half an hour between the afternoon meal and the ceremony. After the ceremony, there was dessert.
I would try to keep the timeframe fairly minimal between the reception and ceremony, and yes, wording it carefully on the invitation is key.
Alternatively, I do like the suggestion of appetizery food with the champagne and cake afterward.
Do what is best for you–others will gladly follow suit.
Post # 10
Also, alcohol wouldn’t be expected necessarily in the afternoon for the reception, so don’t feel pressure to have it.
Post # 11
Thanks so much for the opinions and suggestions, you’ve given me lots to think about. Thankfully we’ve still got 9 months to iron out all of the details.
My hope is that since our wedding party is small, the concept of the reverse-order will flow better in reallife than it does on paper. If it doesn’t work out and we crash and burn, we’ll have a great stroy to tell our future kids!