Keeping people "waiting" -is this really a thing?

posted 2 years ago in South
Post # 2
2252 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

Well, perhaps the guests got antsy because they were excited to see the bride and groom now that the ceremony was done. That does seem like a long time but perhaps that is the norm. 

Post # 3
1206 posts
Bumble bee

Sounds normal to me and I live in the South. I never expect to see the bride and groom for at least an hour

Post # 4
2112 posts
Buzzing bee

I am not from the south but typically the cocktail hour is a time for the couple to get pictures done while the guests mingle and snack on apps.

Now I can see if people are getting ancy if the after the cocktail hour the couple didn’t arrive for another hour.  But I feel like that isn’t the case here.

So I am thinking this isn’t a “southern” thing, but more of a “just these people in this example” thing.

Post # 5
8641 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Edited to take into account a hosted cocktail hour:

Etiquette says making guests cool their heels all dresses up for more than 45 minutes between the ceremony and the reception is rude. But that is only when there is no food and drink provided, as in a cocktail hour. 

If there is, that is totally fine. 

Post # 6
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

Ive been to a lot of weddings, both as a guest and as a vendor.

Where I live (admittedly not the south) I’d say 75% have at least a 2-4 hour gap between the ceremony and reception, and only 25% have a gap less than 2 hours. It’s rare for there to be no gap at all.

Couples use the time to take photos while the guests make their way to the reception venue and/or entertain themselves for a few hours. Most times there will be apps and cocktails in the hour before the reception starts, but for the most part guests are on their own.

Post # 7
1046 posts
Bumble bee

It is not a southern thing. I am in canada and it is the norm for there to be an hour long cocktail hour with apps and drinks while the new couple takes their photos. 

Perhaps these antsy people were not fed during this cocktail hour? or it was longer than an hour

Post # 8
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

wb123: I have attended weddings in the MidWest, the West, and the South. I have been to several weddings with “gaps”. Most of the time the gap is OK because there is a cocktail time and the guest mingle. HOWEVER, I have been to weddings were there was nothing for the guest during the gap… this was nuts. The cocktail hour was held till after dinner… so yes, guest were left to just sit and wait till the couple arrived. The bride and groom took an hour at this wedding… maybe this was normal for their family but it was too long for guest to wait for any kind of meal/drink after the ceremony.

I vote little to no gap. We will not be having any gap with our Wedding.


Post # 11
443 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2017 - Bahamas

I think as long as you provide food/drinks and a place to mingle for your guests, it’s absolutely fine to have a bit of a waiting period. I wouldn’t let that exceed an hour, personally. The last wedding that I was at had a cocktail hour and then once the guests entered the ballroom where the reception was taking place, we waited another hour for the wedding party and bride/groom to make their entrance. That was excessive. Every wedding that I have been to has had a “gap” Whether that’s a cocktail hour or a 2-4 hour window between the ceremony and reception. Those weddings with longer gaps were taking place at a hotel with the ceremony happening elsewhere. So we weren’t just “waiting” by the time we celebrated with the couple outside of the church, made our way back to the hotel and freshened up for the reception, it was time for the cocktail hour. 

ETA: What is a first look? I haven’t heard of this before. 


  • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  MrsC_2Bee.
Post # 12
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

wb123:  We are, this was a big debate for me. I decided that I would rather have the first look and then take photos with our wedding party. That way, all of us as a group can just relax while the guest arrive.  Our wedding is at venue with a huge nature area, so many areas for us to take photos. Here is my current estimated timeline:

8am hair and make up

at venue by 10 am the latest to change into gown

10:30 first look

11-1pm photos with FI and wedding party

by 1:30pm wedding party is back in private venue room to relax – have a glass of wine. =)

2pm guest will begin to arrive

3pm ceremony

3:30 beigns reception till 10pm-ish

I will also have umbrellas on hand in case it rains, we will still be able to have some outdoor photos.





Post # 13
1867 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

wb123:  Sorry, just read your update…

Are you having 2 photographers? If so, one will take photos of you and your bridesmaids. The other can take the your FI and GM.

Just be sure to add this time in for before your ceremony. This will allow for NO first look. Also, be sure where ever your photos are for this that they are not in view of the guys. You may need two separate locations or times. The guys maybe do not arrive untill after you have taken photos and have moved back to the private bridal waiting room. This will take more time over two separate locations.

Aghh… all the decisions to make!

Post # 14
975 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015 - On a Cliff Overlooking the Bay, Florida

wb123:  I’m in the south and we had a 60 min cocktail hour for pictures. However we did not have to change venues so we were actually done closer to 45 min with pictures and i could mingle for a few min before the grand entrance.

I have been to a wedding where the cocktail hour was 2 hours but ended up being 3.5 because of pictures and a bunch of people were starting to leave becuase no one told us at the reception venue.

Post # 15
31 posts

This is something to keep an eye on, but 1 hour is not a problem at all. I was in a wedding as a MOH and we kept the wedding guests waiting something like 3 hours in the hot sun while we got photos taken. They had drinks and snacks, but no chairs. I felt bad and that was too long.


My wedding planner says 1.5 hours is a good amount of time – and I thnk doing before photos of getting ready and some local shots after the wedding could help this along. But it isn’t a lot of time I agree to get photos done


How long are others waiting?



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