Post # 1
We are having a family only ceremony around lunchtime, followed by a lunch with those 18 family members. That evening we are then having our reception/party with the rest of our guests. I am having a hard time with the timeline as many of the traditional items we are forgoing, such as cake cutting, first dance etc. We will still be wearing what we got married in for the reception as well as I am sure that question might come up! I know this is untraditional but am looking for any help or advice!
What I have so far:
6:00pm we will have those close friends that would of been in our bridal party and attended our bachelor and bachelorette parties join us for cocktails. We are doing this in hopes that we don’t have to get “announced” and that when our first other guests arrive we aren’t just in our venue alone!
7:00pm guests start to arrive and bar is open and food buffet stations start to be set out?
7:30pm a quick welcome speech by FH to say thank you for joining us to celebrate etc.
7:35pm the band starts? Bar is still open, food is still being served etc. photobooth is opened
9:30pm our dessert arrives from local shop, individually wrapped and served by that shop’s employee
10:15pm band announces last song and the bride and groom would love to see you at X Bar to continue the party!
Post # 2
I would skip the tiered entrances. You are already prioritizing your guest list by having a select group at your wedding ceremony – further tiering your list by having favored guests at the start of your reception and others arriving later may lead to hurt feelings. I think I’d understand if you had a family only ceremony and a larger reception later, but I think I’d be hurt if I found out there was an earlier start for your more preferred guests.
Otherwise, I think your timeline sounds fine.
Post # 3
How many people are attending your reception?
Post # 4
I see what you mean… how would you prevent the start time and bride and groom and some family members being just in the venue? Have an entrance, or just accept it might be a bit weird for the first few guests?
Post # 5
I agree with @JiminyCricket:
, the evening guests will be already aware that the immediate post marriage celebration meal has been had without them at lunch time, so no need to make what might seem like a 2 level event of the evening one .
Skipping all the usual like cake and speeches and first dances is a good idea l think, the evening event is then presented simply as a party. No formal ‘entrances’ or reception line etc . Pp asked how many evening people will be there- this is important l think, if there are masses ( though given these times that would hardly be possible) it would cause less potential sensitivity. If there are only a few that might be more problematic unless the ceremony guests are strictly family only .
l am assuming this is not the UK, btw, where evening only guests are much more usual.
Post # 6
You could do it either way – whichever you prefer. Either have an entrance after all the guests are there (if it starts at 6, you get there at 630) or be milling around to greet guests as they arrive.
The entrance doesn’t have to be some big elaborate thing. You could have a close friend literally yell “they’re here!” and get everyone’s attentio as you walk in.
Post # 7
Absolutely do not do a private cocktail hour for special people. Be there when it starts and welcome your guests.
Post # 8
It’s fine to have a private ceremony and a bigger reception later, when there is no chance that the later guests will come early and walk in on a ceremony to which they were invited. But don’t have a cocktail hour for an elite few when the other guests are likely to arrive early and see that special people got hosted an extra hour earlier. Invite everyone to show up at 6 pm. Be at the venue by 6 and greet everyone the way you would at a regular house party
Post # 9
A tiered reception isn’t necessary, but as an awkward person I understand what you’re saying about the first few guests arriving lol.
I would just ask your closest friends if they don’t mind arriving 15 or so minutes before the reception begins. If they’re your close friends I’m sure they’ll understand!
And I’d start the event at 6 so people have some time to mingle before you set out the food at 7.
Post # 10
We are doing something a bit similar. We are having a ceremony for immediate family only from 3 to 4:30. Our reception starts at 5. The ceremony is going to be at my fiancés mother’s house and we are just doing a quick 10 min ceremony then hanging out and doing cake and champagne. The reception is at our house which is about 20 min away. We will have a friend there at 4 starting to set out snacks and such for reception guests who are close friends (and family from the ceremony will be coming over too). There will about 30 to 40 or so people. The reception starts at 5 and my fiancé (who will then be my husband woohoo!) and I will be at our house by then. Food is being ordered 2 days before for delivery at 5:30 (keeping it simple with pizza and wings). The reception is just going to simply be a party at our house. We will wear our ceremony attire for a while then change into comfortable party clothes. The friends coming to the reception all know the ceremony was family only. There will be cake cutting at the ceremony but we bought special desserts for the reception. Everyone knows NOT to dress up, no gifts, no kids…just come ready to drink and party!
It’s not really the same as your scenario but it’s similar I think and we’ve been open about the separate ceremony and are just treating the reception like a regular party. We are getting married 15 days from now and I’m super excited!!
Congratulations to you and I’m sure it will all work out!