(Closed) What can my guests do for 2 hours??

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
5473 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Could you either start the ceremony a little later or start the cocktail hour a little earlier?  We are hosting a cocktail hour so our guests will be entertained while we are doing our post-ceremony photos.  Around here, the whole point of cocktail hour is NOT for the bride & groom, it’s for the guests.  The reception starts when the happy couple arrive…

Post # 4
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I’ve waited that long for receptions to begin, always at the reception venue. If there’s food and drink available, and hopefully places to sit (if they can’t go into the room itself), then all should be fine. There’s no need to provide activities for the guests.

Edit: Wait, I just re-read closer. Expect people to leave and come back. No amount of acitivities can make people wait that long.

Post # 5
1621 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

You could do a DIY photobooth with a Polaroid and inexpensive props? Or, as other PPs said, start cocktails earlier.

Post # 6
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’ve attended weddings with long gaps between ceremony and reception and even if food and drink were available for sale, I always felt kind of let down or annoyed. Two hours is a long time to kill so be sure you communicate very clearly with your guests as to the timings, and make it very clear that you will not be providing drinks or nibbles during this time. 

If possible, consider doing your photos (or at least some of them) before the wedding and not after, to shorten this gap.

Or consider cutting back on some other item and applying that budget to light refreshments. Even if it’s non-alcoholic beverages, cookies and board games.  It’s kind of off-putting from a guest’s perspective to be, literally, all dressed up with noplace to go.

Post # 7
11231 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Yeah, I suggest moving the ceremony later. Fiance and I went to a wedding last year where there was a 3 hour gap between the end of the ceremony and the reception, and we STILL had to wait over an hour for the bridal party to get back from pictures! We actually went to FI’s grandma’s house to wait for a couple of hours, went to the reception venue and waited foreverrrrrr for them to show up. All they had available was a cash bar. There was a photobooth that we couldn’t use until after dinner was served.

Post # 8
11163 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

I am curious why there is such a gap between your ceremony and cocktail hour? Is this mandated by the venue?

Typically while the bride and groom take the photos the guests enjoy cocktails….specifically for the purpose of keeping them entertained.

I attended a wedding that had a limited invite reception and so it was two hours after the ceremony. My DH and I (and his family) were bored to tears. We were out of town with no place to go, nothing to do and in unfamiliar area. We had to sit around and wait for some of the guests to leave….it was not fun nor pleasant.


Post # 9
11266 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

is your ceremony time set?  can you make in an hour later?  can you move up the cocktail hour? 

i find that 2 hours will go by fast if guests are mingling with some food and drinks. 

Post # 10
684 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I kind of have the same problem. Our ceremony is at 2:30pm we have to keep it at this time due to a beach ceremony and tide times. Our reception starts at 6pm. We are only having a small wedding with close family and friends so most if not all of them will be in the photo’s anyway. I guess they can stick around with us. Or they can go to the reception which is at a pub (far from a sports bar) where they can play pool, drink or just hang out. Which is all in the wine region so i guess they coukld also go to a few cellar doors if they pleased. I was very worried with the time gap, but most of our guests have reassured us it’s fine.

Post # 11
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

OP, so you say you are at a resort? Can you elaborate on that? If it is a beachfront resort, maybe guests can mingle and take their own snapshots at the beach. Is there a lawn? Maybe the resort can set up some lawn games, like croquet? Conversely, maybe there’s a sitting room that your guests can retire to for simple board games as PP suggested and maybe some flavored water and lemonade.

2 hours is kind of long to literally have nothing to do. If they are all staying at the resort, then at least they can retreat back to their rooms, but if they are coming to the resort for the wedding, then it’s a little awkward. The only time I’ve been to a wedding where there was that long of a gap that didn’t include cocktail hour was because the ceremony and the reception were at two different places and they were somewhat far away from each other.


Post # 12
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

i was wondering the same thing. Im in almost the same boat. My ceremony starts at 5:30. And my reception starts at 7. But food is not served till 7.30. And our budget didnt allow for cocktail hour. BUT! Our reception is 20minutes from our ceremony. So i wasnt sure what to do either. Honestly, I would say, start your ceremony a little later and limit the photo taking. Remember you can always leave during the reception to take photos. (thats what my cousin did)

Post # 13
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

How formal is the wedding?  Can guest go to the pool while they wait?  We’re doing a wedding timeline in the invitation to give people forewarning of when they need to be where.

Post # 14
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I think unless there is a really important reason  why you can’t move the ceremony later leave it. Or allow your guest to start cocktail earlier. Sometimes like the catholic gap it’s unavoidable, but I would imagine guest would get annoyed/bored/hungry waiting around for the bridal party to take photos. I suggest getting as much pictures in before the ceremoney, then using your cocktail hour to finish the rest.

Post # 15
2324 posts
Buzzing bee

I like the idea of setting up games. Being in a resort one would assume that they already have them so it would be a matter of communicating that to the resort, setting them up in a specific area. Guests can then decide to stay & play or do anything else they desire. It will be 2 hours of downtime, considering they are there for you, i wouldn’t mind one bit!

Post # 16
5540 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

Having just been to a wedding where we waited almost 2 hours for pictures with nothing to do… DON’T DO THAT TO YOUR GUESTS! It is MISERABLE. When the bride and groom finally showed up almost half the guests left within 10 minutes, enough time to say hi and that was it. Most of their guests left before cake and such because there was just SUCH a huge gap. And at least if you do have to have a gap, make sure when you do show up, don’t spend another 45 minutes talking to people before you do anything like the first dances. You can mingle while other people eat/dance or you can sneak out while people party to take more pictures. If at all possible, move the ceremony back or the cocktail forward. People love you yes, but two hours of nothingness on a resort (assuming people are already all done up) is not going to be fun. 

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