• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Reception Ideas

What do I call a pre-vows appetizer period?

edited August 2018 in Reception Ideas
We are having a pretty casual, small wedding  at a state park lodge and will be reciting our vows out on the bluff outside of the lodge. Since there is no official seating out there and we cannot close off the area or even put up decorations there, I want guests to be able to enter the reception room in the lodge, sit, have appetizer trays (meat, cheese, fruit) on the tables, then go outside briefly to exchange vows before coming back in for the actual reception where dinner (buffet style) will be served. Obviously there will be no walking down the aisle or anything like that. Very casual. We will be mingling with guests and greeting them as they arrive.

So what do I call this pre-vows appetizer period? I want the whole event to be comfortable and casual and we are only having wine and beer (these are the only alcoholic beverages available at the facility) I don't want to call it a cocktail hour. It probably won't even be a full hour, so I need a name that doesn't imply a time frame. 

Re: What do I call a pre-vows appetizer period?

  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    What if you just put on your invitations that the event starts at 4pm (or whatever)? Then you could put details on your wedding website that indicate 4-4:30- appetizers, 4:30 vows, 4:45 dinner. (Or whatever your time frame actually is.)

    I assume you want people to show up pre-vows. However, people always show up earlier than event start time, so you'd want appetizers to technically be available at 3:30 for the early birds.

    I suggest this because people don't expect cocktail hour before vows. Whatever your event start time, people will be early. 

    The alternative is specifying on your invite "ceremony at 4:30pm" and then only the early birds get appetizers while everyone else goes straight to dinner after vows. If it were me, I'd like to know that appetizers are first so I don't miss out, haha. 

    Not sure this is much help but hopefully others will chime in! 
    ________________________________


    charlotte989875ahoywedding
  • edited August 2018
    Everyone coming to the wedding will be staying in cabins/lodge rooms at the park 

  • Agree with PP. I didn't have food, but there was champagne available just before my ceremony. I loved mingling with people after our pictures and before the ceremony started. People showed up about 15-30 minutes before but only because they wanted to get there for the start of the ceremony. If you have purposeful appetizers, I would advertise that.

    Question - Are you having seats for people during the ceremony? If not, you need to get chairs. Regardless of how short your ceremony is, no one should stand.

    ahoywedding
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    How long is the ceremony going to be? 

    I'd maybe say something along the lines of "please join us for pre-ceremony refreshments". 

    ahoyweddingshort+sassycharlotte989875knottietx
  • I like "pre-ceremony refreshments." You could list the time you're going to have the snacks ready on your invite, and then when break the time down on your website: 4 pm, light refreshments; 4:30, ceremony; etc etc. You can also spread that info via word of mouth; let your parents tell guests, or if someone asks about the flow of the weekend you can let them know. 

    But also, make sure you have chairs for all you guests for the ceremony. I totally get the quick ceremony (ours was about 10 minutes), but especially since you're having apps beforehand, people will be there for a little while and will appreciate a place to sit.
    short+sassy
  • edited August 2018
    There are a few benches for people who can't stand but not enough for everyone, and no, we are not finding a new venue. This place is very special to us and all of our guests will be close family. And none of them that I've described it to has a problem with it, even my mother who uses a walker.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We are having a pretty casual, small wedding at a state park lodge and will be reciting our vows out on the bluff outside of the lodge. Since there is no official seating out there and we cannot close off the area or even put up decorations there, I want guests to be able to enter the reception room in the lodge, sit, have appetizer trays (meat, cheese, fruit) on the tables, then go outside briefly to exchange vows before coming back in for the actual reception where dinner (buffet style) will be served. Obviously there will be no walking down the aisle or anything like that. Very casual. We will be mingling with guests and greeting them as they arrive.

    So what do I call this pre-vows appetizer period? I want the whole event to be comfortable and casual and we are only having wine and beer (these are the only alcoholic beverages available at the facility) I don't want to call it a cocktail hour. It probably won't even be a full hour, so I need a name that doesn't imply a time frame. 
    Your mom, with a walker, is expected to walk out to a bluff and stand for your ceremony?  Are chairs not allowed because the terrain is uneven and rough?  Are you asking guests to stand again after standing for a pre-vow reception?  If someone uses the bench, will those guests forced to stand block the view of those seated on benches?

    Is there a weather contingency?  Why can't you have the ceremony in this reception room?

    You SAY you want the whole event to be comfortable, but what you are DOING says the exact opposite.

    No one is going to be rude enough to tell you that your plan is thoughtless.  The fact that your own mother uses a walker and you CHOSE this plan anyway tells me a whole lot about you and your mother.  Describing something and having it play out are entirely and completely different things. 

    I'd call this appetizer period the "warm up".

    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueenseileenrob
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Again, how long is your ceremony going to be? What if it's raining? What time of the year is this taking place? How long is the walk to the ceremony site?

    Have you really thought through the plan for having an outdoor ceremony where your guests have to stand? 

    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueenseileenrob
  • There are a few benches for people who can't stand but not enough for everyone, and no, we are not finding a new venue. This place is very special to us and all of our guests will be close family. And none of them that I've described it to has a problem with it, even my mother who uses a walker.
    But let me play devil's advocate here: what if the seats are taken before someone who needs it arrives? What if someone doesn't "look" like they need a seat but they can't stand the whole time and don't want to disclose an illness? Your mom is going to use her walker out to the bluff (I assume uneven terrain?) and stand there?

    I totally get wanting to get married in a place that's special to you. My family has been camping in the same park since my grandpa was a child & it's my favorite place in the world. I really wanted to get married there, but once we thought about the logistics of everything, it would have been super complicated for our guests. My cousin did get married there and it was kind of a headache for everyone and she DID bring in enough chairs, tents in case of rain or sun, etc. 
    short+sassyInLoveInQueenseileenrobcharlotte989875
  • Count down to "I didn't ask about seating, stop talking about it, only answer the question I directly asked" 
    No, I actually appreciate that people expressed their opinions, at least those that did so without the vitriol one person decided was appropriate. And it did make me wonder because I've been to two weddings where everyone stood and nobody seemed to mind. In fact, at one which was a very small wedding so we all gathered on the altar around the couple, everyone said it was the most beautiful wedding they'd ever been to. But it was a smaller group, not the 45 or so we will have, so it did get me wondering about my plan.

    So I searched online to see what the wedding or etiquette "experts" had to say about this and only found two answers - one from Wedding Wire and one from Martha Stewart, and they both say it's fine.

    Here is Martha's answer: 
    It depends on how long your ceremony will be. A secular ceremony can be as short as ten minutes or as drawn out as 40. While the former isn't too long to expect people to stand, remember that guests will also be on their feet as they wait for the ceremony to begin. It's a good idea to provide some seating, even if it's situated in another area, so they can sit if they arrive early.Of course, you may have guests for whom any amount of standing is too much. Rounding up a few chairs just for them would be wise. And do round up, as having extra seats will keep them from feeling self-conscious and will allow room for their escorts and others to join them.The "no chairs" plan works best for a small guest list; Kelly Ortmeier, a facility rental manager for the Denver Botanic Gardens, recommends 50 people as a maximum. 

    Wedding Wire:
    While it is a bit unusual, asking guests to stand during the ceremony is perfectly acceptable, as long as you keep your guests' comfort in mind and make decisions accordingly. To ensure your "standing" ceremony goes smoothly, follow our best advice:
    • Keep the ceremony under 15 minutes to minimize guests' discomfort. And be sure to start the ceremony on time—if guests have to wait 20 minutes for the festivities to begin, then you're forcing them to stand for more than 30 minutes, which will become uncomfortable.
    • Keep your guest list small, preferably under 50. Standing ceremonies work best at more intimate weddings.
    • Provide enough chairs for any older or disabled guests in attendance. Place "reserved" signs on the seats so they'll know exactly where to sit.
    • Give guests a heads-up about the standing ceremony—that way they'll know what to expect and can dress accordingly (read: leave your stilettos at home!). A good place to convey this information is on your wedding website.
    • Serve chilled drinks like sparkling water and juice to guests as they arrive, especially if it's a warm day.

    It looks like I have it covered. Since everyone will gather in the reception room before the ceremony, everyone will have a seat there. It's air conditioned and there will be drinks available.

    There are a few benches outside, and while we can't reserve them, my mother's walker also has a seat on it that she can use, or she can stay under the covered area, which is a little removed but close enough that she can still see the ceremony. If there's not a seat available there, we'll grab one from inside for her. We can't set up chairs for everyone because the park does not allow it, probably because the terrain is not even enough. It's a natural rock bluff. 

    I probably should have mentioned this is a second wedding for both of us. The only guests are our two children, our siblings and their spouses, and nieces and nephews. The only reason we have 50 is I am one of six kids and he is one of five, so we both have big immediate families, but we know every one of them well, so there's no way someone will have special needs we might not be aware of.

    The ceremony will DEFINITELY be shorter than 15 minutes. I would guess between 5 and 10. Just exchange vows, exchange rings, pronounce us man and wife and kiss. The same you'd do in a Justice of the Peace's office. No readings, no music, no walking down the aisle even. 

    We are definitely prepared to move the ceremony into the reception room if the weather is bad or it's just too hot. But I think now we will be very emphatic that anyone not wanting to come outside is welcome to stay indoors. They can stay in the reception room or watch from one of the big windows in the lobby where there are lots of chairs. 

    Oh, and somebody asked how long the walk is to the bluff. This lodge sits right on the bluff, so we walk out of the reception room, across the lobby (maybe thirty feet) and another thirty or so feet to the bluff. It's really that close!

    To give you a view of why we want to do it out there instead of inside, this is the scene we want as the backdrop when reciting vows (that is the rock we'll be standing on in front), instead of the reception room below it:


  • There are a few benches for people who can't stand but not enough for everyone, and no, we are not finding a new venue. This place is very special to us and all of our guests will be close family. And none of them that I've described it to has a problem with it, even my mother who uses a walker.
    But let me play devil's advocate here: what if the seats are taken before someone who needs it arrives? What if someone doesn't "look" like they need a seat but they can't stand the whole time and don't want to disclose an illness? Your mom is going to use her walker out to the bluff (I assume uneven terrain?) and stand there?

    I totally get wanting to get married in a place that's special to you. My family has been camping in the same park since my grandpa was a child & it's my favorite place in the world. I really wanted to get married there, but once we thought about the logistics of everything, it would have been super complicated for our guests. My cousin did get married there and it was kind of a headache for everyone and she DID bring in enough chairs, tents in case of rain or sun, etc. 
    Thanks for sharing your experience with me! Can I ask what made it a pain at your cousin's wedding? Our family was so excited they almost all booked rooms and cabins within a week of my email and are staying longer so they can enjoy the park! I'm so glad they're going to get a vacation out of it and not just traveling for the wedding.

    Yeah, my mom is the only problem. We know all of our guests well (see previous reply) so there won't be anyone who has an undisclosed illness. But I will be sure to offer to anyone to stay inside and watch through the big glass windows (floor to ceiling) if they want to.
  • How long is the ceremony going to be? 

    I'd maybe say something along the lines of "please join us for pre-ceremony refreshments". 
    I like that wording. Thanks!
  • knottietx said:
    There are a few benches for people who can't stand but not enough for everyone, and no, we are not finding a new venue. This place is very special to us and all of our guests will be close family. And none of them that I've described it to has a problem with it, even my mother who uses a walker.
    But let me play devil's advocate here: what if the seats are taken before someone who needs it arrives? What if someone doesn't "look" like they need a seat but they can't stand the whole time and don't want to disclose an illness? Your mom is going to use her walker out to the bluff (I assume uneven terrain?) and stand there?

    I totally get wanting to get married in a place that's special to you. My family has been camping in the same park since my grandpa was a child & it's my favorite place in the world. I really wanted to get married there, but once we thought about the logistics of everything, it would have been super complicated for our guests. My cousin did get married there and it was kind of a headache for everyone and she DID bring in enough chairs, tents in case of rain or sun, etc. 
    Thanks for sharing your experience with me! Can I ask what made it a pain at your cousin's wedding? Our family was so excited they almost all booked rooms and cabins within a week of my email and are staying longer so they can enjoy the park! I'm so glad they're going to get a vacation out of it and not just traveling for the wedding.

    Yeah, my mom is the only problem. We know all of our guests well (see previous reply) so there won't be anyone who has an undisclosed illness. But I will be sure to offer to anyone to stay inside and watch through the big glass windows (floor to ceiling) if they want to.
    With my cousin's wedding, part of the pain was the travel. The park is 2 hours from the nearest town with a small (read: expensive) airport. The bigger airport is like 3.5-4 hours away, which is a lot to ask of guests. This is how I feel about any wedding in "remote" areas. We had to purchase a state park pass to attend the wedding (any costs like this for your wedding should be covered by you and your FI). This wasn't a huge deal for my in-state family, as they all had the pass, but her FI's family had to purchase one, and our out of state family had to purchase passes for their rental cars. They brought in seating for everyone and tents (yay!), but had no hired help to set them up, so we did that. There were no restrooms at the ceremony location. The reception was a 30-45 minute drive from the ceremony (not applicable to your situation if the reception is in the same place). Some of these issues were compounded by people not staying at the location all weekend, but let me give another example.

    My aunt & uncle also got married there,  during the two-week timespan that our whole family was up there camping. However, the bride's family had to travel in (same situation as above). So they were left with the option to camp or stay in a pricey hotel (at the time, the area was pretty remote). They were not super happy about either situation. Camping (or cabin-ing in your case) isn't everyone's cup of tea. If both of your families are as in love with the place as you are, then sure go for it. 

    Also, I have some health conditions my in-laws don't know the full extent of. I'm mostly recovered, but if I have an exacerbation I'd rather not make a spectacle of myself. They think everything is totally fine, and I don't talk about it often around them. I repeat, you just don't know.

    Lastly, you mention the floor to ceiling windows, but your picture of the venue doesn't include them? Why don't you just have things in there with enough seating? It does seem like you're going to do whatever you want anyway.
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • banana468 said:
    I think the OP may be gone but PLEASE PLEASE do NOT confuse Martha Stewart for an etiquette expert.

    Martha doesn't like to reimburse her staff for lunch, often opted to use her neighborhood as a parking lot for her studio trucks blocking the driveways of those in the area and is condescending at BEST to those near her.   She may be fun but she is NOT an expert on how to treat others and shouldn't be emulated. 


    No, I'm the OP. I had technical difficulties and ended up deleting my account but then couldn't reply, so I made a new account. I agree about Martha, and I don't know who wrote the Wedding Wire article, so I realize those are just two "expert" opinions. And to be fair, Martha sounded like she was as concerned about guest comfort as the other one. She may not treat her staff or neighbors well, but I do think she'd care a lot about how she came off as a hostess.

    BTW, I'm still having technical difficulties. When I just try to go to theknot.com, the URL bar just flashes and flashes and never loads. I had to go back to my history to find this page. Anyone else having trouble?
  • Lastly, you mention the floor to ceiling windows, but your picture of the venue doesn't include them? Why don't you just have things in there with enough seating? It does seem like you're going to do whatever you want anyway.
    No, the picture windows are not in the reception room, they are outside of it in the lodge. I would LOVE to have the ceremony there, but they wouldn't allow it. There's a restaurant in the lodge that has fabulous windows that look right out over that scene in my picture, and the amount of money they're getting from me is probably more than they'd make in an entire evening in the restaurant anyway, but they just won't rent out the restaurant.

    I am definitely having my wedding here, but I'm still up in the air about having the ceremony outside, that's why I am asking so many questions. Our biggest concern though was the heat, not the standing part.

    I'm thinking now of maybe taking pics out there just the two of us and maybe even exchanging our own private vows to each other, then come inside to the reception room and do the official ceremony with traditional vows and ring exchange. Everyone would have to just sit at their places at the tables. The room is not big enough for tables and ceremony seating.

    I have a feeling everyone is going to end up outside taking pics anyway. They're all going to want family pics together in that gorgeous scenery. Especially if I have a professional photographer to do it. We just had a family gathering on my FI's side and they had a photographer and most of them went outside in the sweltering heat to take pics.
  • knottietx said:
    Lastly, you mention the floor to ceiling windows, but your picture of the venue doesn't include them? Why don't you just have things in there with enough seating? It does seem like you're going to do whatever you want anyway.
    No, the picture windows are not in the reception room, they are outside of it in the lodge. I would LOVE to have the ceremony there, but they wouldn't allow it. There's a restaurant in the lodge that has fabulous windows that look right out over that scene in my picture, and the amount of money they're getting from me is probably more than they'd make in an entire evening in the restaurant anyway, but they just won't rent out the restaurant.

    I am definitely having my wedding here, but I'm still up in the air about having the ceremony outside, that's why I am asking so many questions. Our biggest concern though was the heat, not the standing part.

    I'm thinking now of maybe taking pics out there just the two of us and maybe even exchanging our own private vows to each other, then come inside to the reception room and do the official ceremony with traditional vows and ring exchange. Everyone would have to just sit at their places at the tables. The room is not big enough for tables and ceremony seating.

    I have a feeling everyone is going to end up outside taking pics anyway. They're all going to want family pics together in that gorgeous scenery. Especially if I have a professional photographer to do it. We just had a family gathering on my FI's side and they had a photographer and most of them went outside in the sweltering heat to take pics.
    I think this is the best idea. If your ceremony is really 5 minutes, it's not going to matter what's behind you. You could definitely take family pics out there, and it sounds like you'll have time before the ceremony for guests to take their own pictures as well. If your concerned about the heat, it's best to have everything in a temperature controlled environment. There are outdoor fans & all that, but I'm not sure how you'd get them to your location.
    ernursejInLoveInQueensshort+sassy
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards