Wedding Etiquette Forum

Separate Location for Ceremony & Reception - What do guests do?

emanon321emanon321 member
25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
edited July 2014 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
I'm not sure if this is the correct board for such a question, but I'll give it a shot.

My wedding is going to be in the morning in a little chapel (so pretty by the way). We are keeping things very traditional and my fiance and I will not see each other before the wedding. Before the wedding we'll take getting ready picks and each family alone, and bridal party, etc. After the ceremony the rest of the pics. Now, here's the problem I'm having with logistics. The reception is a few miles away at a different location. The photographers are going to be with the bridal party taking pictures and then they will need to take pictures at the reception location before the guests settle in, tables, decorations, etc. 

How is this handled? What do the guests do in a situation like this? It's an early morning wedding and we are not having a cocktail hour/serving hors d'oeuvres. And it's a very small wedding, so all of the guests are actually immediate family members. Will they be fine watching us take pictures at the chapel? Maybe including everyone for a few shots? (It's would be so great to have a family picture of our two families together) Or will they be fine waiting in the lobby area at the reception site and have the reception site people just keep them out of the dining area? I want everyone to feel comfortable, but it seems awkward with each situation. 

Re: Separate Location for Ceremony & Reception - What do guests do?

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited July 2014
    emanon321 said:
    I'm not sure if this is the correct board for such a question, but I'll give it a shot.

    My wedding is going to be in the morning in a little chapel (so pretty by the way). We are keeping things very traditional and my fiance and I will not see each other before the wedding. Before the wedding we'll take getting ready picks and each family alone, and bridal party, etc. After the ceremony the rest of the pics. Now, here's the problem I'm having with logistics. The reception is a few miles away at a different location. The photographers are going to be with the bridal party taking pictures and then they will need to take pictures at the reception location before the guests settle in, tables, decorations, etc. 

    How is this handled? What do the guests do in a situation like this? It's an early morning wedding and we are not having a cocktail hour/serving hors d'oeuvres. And it's a very small wedding, so all of the guests are actually immediate family members. Will they be fine watching us take pictures at the chapel? Maybe including everyone for a few shots? (It's would be so great to have a family picture of our two families together) Or will they be fine waiting in the lobby area at the reception site and have the reception site people just keep them out of the dining area? I want everyone to feel comfortable, but it seems awkward with each situation. 
    I'm confused - Why do you need to take photos at the reception hall before the guests arrive?
    No, your guests will not be fine sitting and watching you take photos.
    You should not stick them in a lobby without refreshments and adequate seating.
    What you should do is have a cocktail hour at the reception site while you take your photos, either outside, it another room or the room you are using. 
    This is one of the main reasons people do a first look, to get the photos they want without inconveniencing their guests.

    eta-words are hard
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    PrettyGirlLost
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Your guests should be able to go straight from the ceremony to the reception.  An evening wedding would traditionally have a cocktail hour (no longer than an hour!) for the guests to drink and snack while awaiting the WP.  Because this is a morning wedding, you can do the same thing with whatever food is appropriate to the time of day, coffee, juice, and whatever other drinks are being offered.

    The issue with the lobby-- don't do this.  There isn't another room at the reception venue they typically use for cocktail hour?  If not, just let them into the dining area for that time.

    Nobody is going to want to watch the WP take pics, either at the ceremony or reception venue.
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

    STARMOON44PrettyGirlLost
  • emanon321emanon321 member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited July 2014
    scribe95 said:
    You are stuck on the phrase cocktail hour. It just needs to be a hosted time period while you finish photos. And by hosted we mean a place for people to mingle, tables, chairs, refreshments.

    Sorry, should have been more specific. No cocktail hour location. We only have the one room. ^_^"


  • Doesn't need to be a separate room.  It's just a time before the meal that the guests can use to mingle, sit, and drink.  Let them go to their tables, set down their purses, grab a cup of coffee or an OJ and talk to the other guests before you show up.
  • If you don't have a separate room that's fine- they just mingle in the main room.
  • Have your photographer (or maybe a second shooter/assistant) go to the reception location to take some photos of the setup/details there while you are getting ready.  If it's only a few miles away, someone should be able to do that in 20 minutes.
    southernbelle0915tigersgirlgvPrettyGirlLost
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Our cocktail hour was just in the room with the reception.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • emanon321emanon321 member
    25 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited July 2014
    Have your photographer (or maybe a second shooter/assistant) go to the reception location to take some photos of the setup/details there while you are getting ready.  If it's only a few miles away, someone should be able to do that in 20 minutes.
    That's an interesting idea. I wonder if the reception will be set up enough so early. 
    I will ask my reception venue coordinator and photographers. There are two photographers and it is a couple of miles down the road. Maybe the photographers can stop by on the way to the ceremony even.
  • AddieCake said:
    Our cocktail hour was just in the room with the reception.
    Did you get decoration shots of the reception room without people in it?
  • I definitely think it's more important for the guests to have a place to set their stuff while they grab a glass of water to sit and drink than for you to have pictures of an empty room.  So if the pictures don't happen, don't worry.  Make sure you take care of your guests.
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    emanon321 said:
    AddieCake said:
    Our cocktail hour was just in the room with the reception.
    Did you get decoration shots of the reception room without people in it?

    Yes, our photographer took those shots while people were outside and heading to the ceremony site. The ceremony and reception were in different locations on the same property.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    emanon321 said:
    AddieCake said:
    Our cocktail hour was just in the room with the reception.
    Did you get decoration shots of the reception room without people in it?
    do to weather my ceremony, cocktail hour and reception were held under the same tent.   The photographers were able to get a few shots of a table setup.  

    Now ask me what I've done with the pictures.   Answer:  not a thing.   A quick look the proof online and I haven't seen them since.

    I'm sure some people do something with those pictures.   I had 1800 pictures to choose from, a picture of an empty room was not high on the list.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • When I saw my photographer had taken pictures of the decorations on the buffet table and other such things I was annoyed.  I didn't want those pictures, I didn't ask for those pictures, and he spent time on those when he could have been taking pictures of people.  
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    photokittyjnissa
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited July 2014
    emanon321 said:
    PS - If you just want photos of the table decor, then send the photogs over before the wedding to shoot those images. In reality you don't need them, are you really going to frame a photo of your centerpieces? Otherwise they can take them after the guests arrive. If it is that important, set up the vendors tables just like all the guests tables - that way it will be intact and they can take photos before they eat. :)
    Such a good point! I don't want a framed picture of a centerpiece. 


    I'm confused - Why do you need to take photos at the reception hall before the guests arrive?
    You're right. Because that's what the wedding industry has convinced me I need to do? With all their fancy blog posts of fancy decorations?
    No, your guests will not be fine sitting and watching your take photos.
    You should not stick them in a lobby with refreshments and adequate seating.
    What you should do is have a cocktail hour at the reception site while you take your photos, either outside, it another room or the room you are using. 
    This is one of the main reasons people do a first look, to get the photos they want without inconveniencing their guests.
    Again, no cocktail hour. And we don't want to do a first look.

    But that's why I'm here. Reality checks! Pictures of centerpieces I'm not going to frame are not more important than guests comfort.
    By cocktail hour I just mean time during which you properly host your guests with refreshments (alcohol or not) and adequate seating while you are taking your photos. :)

    As a photographer (although not weddings) I apologize for the ridiculous photos my industry has convinced you that you HAVE to HAVE! Truly I am sorry...
    How many times have you seen a photo of the wedding ring perched on the heel of a stiletto or the table centerpiece on someone's living room wall...nada. They are nice to have and look at once, but totally unneeded. :)

    Good for you putting your guests' comfort over a photo you'll never need. Or send you photog over before the ceremony to get them in you really want them.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    emanon321RebeccaB88
  • My reception will be taking place a few miles away from the ceremony location too. What we are planning to do is take most of the pictures before the ceremony and the rest afterwards. We're planning to rent a bus to transport our guests straight from the ceremony to the reception for "cocktail" hour right after the ceremony (since most of our guests are OOT guests, we thought this would be the most comfortable and convenient option for them) and then we'd take a separate car(s) to the reception. I scheduled it specifically so there would be no gap. It's uncomfortable for guests to have to stand there for so long while you take photos, especially if you don't provide food or drink. Guest comfort is definitely very important. 

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  • melbensomelbenso Hoth, apparently member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    It looks like you have this pretty much figured out, but if you wanted to see some photos of the set up of the reception, ask a staff member at the reception location to take a few and email them to you (or give them a disposable camera).

    Our DOC took some pictures of the reception set up for us, just because we were curious about what it looked like pre-guests entering. We have no intention of putting them in our wedding album, but it was nice to see how the centerpieces I made turned out.
    image
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I asked my photographer to take pictures of the reception all set up before guests got there because SMIL did all of the flowers and decorating so I wanted to have those pictures for her. The photographer just went and took them before he met me to do our before ceremony pictures.
    image
  • Only the best of the best of the very few centerpiece/detail photos went into my wedding album. We had two photographers only one needed to take the group photos between the ceremony and reception. The second photographer can go take pictures of centerpieces and the guests.
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  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We had a similar setup to yours.  We did not do a first look, and our reception was about 3 miles from the ceremony. 

    After the wedding, guests made their way directly to the reception.  The family members & bridal party who were in the pictures for after the ceremony stayed behind (and they knew who they were).  Our photog took those pictures and then went to the reception (we only had one photog and her assistant).  She got there after our guests had arrived but still managed to get a few pictures of the reception decor (centerpieces, the dessert table, escort cards, etc).  Our guests were still mingling at the reception while she took these pictures.  Nobody was inconvenienced, and there were several shots of guests mingling at the reception.

    One final (and somewhat unrelated) suggestion.  Be sure to ask someone (bridesmaid, family member, etc) to help make sure that the church is cleaned out of stuff before you leave.  The last shots our photog did of us were of just me & DH, so we were the last 4 people to leave the church.  We ended up having to get things cleared out of the bridal suite (luckily our photog & assistant were team players and helped out, but they shouldn't have had to).  Also, make sure someone else stays behind to help you bustle your dress.  My photog and her assistant did this for me as well (which was somewhat comical yet frustrating).  
    emanon321japrincess24
  • OP, it sounds like you're taking the advice like a champ. Just a thought I had: perhaps your ceremony venue would allow you to set up a small pastries and juice/coffee bar in the lobby? That way you have a separate area for your "cocktail hour" (or whatever you want to name it), but your guests are still being hosted?

    I don't know if that's something you could do in your chapel. Ours has a separate lobby and basement area, some people do their whole reception there. 
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Another thought from our wedding ... The reception venue DOC gave us her cell # and asked us to let her know when the wedding was over so they would be prepared for the guests. We gave the # to a cousin and asked her to call the DOC as soon as the wedding ceremony ended. This worked out nicely; I suggest asking about this from your reception venue.
    emanon321
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