Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Entrance to Reception

We are having an evening ceremony and reception and we are not sure about how our timeline and ideas will work.

We will have a one hour cocktail hour and we are not sure if we should have our photos taken then or do first look. If we do the first look/ before the ceremony pictures we will be able to enjoy some food and drinks with our guests during cocktail hour (also I've heard from some that an hour is not enough for photos?!). However, we want to do the big/ traditional/ fun entrance into the ceremony space after cocktail hour. Would it be dumb to be around for that whole hour and still do the "grand entrance"? Is it a one or the other type situation?
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KnotRiley
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Re: Entrance to Reception

  • The grand entrance thing is rather new.  Many couples do enjoy it.  I don't think it would be appropriate if you had already been there, mingling with your guests.
    We did our photos before the ceremony, but that was when pictures were more posed and structured than they are today.  It worked well to relax DH, since he is a photo nut.  He got so busy asking the photographer technical questions that he forgot he was having his picture taken and relaxed.  Our reception was simple cake and punch in the church.
    If you really want that grand entrance, I don't think you should already be with your guests at the cocktail hour.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    DrillSergeantCat
  • We are having an evening ceremony and reception and we are not sure about how our timeline and ideas will work.

    We will have a one hour cocktail hour and we are not sure if we should have our photos taken then or do first look. If we do the first look/ before the ceremony pictures we will be able to enjoy some food and drinks with our guests during cocktail hour (also I've heard from some that an hour is not enough for photos?!). However, we want to do the big/ traditional/ fun entrance into the ceremony space after cocktail hour. Would it be dumb to be around for that whole hour and still do the "grand entrance"? Is it a one or the other type situation?
    It's definitely not a one or the other thing, you're good! My bff got married last year and did all of her pictures before the ceremony, so she was around for the entire cocktail hour (except for the few minutes we went up to bustle her dress), and then we as the bridal party did an entrance to music. No one thought twice, and it was a good way to get the reception started. It was still them being "introduced" as a married couple, since that didn't happen at the cocktail hour, and since she wanted that, it worked.


    SP29kimmiinthemitten
  • We're struggling with this, too. We're absolutely doing first looks, and we know we want some time alone after the ceremony, but I'm not sure I want to be in the bridal suite with just my FI when we could be enjoying the cocktail hour. However, he wants to walk in with me for the grand entrance. 

    I'm thinking of asking the DOC to bring refeshments up to the bridal suite for us so we can at least make sure we eat something and hydrate for the hour, since I've heard lots of stories about couples not eating, and so we can have the best of both worlds. 
  • We did a first look, and then H and I took about 20 minutes to ourselves after the ceremony while the guests went to cocktail hour. I don't remember if we did more photos during that time, but the majority were done before the ceremony.

    We enjoyed a glass of champagne with my dad (officiant) and my MOH and H's BM, signed the marriage license, and then the DJ introduced us. We joined the cocktail hour, and then when it was time to start dinner (a buffet), the DJ just announced it.

    SO - if you get some photos done before the ceremony, you can do some after and then be introduced during the cocktail hour, or if you get all your photos done beforehand, you can have your intro at the beginning of cocktail hour. At least, it worked for us. I don't see any reason you cannot be introduced whenever you join your guests, whether it's during cocktail hour or at the start of dinner.
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    OurWildKingdomernursejCMGragain
  • CMGragain said:
    I don't object to the grand entrance.  It's the going out and coming back in that seems weird to me.
    Good point. Is the cocktail hour in the same place as the reception? I think the reason the situation I outlined above at my BFF's wedding worked was because everyone had to enter the separate reception area after the cocktail hour, so the wedding party just stayed behind and then made an entrance into the reception. It would have seemed silly had it been in the same room and they just left and came back in.


    OurWildKingdomKnottie1452098987
  • The whole thing is at the same venue, however the ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the reception all have their own space. We just don't want to miss out on the time with family (and all the great food!!) but we thought the entrance into the reception hall would be fun... Maybe we'll nix the idea altogether?

    Alternately we could be present for the first half of the cocktail hour and then leave for the second half to have some time alone and maybe a few more photos of just us, but again we would have the whole leaving and coming back thing kind of
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    Going out and coming back in seems weird to me as well. If you've been hanging out with me during cocktail hour, you're basically at the reception already. 
    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
    holyguacamole79emmaaa
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    I've been to weddings where the couple has been around at cocktail hour and were announced when they entered the reception space and that's what we plan on doing. 

    Re:  first look or not, I would still have as many photos taken before.  You can always take most of your bridal party pictures before and then during cocktail hour take some of the whole wedding party, family and you and your H. 
    image
    OurWildKingdomcrowsgirl15SP29Knottie8c6123f6bf423033
  • We did a first look and it was great. We got to spend time together, just the two of us, got all our pictures with our friends done. After the ceremony we did a few group shots with the families in the church then headed right to cocktail hour (I went up and bustled my dress first). We wanted to be at cocktail hour with our guests. 

    He and I had an "entrance" where we went out and came back in and I did feel pretty silly. We should have just made our way to the cake table for the cutting, but we listened to out coordinator instead. We didn't have any WP introductions but I did feel weird leaving the space and coming right back into it. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Ninth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Rather than going out and coming in, why not just do the grand entrance into the cocktail hour area once you're through taking photos, assuming that cocktail hour is still going on?
    madamerwin
  • @Jen4948 Our cocktail area is going to be outside, would it be just as silly to be "announced" to the patio?
    The going out and in definitely does seem like it would be kind of awkward and redundant
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • @Jen4948 Our cocktail area is going to be outside, would it be just as silly to be "announced" to the patio?
    The going out and in definitely does seem like it would be kind of awkward and redundant
    Is your reception in a different area that the guests will be going into? If you stay out on the patio as they enter the reception area and then announce your "entrance" to the reception area, that doesn't seem awkward to me, as you are actually entering somewhere new.


    OurWildKingdomkatsandtatts
  • I'm having a few issues with this situation too. How to introduce/include everyone. We have 1 bridesmaid; 1 groomsman; 1 flower girl; 2 ushers (still unasked, so that's not set in stone). My grandmother is giving me away, so I want to include my FH's grandmother too.

    Q1: For the ceremony, my thoughts are (I'd love any input):
    Grandmother of Groom/Usher, Father/Mother of Groom, Officiant*/Usher, Best Man, MOH, Flower Girl, Bride/Grandmother of Bride.
    *I've personally never seen the officiant be a part of the procession, but she's done this before and it solves the issue of having an odd man out usher. She's also a family friend.

    Q2: For the reception: Grandmother of Bride/Usher, Grandmother of Groom/Usher, Father/Mother of Groom, Best Man/MOH, Bride/Groom. Is it okay that we aren't including the flower girl at the entrance? I have reasons, but I'm trying to avoid writing a novel here.

    Q3: I feel the need to include my MOH's fiance. It's not because of him/her, it's because of me. I've been the SO of a groomsman and knew NO ONE. The 2 hr "cocktail hour" was extremely uncomfortable for me. I planned on giving her fiance the option to hang with us for post ceremony photos, then during the "grand entrance" have him walk in to the reception through the back. Is that rude? Ideally, he'll be an usher (and problem solved), but I think my fiance already asked a childhood friend.
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    thatgirl2 said:
    I'm having a few issues with this situation too. How to introduce/include everyone. We have 1 bridesmaid; 1 groomsman; 1 flower girl; 2 ushers (still unasked, so that's not set in stone). My grandmother is giving me away, so I want to include my FH's grandmother too.

    Q1: For the ceremony, my thoughts are (I'd love any input):
    Grandmother of Groom/Usher, Father/Mother of Groom, Officiant*/Usher, Best Man, MOH, Flower Girl, Bride/Grandmother of Bride.
    *I've personally never seen the officiant be a part of the procession, but she's done this before and it solves the issue of having an odd man out usher. She's also a family friend.

    Q2: For the reception: Grandmother of Bride/Usher, Grandmother of Groom/Usher, Father/Mother of Groom, Best Man/MOH, Bride/Groom. Is it okay that we aren't including the flower girl at the entrance? I have reasons, but I'm trying to avoid writing a novel here.

    Q3: I feel the need to include my MOH's fiance. It's not because of him/her, it's because of me. I've been the SO of a groomsman and knew NO ONE. The 2 hr "cocktail hour" was extremely uncomfortable for me. I planned on giving her fiance the option to hang with us for post ceremony photos, then during the "grand entrance" have him walk in to the reception through the back. Is that rude? Ideally, he'll be an usher (and problem solved), but I think my fiance already asked a childhood friend.
    1. This is fine. I like the idea of the officiant processing with an usher. 

    2. Assuming you're making the decision in the best interest of the flower girl, it's okay to not have her formally introduced at the reception. 

    3. The fiance of may walk into the reception and take his seat before or after the introductions. I assume he will be seated with the MOH at the reception, since you know how awkward it is to be separated from your date. 
                       
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    I thought the cocktail hour was intended to entertain your guests while you have pictures taken. It would seem really odd to me, as a guest, to see the B&G mingling, then leave, then come back in. Either don't go to the cocktail hour or do your announcement when you get there regardless of which festivity is occurring at the moment.
    OurWildKingdomInLoveInQueens
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I thought the cocktail hour was intended to entertain your guests while you have pictures taken. It would seem really odd to me, as a guest, to see the B&G mingling, then leave, then come back in. Either don't go to the cocktail hour or do your announcement when you get there regardless of which festivity is occurring at the moment.
    I think traditionally perhaps the cocktail hour did function that way. However, with more and more people doing first looks (and for the amount of money you pay for cocktail hour), heck yes the couple wants to be at their own cocktail hour. 
    Plus, I think cocktail hour is a natural part of entertaining. If I went to a ceremony and was immediately sat down to dinner, I'd feel weird. Cocktail hour is also for your guests to mingle, hopefully get a drink or two and some appetizers. Then people can settle down at a table and dine. 

    I see people saying an entrance after the couple being at cocktail hour is weird. I get it, but DH and I didn't give two fucks about that, haha. We mingled at cocktail hour. The DJ then announced it was dinner time. We and our parents and bridal party stepped outside the door, and he just introduced everyone. Our party sat down and we went to cut the cake. Seemed to work just fine!

    By contrast, once I was at a cocktail hour and spotted the bride/groom/bridal party eating in a private room. They weren't taking pictures. They were just having, like, their own little private event. Now that was weird. It's like they did it so they could be "formally announced" into the reception. If you're not taking pictures, spend time with your guests! 
    ________________________________


    crowsgirl15SP29
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I thought the cocktail hour was intended to entertain your guests while you have pictures taken. It would seem really odd to me, as a guest, to see the B&G mingling, then leave, then come back in. Either don't go to the cocktail hour or do your announcement when you get there regardless of which festivity is occurring at the moment.
    I think traditionally perhaps the cocktail hour did function that way. However, with more and more people doing first looks (and for the amount of money you pay for cocktail hour), heck yes the couple wants to be at their own cocktail hour. 
    Plus, I think cocktail hour is a natural part of entertaining. If I went to a ceremony and was immediately sat down to dinner, I'd feel weird. Cocktail hour is also for your guests to mingle, hopefully get a drink or two and some appetizers. Then people can settle down at a table and dine. 

    I see people saying an entrance after the couple being at cocktail hour is weird. I get it, but DH and I didn't give two fucks about that, haha. We mingled at cocktail hour. The DJ then announced it was dinner time. We and our parents and bridal party stepped outside the door, and he just introduced everyone. Our party sat down and we went to cut the cake. Seemed to work just fine!

    By contrast, once I was at a cocktail hour and spotted the bride/groom/bridal party eating in a private room. They weren't taking pictures. They were just having, like, their own little private event. Now that was weird. It's like they did it so they could be "formally announced" into the reception. If you're not taking pictures, spend time with your guests! 
    Our wedding planner suggested this to DD. They did do pictures during the cocktail hour, and it was to make sure they ate something. I was not in favor of it (and several other things the planner did) but I didn't get to make the call.
    Knottie1452098987
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I thought the cocktail hour was intended to entertain your guests while you have pictures taken. It would seem really odd to me, as a guest, to see the B&G mingling, then leave, then come back in. Either don't go to the cocktail hour or do your announcement when you get there regardless of which festivity is occurring at the moment.
    I think traditionally perhaps the cocktail hour did function that way. However, with more and more people doing first looks (and for the amount of money you pay for cocktail hour), heck yes the couple wants to be at their own cocktail hour. 
    Plus, I think cocktail hour is a natural part of entertaining. If I went to a ceremony and was immediately sat down to dinner, I'd feel weird. Cocktail hour is also for your guests to mingle, hopefully get a drink or two and some appetizers. Then people can settle down at a table and dine. 

    I see people saying an entrance after the couple being at cocktail hour is weird. I get it, but DH and I didn't give two fucks about that, haha. We mingled at cocktail hour. The DJ then announced it was dinner time. We and our parents and bridal party stepped outside the door, and he just introduced everyone. Our party sat down and we went to cut the cake. Seemed to work just fine!

    By contrast, once I was at a cocktail hour and spotted the bride/groom/bridal party eating in a private room. They weren't taking pictures. They were just having, like, their own little private event. Now that was weird. It's like they did it so they could be "formally announced" into the reception. If you're not taking pictures, spend time with your guests! 
    Our wedding planner suggested this to DD. They did do pictures during the cocktail hour, and it was to make sure they ate something. I was not in favor of it (and several other things the planner did) but I didn't get to make the call.
    I can see that being of concern; plenty of people worry they'll be socializing so much they won't get to eat. But speaking from my own experience, during cocktail hour it's like all the waiters bee-lined to us to offer us the apps. I even got to budge in line at the bar, haha. The more time to socialize, the better, IMHO. 
    ________________________________


  • We didn't do a first look and our cocktail hour was only an hour long. We got more than enough pictures and were still back in time to enjoy the last 10-15 minutes of the cocktail hour. It's important to give your photographer a list of the shots you want and to make sure they have a plan so you can go take your pictures and get back without spending hours.

    Since the reception was in a different area (cocktail hour in the castle, reception in the tent in the courtyard of the castle) we did still do an entrance. Everyone was gathered into the tent while DH and I stayed back a few minutes and then we went in and had our first dance. Then dinner was served.

    I agree with PP that if reception and cocktail hour and in the same room it'd be strange to leave and then come back. If you are planning for joining the entire cocktail hour maybe just hang back for a few minutes after the ceremony and be announced at the cocktail hour. I find it a little odd to have a cocktail hour in that case though as I'm pretty sure cocktail hours are meant to give guests something to do/eat/drink while the bride and groom are taking pics.
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    holyguacamole79crowsgirl15
  • Mingle with your guests at the cocktail party, ring a bell or something to have guests move to the reception area while you (and your bridal party if they are being introduced too) wait outside while everyone is seated.  Have the DJ introduce you.  This especially transitions well if you are doing your first dances before food service because you walk right out to the dance floor to be introduced and flow right in to your first dance.  

    We did this at our wedding, it wasn't weird.  It is weird (to me) when the couple disappears for an hour or two just not be 'seen' at the cocktail party.  All your guests know who you are - the whole point of the introductions isn't that you're unknown, it's the celebration of being announced as husband and wife. 
    katsandtattsILoveBeachMusicOurWildKingdomSP29
  • @willthiswork That's exactly what I envisioned us doing, I'm glad to hear from experience that it works and isn't weird! Thank you! The only difference is that we will be doing toasts after intros and then our "spotlight" dances to segway better into the party :)
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • You need to do what you feel will make you happy. I'll be honest with you, if you want to enjoy cocktail hour with your guests, it won't take away from your "grand entrance". No one cares as much about your wedding as you do.

    I'm recently married and we did the first look in order to get bridal party photos and so we could enjoy cocktail hour and I know the struggle you're having as I had the same one. After the reception, we took some family photos in the garden and I went back to the bridal suite to touch up my makeup. We had about 20 minutes left in the cocktail hour and I wasn't about to hide away in the bridal suite while my family/friends were having fun without me! We paid for cocktail hour and we wanted to enjoy it with our guests so we did. I got to mingle with family and friends, take some candid photos with guests, and eat the hors d'oeuvres that we had chosen. It was so nice to see family/friends in a casual setting prior to the reception. I would have regretted not going to cocktail hour and missing out on the food/drink in order to get a "grand entrance" that my guests really didn't care about.

    My advice would be to do what will make you happy and don't worry so much about the details. It will all work out and be beautiful.
    thisismynickname2katsandtatts
  • I also have never understood the "hide from your guests" thing.  Assuming all of your guests actually attended the wedding ceremony, the jig is up to what you're wearing and what you look like!  Your guests want to see you and your new hubby as much as they can.  If you are in a position to attend and socialize (and actually HOST) the cocktail part of your party, because you took pictures early, or you didn't take many pictures, or you just want to be a part of the biggest party of your life :smile:, then by all means join in and have a blast.  Your guests will be thrilled for a number of reasons!  

    If you ALSO want a fun grand entrance into the reception ... this can also be accomplished, as many previous posters described.  If it's all in the same room, just step out from the socializing at some point and get ready to return!  If it's in a different area, it's much easier.  When it's time to be seated for the dinner, let your guests go ahead of you (all), and then once your guests are seated, you all can be introduced into the party!  After all, this part of the day is the party, so it should be fun!  

    I would MUCH rather have any of this ^, then to be waiting around wondering if the bride and groom will ever be joining the celebration.  (As I have at a few receptions where the pics took TOO LONG)  



    OurWildKingdomSP29katsandtattsthisismynickname2
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I don't see a problem with being announced at your reception regardless if you were present at cocktail hour or not. Announcing the bride and groom's entrance is a wedding tradition that otherwise doesn't hold much purpose. Your guests have already seen you at your ceremony, you've potentially had a receiving line already, and they know you're the bride and groom- no one *needs* an entrance (it's a fun tradition). So I say do it when you want.

    We were present for the last bit of our cocktail hour. We were announced into the reception, along with our WP, as we walked to our seats for dinner. We also did our first dance before dinner was served (WP sat down, we went to the dance floor).

    I also agree that unless you are busy doing photos, and while it's fine to take a few minutes to be alone with your new spouse, don't hide from your guests! Go join them, enjoy the party you are having!

    P.S. Do people really have trouble eating at their wedding? I did not have this problem at all. Ok, we missed out on much of the cocktail hour food, but that's because we were taking photos. But we had a receiving line, did some table visits, and mingled with our guests all night while sitting down for all 3 courses at dinner and enjoying the late night buffet. I just love food.
    katsandtattsdonethatthisismynickname2
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited July 2016
    Did anyone nix the grand entrance/intro?  I'm thinking of doing that myself....but is that disrespectful to the parents/bridal party? (they won't be introduced?)

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Did anyone nix the grand entrance/intro?  I'm thinking of doing that myself....but is that disrespectful to the parents/bridal party? (they won't be introduced?)
    H and I weren't introduced at DD's wedding and preferred it that way.
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Right.  I would rather do programs now and list the bridal party that way.  I don't think anyone in the party would miss it...I hope...

    ILoveBeachMusic
  • Did anyone nix the grand entrance/intro?  I'm thinking of doing that myself....but is that disrespectful to the parents/bridal party? (they won't be introduced?)
    We didn't introduce parents or BP. Everyone was really happy about it. They went to cocktail hour, were mingling with guests, found their tables (we did a sweetheart table) and relaxed. My SILs both said how much they appreciated not having to be announced. 
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