Outdoor Weddings

What to do with guest?

My daughter is having an outside wedding on May 1, 2010. We are serving lemonade before the ceremony under a shade tree. Does anyone have any ideas on what to have the guest do while they are waiting on the pics to be taken? My daughter does not want the guest to start eating until she and her groom to be arrive. The ceremony and reception are at the same place.

Re: What to do with guest?

  • Before the ceremony, would your daughter be okay with serving guests little munchy items? Something like pretzels or salted nuts would give guests something to nibble on and also help break up the acidity of the lemonade. As far as something to do, outdoor venues are great, particualrly if it's very beautiful because guests will tend to just enjoy nature and engage in conversation with one another. I would say that without food, I wouldn't expect guests to wait for more than thirty minutes to an hour for the ceremony to begin, but even that might be pushing it.  

    I would be sure to provide some seating near the tree too, particularly if you have some elderly guests who might not be comfortable standing for long periods of time.

  • I am confused.  Are you asking what to do with the guests before or after the ceremony? 

    Before the ceremony, I would think that guests are being asked to arrive at a specific time and then the ceremony will start.  I would not have guests waiting for a ceremony to start.  If they are going to be waiting, there definitely needs to be seating.

    After the ceremony, how long are the bride and groom expecting to do pictures?  If it is anything more than 15 minutes, as a guest I would expect for there to be some appetizers.  I don't think that guests would expect to sit down for lunch/dinner without the bride and groom. 

    During our cocktail hour/reception, we provided lots of cocktail tables and seating aside from the dinner seating.  We had full appetizers and an open bar.  We also took advantage of all of the grass by having lawn games set up. 
  • It sounds like you're talking about the time between the ceremony and reception... people often have a cocktail hour during that time with drinks and appetizers to entertain the guests.
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  • Thanks for the ideas, and yes I am talking about the time after the ceremony and before the sit down dinner. She has plenty of those white wooden wedding chairs for guest to sit in. She is having an open bar & dancing, but she was going to open it up after dinner. We are trying not to offend the ones who do not appove of the cocktails by waiting, we thought by then they would proprably be gone. (The older guest) 
    I just went to a wedding and the guest started eating without the wedding party and everyone was finished by the time they arrived from having the pics made. The wedding party didn't even get to eat or visit. I guess we will just offer both alcoholic drink and non, then get something for them to munch on.

    Thanks again.
  • It sounds like the catering company screwed that up.  Or the bride/groom did not give explicit instructions.  I have never attended a wedding where food was served before the wedding party introductions.  Very rude.   

    So, the bar will not be open until after dinner?  Do 'older' guests traditionally leave weddings early in your area?  I have been to weddings all over the country and generally if someone is going to leave early, he/she wouldn't leave until after the cake is cut.  Thus, the older guests would still be there after dinner.   

    Your solution to offer drinks and get appetizers sounds like the best way to go about this.  It is also what most guests will expect.   

  • I would just play some background music and serve drinks, perhaps you could just offer lemonade or punch rather than having the open bar before dinner (which will ramp the costs up), you could always serve a few canapes.

    No way should the caterers serve ANYBODY dinner before the bride and groom arrive, I would be fuming!
  • And maybe your daughter can have the single-sex group pics taken before the ceremony, so there aren't so many to take afterwards.
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  • While it's perfectly fine for the reception to take place later in the day, since your ceremony and reception are at the same location, you are right: your guests need to be entertained while waiting.  Since you are serving lemonade before the ceremony, why not continue serving the lemonade and other drinks during this down time?  It is typical for receptions start with a cocktail hour before the bride and groom arrive.  Are you serving alcohol?  If so, this would be a great time to open the bar.  No offense to your daughter, but it would be rude to not serve any type of refreshment while your guests are waiting.  Ask her if a few simple appetizers could be available at this time, like cheese and fruit.  This is also a great time for guests to find their dinner seats, sign the guestbook if they have yet to do so, and mingle among themselves.  If there are children, consider a few fun yard games to keep them (and their parents) happy.

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