Customs and Traditions

outside wedding brunch before ceremony help

Wedding is outside at a state park in Texas. Throwing tradition to the wind and having a brunch under a large pavilion before the ceremony to serve as an ice breaker bc this is the first time for our families to meet and also the first time for my divorced parents to be in the same vicinity in 15 years. Brunch and ceremony are both taking place under the group pavilion.

main question: should i wear my dress during the brunch or should i change before the ceremony? this is a very informal event, no formal wedding dress, no wedding party, no caterers, etc. I set the dress code very casual since it is May, outside, and in Texas . Having a hard time deciding how the transition from brunch to ceremony will take place and any advice would be greatly appreciated. 
KnotRiley

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  • Wedding is outside at a state park in Texas. Throwing tradition to the wind and having a brunch under a large pavilion before the ceremony to serve as an ice breaker bc this is the first time for our families to meet and also the first time for my divorced parents to be in the same vicinity in 15 years. Brunch and ceremony are both taking place under the group pavilion.


    main question: should i wear my dress during the brunch or should i change before the ceremony? this is a very informal event, no formal wedding dress, no wedding party, no caterers, etc. I set the dress code very casual since it is May, outside, and in Texas . Having a hard time deciding how the transition from brunch to ceremony will take place and any advice would be greatly appreciated. 
    So is the main question: should you wear your dress to the brunch or not? If so, my answer is: whatever you want! I would since you only get to wear your wedding dress once ever. Plus I assume you'll go right into your ceremony, so there wouldn't really be time for a wardrobe change.

    But I'm kind of confused about your event in general. So is the brunch your reception? Or are you having another hosted event after the ceremony? Is there any reason you wouldn't do the ceremony first and then brunch reception after? Whether people meet/greet in the hours before or after your ceremony won't make any difference.

    Also, if you aren't getting this catered, how are you feeding/serving people? What about set up/tear down? What are you doing for plates/utensils/cups? Since it's not catered, I assume it's buffet style. What about dirty dishes? Who picks up? You in your dress? 
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I don't get why having a brunch before the ceremony will break the ice.  These people aren't going to become bosom buddies after 5 minutes.  I mean I would think talking about how wonderful the ceremony was would help break the ice and they really can't do that if the ceremony is after the brunch.

    Also are your guests used to this type of arrangement?  I think some people may be really confused as to why the reception is occurring before the ceremony.  Is the brunch your reception?  Or is the brunch only for families?

    And you shouldn't have set any dress code.  You shouldn't tell others what to wear.

    And no caterers?  So who is providing, setting up, serving and cleaning up the food?

  • i have the pavilion reserved for the entire day, 8am to sundown. its basically a family bbq with a ceremony thrown in the middle somewhere. the officiant is a family friend that is flying in from San Fran so i can have the ceremony whatever time i  want. i am preparing all the food and my family that is coming in the night before will help me set it up Sat morning. Brunch starts at 12. Ceremony around 2-3 followed by champagne and cake. there are historical markers and museums in the park so we plan to tour those afterwards. come back to the park and those that need to leave can and the rest will hang out, play washers, and have a taco bar - utilizing the grills on site for fajitas, etc. 

    i am wearing cowboy boots and a cute lacy ivory dress i found at forever 21. comes to my knees and is not a formal wedding dress. i planned to change out of it after the formalities (ceremony/cake). we have been together for 8 years and are just making it official without the debt or big to do. 
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited May 2015

    i have the pavilion reserved for the entire day, 8am to sundown. its basically a family bbq with a ceremony thrown in the middle somewhere. the officiant is a family friend that is flying in from San Fran so i can have the ceremony whatever time i  want. i am preparing all the food and my family that is coming in the night before will help me set it up Sat morning. Brunch starts at 12. Ceremony around 2-3 followed by champagne and cake. there are historical markers and museums in the park so we plan to tour those afterwards. come back to the park and those that need to leave can and the rest will hang out, play washers, and have a taco bar - utilizing the grills on site for fajitas, etc. 


    i am wearing cowboy boots and a cute lacy ivory dress i found at forever 21. comes to my knees and is not a formal wedding dress. i planned to change out of it after the formalities (ceremony/cake). we have been together for 8 years and are just making it official without the debt or big to do. 




    An informal ceremony/ reception sounds great and I love the dress.

    But...

    • How are you going to keep the food at the appropriate temperature? How will you keep the champagne cold?
    • Do you have chairs for everyone?
    • What happens if it rains?
    • Did your family volunteer their help? Or were they volunTOLD?
    • Are you a chef? Do you know how to make quality food for a large group?
    • Who will operate the grill?
    • Where are the bathrooms?
    • Do your guests want to tour the historical markers?
    • If they don't want to go on the tour, what can the do in the meantime?
    • Who is setting up/ breaking down your event?
    • Will you have a microphone? Will people be able to hear your vows?
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    i have the pavilion reserved for the entire day, 8am to sundown. its basically a family bbq with a ceremony thrown in the middle somewhere. the officiant is a family friend that is flying in from San Fran so i can have the ceremony whatever time i  want. i am preparing all the food and my family that is coming in the night before will help me set it up Sat morning. Brunch starts at 12. Ceremony around 2-3 followed by champagne and cake. there are historical markers and museums in the park so we plan to tour those afterwards. come back to the park and those that need to leave can and the rest will hang out, play washers, and have a taco bar - utilizing the grills on site for fajitas, etc. 


    i am wearing cowboy boots and a cute lacy ivory dress i found at forever 21. comes to my knees and is not a formal wedding dress. i planned to change out of it after the formalities (ceremony/cake). we have been together for 8 years and are just making it official without the debt or big to do. 
    No, this is not just a family bbq with a ceremony thrown in the middle.  This is your wedding (regardless of how fancy or not it is) and your guests are going to expect a format that makes sense, meaning seeing the ceremony when they first arrive.  I really think having the ceremony 2-3 hours after brunch start is just going to be confusing.  The ceremony is what really kicks off the celebration because before that what is there to celebrate?  That you are going to get married in 3 hours?

    I am assuming that the ceremony is going to be pretty quick right?  So then have the ceremony start at 11:45 and then your brunch can start at 12 like you have planned.  Then after probably 3-4 hours (not sure if you are having music/dancing) the reception will be over and then everything else you have planned is just an extra and isn't really a part of your wedding.

    I am all for having things be less then traditional but changing around the series of events is just confusing to your guests.

    As for the food I may let others touch on that one.

  • edited May 2015
  • KatWAG said:


    • How are you going to keep the food at the appropriate temperature? menu consists of mini blueberry muffins, banana nut bread, chicken salad on hawaiian bread, turkey and brie on hawaiian, sun dried tomato pasta salad, deviled eggs, hummus, cheese tray, fruit - nothing that requires heat and can all be stored in coolers and refrigerators.
    • How will you keep the champagne cold? purchased 5.5 gallon pails that the bottles will be placed in ice - brunch will have a mimosa bar so coolers will store the champagne.
    • Do you have chairs for everyone? the pavilion has 16 picnic tables that i can move around to accommodate. already confirmed noone needs special seating. 
    • What happens if it rains? the pavilion has the capacity of 100
    • Did your family volunteer their help? Or were they volunTOLD? bf mom is making the sunflower cupcake cake and grooms cake, brother is my "wedding planner" everyone loves the idea
    • Are you a chef? Do you know how to make quality food for a large group? no i am not a chef but i have experience catering for parties of 75 and more 
    • Who will operate the grill? grill comes into play later in the evening when we are just hanging out. my brothers, boyfriend, friends, whoever can manage the grill - not an issue
    • Where are the bathrooms? 50 ft from the pavilion
    • Do your guests want to tour the historical markers? some yes, that is why i am having that last. those that need or want to leave after formalities can. its a 1.5-2 hr drive for everyone so some will not stay the whole day.
    • If they don't want to go on the tour, what can the do in the meantime? its not a tour guided tour, they can either leave or stay at the pavilion. the touring isnt set in stone as the museum closes at 5. so if formalities run longer then its ruled out. not a big deal.
    • Who is setting up/ breaking down your event? me, husb, brothers, family.. i have several hotel rooms booked for people to stay both or 1 night whichever works for them
    • Will you have a microphone? Will people be able to hear your vows? no PA systems allowed but we will have a setup. i dont believe a microphone will be necessary. 
    attached is the pavilion. i am arranging the tables at a diagonal to create a path down the middle. 

    i have the pavilion reserved for the entire day, 8am to sundown. its basically a family bbq with a ceremony thrown in the middle somewhere. the officiant is a family friend that is flying in from San Fran so i can have the ceremony whatever time i  want. i am preparing all the food and my family that is coming in the night before will help me set it up Sat morning. Brunch starts at 12. Ceremony around 2-3 followed by champagne and cake. there are historical markers and museums in the park so we plan to tour those afterwards. come back to the park and those that need to leave can and the rest will hang out, play washers, and have a taco bar - utilizing the grills on site for fajitas, etc. 


    i am wearing cowboy boots and a cute lacy ivory dress i found at forever 21. comes to my knees and is not a formal wedding dress. i planned to change out of it after the formalities (ceremony/cake). we have been together for 8 years and are just making it official without the debt or big to do. 




    An informal ceremony/ reception sounds great and I love the dress.

    But...

    • How are you going to keep the food at the appropriate temperature? How will you keep the champagne cold?
    • Do you have chairs for everyone?
    • What happens if it rains?
    • Did your family volunteer their help? Or were they volunTOLD?
    • Are you a chef? Do you know how to make quality food for a large group?
    • Who will operate the grill?
    • Where are the bathrooms?
    • Do your guests want to tour the historical markers?
    • If they don't want to go on the tour, what can the do in the meantime?
    • Who is setting up/ breaking down your event?
    • Will you have a microphone? Will people be able to hear your vows?

  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    KatWAG said:


    • How are you going to keep the food at the appropriate temperature? menu consists of mini blueberry muffins, banana nut bread, chicken salad on hawaiian bread, turkey and brie on hawaiian, sun dried tomato pasta salad, deviled eggs, hummus, cheese tray, fruit - nothing that requires heat and can all be stored in coolers and refrigerators.
    • How will you keep the champagne cold? purchased 5.5 gallon pails that the bottles will be placed in ice - brunch will have a mimosa bar so coolers will store the champagne.
    • Do you have chairs for everyone? the pavilion has 16 picnic tables that i can move around to accommodate. already confirmed noone needs special seating. 
    • What happens if it rains? the pavilion has the capacity of 100
    • Did your family volunteer their help? Or were they volunTOLD? bf mom is making the sunflower cupcake cake and grooms cake, brother is my "wedding planner" everyone loves the idea
    • Are you a chef? Do you know how to make quality food for a large group? no i am not a chef but i have experience catering for parties of 75 and more 
    • Who will operate the grill? grill comes into play later in the evening when we are just hanging out. my brothers, boyfriend, friends, whoever can manage the grill - not an issue
    • Where are the bathrooms? 50 ft from the pavilion
    • Do your guests want to tour the historical markers? some yes, that is why i am having that last. those that need or want to leave after formalities can. its a 1.5-2 hr drive for everyone so some will not stay the whole day.
    • If they don't want to go on the tour, what can the do in the meantime? its not a tour guided tour, they can either leave or stay at the pavilion. the touring isnt set in stone as the museum closes at 5. so if formalities run longer then its ruled out. not a big deal.
    • Who is setting up/ breaking down your event? me, husb, brothers, family.. i have several hotel rooms booked for people to stay both or 1 night whichever works for them
    • Will you have a microphone? Will people be able to hear your vows? no PA systems allowed but we will have a setup. i dont believe a microphone will be necessary. 
    attached is the pavilion. i am arranging the tables at a diagonal to create a path down the middle. 

    i have the pavilion reserved for the entire day, 8am to sundown. its basically a family bbq with a ceremony thrown in the middle somewhere. the officiant is a family friend that is flying in from San Fran so i can have the ceremony whatever time i  want. i am preparing all the food and my family that is coming in the night before will help me set it up Sat morning. Brunch starts at 12. Ceremony around 2-3 followed by champagne and cake. there are historical markers and museums in the park so we plan to tour those afterwards. come back to the park and those that need to leave can and the rest will hang out, play washers, and have a taco bar - utilizing the grills on site for fajitas, etc. 


    i am wearing cowboy boots and a cute lacy ivory dress i found at forever 21. comes to my knees and is not a formal wedding dress. i planned to change out of it after the formalities (ceremony/cake). we have been together for 8 years and are just making it official without the debt or big to do. 




    An informal ceremony/ reception sounds great and I love the dress.

    But...

    • How are you going to keep the food at the appropriate temperature? How will you keep the champagne cold?
    • Do you have chairs for everyone?
    • What happens if it rains?
    • Did your family volunteer their help? Or were they volunTOLD?
    • Are you a chef? Do you know how to make quality food for a large group?
    • Who will operate the grill?
    • Where are the bathrooms?
    • Do your guests want to tour the historical markers?
    • If they don't want to go on the tour, what can the do in the meantime?
    • Who is setting up/ breaking down your event?
    • Will you have a microphone? Will people be able to hear your vows?


    That picture still leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • were you able to see the responses to your questions or just the picture? sorry, i am new to this.
    • How are you going to keep the food at the appropriate temperature? menu consists of mini blueberry muffins, banana nut bread, chicken salad on hawaiian bread, turkey and brie on hawaiian, sun dried tomato pasta salad, deviled eggs, hummus, cheese tray, fruit - nothing that requires heat and can all be stored in coolers and refrigerators.
    • How will you keep the champagne cold? purchased 5.5 gallon pails that the bottles will be placed in ice - brunch will have a mimosa bar so coolers will store the champagne.
    • Do you have chairs for everyone? the pavilion has 16 picnic tables that i can move around to accommodate. already confirmed noone needs special seating. 
    • What happens if it rains? the pavilion has the capacity of 100
    • Did your family volunteer their help? Or were they volunTOLD? bf mom is making the sunflower cupcake cake and grooms cake, brother is my "wedding planner" everyone loves the idea
    • Are you a chef? Do you know how to make quality food for a large group? no i am not a chef but i have experience catering for parties of 75 and more 
    • Who will operate the grill? grill comes into play later in the evening when we are just hanging out. my brothers, boyfriend, friends, whoever can manage the grill - not an issue
    • Where are the bathrooms? 50 ft from the pavilion
    • Do your guests want to tour the historical markers? some yes, that is why i am having that last. those that need or want to leave after formalities can. its a 1.5-2 hr drive for everyone so some will not stay the whole day.
    • If they don't want to go on the tour, what can the do in the meantime? its not a tour guided tour, they can either leave or stay at the pavilion. the touring isnt set in stone as the museum closes at 5. so if formalities run longer then its ruled out. not a big deal.
    • Who is setting up/ breaking down your event? me, husb, brothers, family.. i have several hotel rooms booked for people to stay both or 1 night whichever works for them
    • Will you have a microphone? Will people be able to hear your vows? no PA systems allowed but we will have a setup. i dont believe a microphone will be necessary. 
    attached is the pavilion. i am arranging the tables at a diagonal to create a path down the middle. 
    KatWAG
  • I think you have everything covered and planned well. I too am having an outdoor pavilion ceremony/reception. Personally... if you're going to do the brunch 1st I would then go change into your cute dress for the ceremony. It will all to the feel that "this is a wedding now" and you will be presenting yourself at that moment as a bride. I am decorating with twinkle lights and candles and having the ceremony 1st right where the reception will be so we don't have to decorate 2 different areas. Have a beautifle and fun wedding.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    i have the pavilion reserved for the entire day, 8am to sundown. its basically a family bbq with a ceremony thrown in the middle somewhere. the officiant is a family friend that is flying in from San Fran so i can have the ceremony whatever time i  want. i am preparing all the food and my family that is coming in the night before will help me set it up Sat morning. Brunch starts at 12. Ceremony around 2-3 followed by champagne and cake. there are historical markers and museums in the park so we plan to tour those afterwards. come back to the park and those that need to leave can and the rest will hang out, play washers, and have a taco bar - utilizing the grills on site for fajitas, etc. 


    i am wearing cowboy boots and a cute lacy ivory dress i found at forever 21. comes to my knees and is not a formal wedding dress. i planned to change out of it after the formalities (ceremony/cake). we have been together for 8 years and are just making it official without the debt or big to do. 


    You say you are having your ceremony in Texas, but your officiant is from California. Have you determined for certain whether his credentials will allow him to perform a valid ceremony in a state other than California?
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'd be wary of leaving some of that food sitting out in warm temperatures for the day (chicken salad, deviled eggs). Can you figure out a way to keep those stored on top of ice or cold water? 

  • If you opt to eat first & then ceremony, I would change into your wedding dress after eating. It would be bad if you spilled something on your dress while eating because then any photos you do later in your dress would have the stain on it if it doesn't come out.
  • This is pretty similar to Jewish traditions. Generally, the practice is to greet guests in the dress and then have the groom come in to attach the veil before the ceremony.
  • Some of you really need to work on reading comprehension. She is storing the food in coolers and refrigerators. 
    She knows her guests best, and this sounds like a casual type family thing. Even though yes it's (GASP) her wedding, it doesn't have to be planned to the inth. 

    I left this site awhile back and decided to pop back in today. You ladies are as uptight as ever, if not worse. 

    OP, what you have planned sounds amazing and fun. It sounds like you have been very thoughtful and have planned well. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I would have the ceremony first or within the first 30 minutes.

        It's the main event so to speak.  That way IF people need leave for whatever reason (work, babysitters, whatever), then they do not feel obligated to wait around for 3 hours for the main event.

    I can see people showing up at 1-2pm for the ceremony.   Eating doesn't take that much time.  So in theory they could still eat and not have to wait around for the ceremony.


    Other than that, I think your plans are fine.


    This is pretty similar to Jewish traditions. Generally, the practice is to greet guests in the dress and then have the groom come in to attach the veil before the ceremony.

    I've seen this too Jewish weddings.  The difference in the ones I saw was the ceremony was still about an hour or so after the invite time, not 3 hours.  There were people who knew it wouldn't be starting right away they showed up closer to the ceremony time.






    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. 
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I find it hard enough to speak loud enough for a group of 20 to hear me. A group of 100 without some sort of microphone seems impossible without yelling.
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