“Is it ok to have a 3 p.m. ceremony and start the reception at 6 p.m.? What should guests do while we are taking photos?” I am frequently asked these question, and here are a few options:
You can have a 3 p.m. ceremony, and at 4 p.m. or so the guests will return to their hotels. It would be helpful if you provide round-trip transportation for them, but it isn’t a requirement. The time from 4 to 6 can just be down time, or the guests can wander the city, or of course end up at a bar (which is the least desirable, since you will be having amazing food and drinks starting at 6!)
You can also give your guests a map and a letter in a welcome bag when they arrive at their hotels with ideas of things to do. Maybe some will want to make a quick visit to the Barnes Foundation or The Franklin Institute, for example.
Another option is to hire the Big Red Bus and give the guests a tour of the city.
Another option is to have a hospitality room at a hotel- just some place for guests to sit if they are from the suburbs and don’t have a hotel room and don’t live in town. The question really is how many guests will have hotel rooms and who will have no place to go. With a time lag between ceremony and reception, I often see women changing their clothes, especially if the reception is a black tie/long gown event.
Or you can plan nothing and let your guests decide what to do.
In my experience, guests are pretty resourceful in the period between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception. You know your crowd… so what do you think works best?
Photo courtesy of Chrissy Everhart, Clair Pruett Studios