Wediquette Wednesday: How much time should we plan between the ceremony and reception?


Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My fiancé and I are planning our reception. The venue we want isn’t available until two hours after the ceremony. We don’t want to leave our guests hanging, but this is our dream reception venue. How much time should we plan between the ceremony and reception?

Answer: Typically, even if the reception directly follows the ceremony, the bridal party is detained for photos. In some cases, there is a large gap in time between the the wedding and reception. For example, when there is a morning wedding and an evening reception. The goal is to keep guests occupied so they don’t wander off on their own to eat, drink and be merry for two hours then show up worse for wear, not eat the food you planned and paid for or worse, get carried away by the temptations of New Orleans and not show up at all! (Guests: Showing up over served or not showing up at all are both huge wedding guest “don’ts”.) In the case of a morning wedding with an evening reception, couples can plan activates such as brunch or lunch and tours. In the case of an hour or two, there are a couple of options. Since Louisiana allows open containers, some New Orleans couples have canned refreshments available in bins outside of the ceremony venue for guests to grab and sip while the bridal party and family get photos made and it’s time to either board busses or second line to the reception locations. Whether or not there is a second line, many couples opt to entertain guests with a cocktail reception featuring beverages and light hors d’oeuvres. If it’s in your budget, either option or both would work for the timeframe you suggested.


Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email





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