Skip to main content

Post content has been hidden

To unblock this content, please click here

Cheryl
Dedicated November 2021

How to fill the space between end of reception and cocktail hour

Cheryl, on July 13, 2020 at 12:25 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 31

Hello All,

For our wedding next June, our reception is at a hotel and our ceremony is at a small church about a 10 - 15 minute drive away. Because the church is so small and has limited parking, we are going to ask our guests to park at the hotel and we will provide transportation to and from the ceremony. We should be able to get everyone from the church back to the hotel two trips, but we don't want to start our cocktail hour too early and half the guests miss half the cocktail hour. Conversely, we'll have guests waiting at the hotel while the rest of the guests are in route. So, my question is: does anyone have any ideas on things I can do to keep my guests entertained for about 45 minutes to an hour before our cocktail starts? I'm going to talk to our event planner at the hotel and ask if she has any ideas, since I'm thinking she may have encountered this issue in the past. But I'm throwing it out here to get other ideas. Annnnnnnndddd GO!

31 Comments

Latest activity by Cheryl, on July 20, 2020 at 6:28 AM
  • Samantha
    Expert October 2021
    Samantha ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    Could you hire extra transportation so that everyone may arrive at the same time?
    • Reply
  • Jessica
    Master September 2020
    Jessica ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    What in particular are you planning for cocktail hour that people are going to miss? I would personally just plan a longer cocktail hour.
    We attended a wedding last fall that had transport to and from the ceremony, and they just provided enough shuttles to take all the guests at once. Their cocktail hour was close to two hours, waiting for the wedding party and couple to finish their pictures and get back to the hotel. We all just mingled and had appetizers (which were staggered so if people come later like family who has been doing pictures there was still plenty of food.)
    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    I would just start the cocktail hour. The purpose of it is to kill time and that seems like exactly what you need. Maybe extend it to 90 minutes though.

    • Reply
  • M
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    I agree with pp, i think it's fine to extend the cocktail hour.

    • Reply
  • Sylvana
    Devoted August 2021
    Sylvana ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    I went to a wedding last year where the same kind of thing happened. We had to wait both to get on the charter bus and then again for about half hour before the actual ceremony started. There was nothing planned during that time and honestly I don't think anyone noticed. I didn't even really think of it until just now. We just went to the bar and bought ourselves a drink and mingled while we waited. Honestly it was one drink at the venue, one drink at the hotel while we waited. No one complained. No one seemed annoyed. And everyone did the same thing. Just bought a drink at the bar while waiting. Maybe I'm wrong and it's poor etiquette but I don't think you need to do anything extra, personally.
    • Reply
  • Cheryl
    Dedicated November 2021
    Cheryl ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    Hiring extra transportation isn't really an option. We are using a restored, vintage bus (my fiance is a bus driver, so this is right up his alley and something that will be representative of him in our wedding). The bus seats a little more than 50+ and we're probably not having more than 100 people, so it's simply easier and more cost effective to use 1 bus and make 2 trips. The first load of folks will have about a half hour to 40 minutes at the reception venue until the next busload. So I just need to figure out how to fill about an hour before cocktail hour starts.

    • Reply
  • Cheryl
    Dedicated November 2021
    Cheryl ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    Just as adding an extra bus isn't really a viable, or cost effective option, neither is extending the cocktail hour. Besides the added cost, you will still have people who will have time to enjoy the entire cocktail (now) 90 minutes while others may only get half of that. I find that to be unfair to folks that, for whatever reason, end up on the second trip. Plus the added expense would mean we are spending the entire amount for extra time while only half the people get to enjoy it. Not really a great option. KWIM?

    • Reply
  • M
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    I think it's ok then to not fill the space in between, people find ways to mingle. the last wedding i went to there was a gap time in between when we could enter the cocktail hour so people just stood outside the venue mingling amongst themselves until it was open for guests to enter.

    • Reply
  • Cheryl
    Dedicated November 2021
    Cheryl ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    See, I don't think it's "poor etiquette" because some things just can't be helped. I mean, it's not like there's a 2 or 3 hour gap. It will probably be 45 minutes. It's 15 minutes between the hotel and the church so, once the first load of people are off the bus, it will turn right around and head back to pick up the remainder of folks. So, 15 minutes to the church, maybe 10 minutes to load and 15 minutes back to the hotel.

    My initial thought was to offer things like maybe a few games -- checkers, jenga, etc. Or maybe have a large collage of pics of me and my fiance and have people find certain objects in the pics. Just things to keep them busy for a little while. There IS a bar on the same level, but on the other side of the hotel. I suppose there may be a few folks that may wonder over there which I'd be perfectly ok with. But thanks for letting me know your experience with this sort of thing. It helps.

    • Reply
  • Amanda
    Savvy November 2020
    Amanda ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    Maybe set something up for the people that will be waiting at the church. A stationary table with some snacks and drinks?
    • Reply
  • Cheryl
    Dedicated November 2021
    Cheryl ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    I don't think the church would allow that. The church we are using is not an "active" church and is really only used for weddings and couples are allotted a 2 and a half hour time. I imagine those that are waiting at the church for transport will chat amongst themselves or watch us take pictures. They'll only be waiting for maybe a half hour or so.

    • Reply
  • Kimberly
    Super March 2021
    Kimberly ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment
    I get that the restored bus is the look and feel that you want but you are also asking about half of your guests to sit around about 40 minutes at the church waiting on the bus to return. That’s actually worse than having them wait at the hotel. At least at the hotel they could get a drink, mingle around. What are the second group going to do at the church waiting for their ride?
    • Reply
  • H
    Devoted August 2023
    Hhh ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    I’ve been to a wedding that did multiple bus trips, and I highly recommend just starting cocktail hour early. The younger people who were ready to celebrate jumped on the first bus, while the older generations took more time looking around and talking to people and were happy to catch the second. This actually worked out better than many weddings without transportation because the crowd to the bar was split into groups, so everyone spent less time in line. Maybe hold off on passing any nice appetizers until everyone arrives, but otherwise I find it hard to believe anyone would think it unfair that they had 30min less drinking time.
    • Reply
  • Cheryl
    Dedicated November 2021
    Cheryl ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say. But since the bus only seats so many, there is no choice but for some to wait and make the second trip. I'm thinking that those that chose to wait to take the second trip will mingle amongst themselves and/or watch up take pictures (and probably take pictures themselves). Of course, any that want to, are also free to drive their own cars and try and find parking. We are eliminating that step for them, if they chose it. The fact is, there is simply no way to transport people other than by making two trips.

    • Reply
  • Cheryl
    Dedicated November 2021
    Cheryl ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    Well, we're not really going to have the much of an age gap in our guest list. The majority of our guest list - I'd say 90% are going to be in 40 - 50 age group with the rest being parents and a few relatives that are older than that and a handful that are younger (our children and their S/Os) so there really won't be a "younger" and "older" group. I don't want to have cocktail hour start as soon as the first group arrives because, as I stated earlier, the group that arrives second now gets a cocktail...half hour? And extending cocktail hour is a matter of cost.

    • Reply
  • Jessica
    Master September 2020
    Jessica ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment
    If I was a guest and by the time I got to cocktail hour it was only thirty minutes I wouldn’t mind in the least, there are still drinks during dinner I assume so I wouldn’t be worried about having less time to drink and mingle. I think it’s really a know your crowd kind of thing, a lot of our guests wouldn’t wait around if there was no designated place to go and FH’s friends would probably wander over to the hotel bar and never join the reception 🤷‍♀️.
    As far as additional cost, are you thinking people will drink more, or is the venue going to charge more to add half an hour? If I was a guest I would find it strange that we couldn’t go directly into cocktail hour. Since you’ll probably be doing group pictures with family and stuff, I would imagine that’s primarily who will be on the second bus.
    • Reply
  • J
    Master October 2022
    Jana ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    Shorten the gap as much as you can by extending the cocktail hour. Guests would rather do that than stop off anywhere in between.
    • Reply
  • Cheryl
    Dedicated November 2021
    Cheryl ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    View Quoted Comment

    Extending cocktail hour isn't a viable option. Guests will not be stopping anywhere between the church and back to the hotel -- it's a straight trip -- hotel to church and back to the hotel. The gap is what it is, not much we can do about that. I was looking for ideas on how to keep guests entertained until cocktail hour actually starts, i.e, games, activities, etc.

    • Reply
  • Vicky
    VIP January 2020
    Vicky ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content

    Why is extending cocktail hour not a viable option? If you're going to be keeping your guests in one place for 1/2 hour + you really should be hosting them with some sort of food and drink during that time. If you're not willing to do that then I think you need to rethink your plans, as people have said. If you want them to park away from the venue and use your transportation, then your transportation option needs to not make half of your guests stand around waiting for 30-45 minutes for the bus to arrive and the other half of your guests stand around waiting for 30-45 minutes for the rest of the guests to arrive. Lawn games doesn't cut it. Can you have a select number of guests (e.g. close family and wedding party) park at the ceremony venue so that you only need to have one bus trip for everyone else? Can you get another bus, regardless of your desire to only use this special bus for sentimental reasons? Can you get some basic cheese and crackers and veggie trays and drinks to serve guests while they wait for the bus, and have a 90 minute cocktail hour that starts as soon as the first guests arrive at the reception venue? You may have to play with your budget a bit, but this is a basic etiquette issue and should be a priority.

    • Reply
  • Christine
    Beginner August 2021
    Christine ·
    • Flag
    • Hide content
    If it’s in the budget, maybe set up a DIY photobooth w/ props and have your photographer take the photos for guests?
    • Reply

You voted for . Add a comment 👇

×
ReCaptcha Verification failed. Please try again.

Related articles

WeddingWire celebrates love ...and so does everyone on our site! Learn more

Groups

WeddingWire article topics