February 28

Transitioning from Ceremony to Reception

Today’s Diva Dish came from a reader who is having her ceremony and reception at the same venue:

Dear Divas,

During our ceremony, guests will be seated in a herringbone design facing the celebrants. After the bride and groom leave, they will return for pictures. We envisioned everyone having drinks and snacks while they watch the pictures, then we will all move on to dinner and dancing.

Can you offer ideas to make these transitions work?



Thanks for writing in, Carla! Here’s what we suggest:

  • Create a wedding program. That way, guests will know the schedule of events the moment they sit down to the ceremony.
  • Coordinate with the DJ, bartenders and waitstaff. After the ceremony is over, have the DJ start playing some mellow music and ask the waitstaff to begin clearing away chairs to encourage mingling. Make sure the bartenders and waitstaff know when to cut off drinks and appetizers, and have the DJ make the announcement that everyone should take their seats prior to the bridal party’s entrance for dinner.
  • Turn trusted friends into coordinators. If you have a relative, childhood friend or colleague in attendance who isn’t in the bridal party, ask him or her to help serve as a coordinator to make sure the transitions run smoothly, ushering people in or out and giving direction.
  • Take photos in private. Trust us, you won’t want an audience while you’re shooting your wedding photos. Not only will it get monotonous for the guests, but your photos won’t turn out the same as they would if it were just the two of you. Take time to shoot a few photos before the ceremony, or find an alternate location for your post-wedding photo shoot instead.

What other advice would you offer Carla? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Do you have a question for our wedding experts? Send your etiquette, wedding planning or style dilemma to blog@weddingpaperdivas.com and we’ll post an answer for you.


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About Katie

Katie M. is a Writer at Wedding Paper Divas. She has the privilege of viewing nearly every piece of stationery before it goes up on the website, giving her the ultimate inside scoop on upcoming trends in the stationery world. She loves classic designs with a surprising twist, and enjoys finding new ways to express her ever-evolving personal style—a blend of traditional glamour and bohemian whimsy that makes Wedding Paper Divas a perfect fit! In addition to her love for writing, Katie is obsessed with health and fitness, skincare, UC Santa Barbara, all things adorable, the beach, dancing, cooking, getting real mail, fresh flowers, discount shopping, and shoes (who isn’t?). Katie is a contributing editor to Diva Dialogue. Be sure to check out her recurring feature, “Rant or Rave.”

8 thoughts on “Transitioning from Ceremony to Reception

  1. Carla

    I thought you all would like to know how we handled this transistion. After the wedding party leaves, everyone will go outside for a group picture then come back for drinks and appetizers while they wait for the bride and groom.

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  8. Patti Dry

    We’re having a reception only after we eloped!! Our guests and family will be traveling to Fort Worth,TX for a business convention… we planned our reception for the night before the business event so that we can include as many people as possible in our reception. Looking for a reception only invitation. Our reception is Sept 12th, but many as I said are already going to be in town that night. Want to make it “Not Formal”, but still give our celebration the honor it deserves. This is a 2nd marriage for us so no wedding gown and tux, just celebration!!


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