Depending on the time of the ceremony and the time the reception is set to begin, you may have several hours to fill between the two events. The bride and groom may be completely out of sight during this time, but that doesn't mean that you can take a break — your family and friends are all dying to talk to you, and you have plenty of time to spare before the reception. What should you expect to be doing during the interim, and how can you help your out-of-town guests pass the time?Post-Ceremony Photography
The entire wedding party will probably be whisked off by the photographer for scores of pictures immediately following the ceremony. Usually, this photo shoot takes about an hour, but if they're traveling to a special site, they could be gone much longer than that (and if there are several hours between the wedding and the reception, it doesn't really matter). You shouldn't expect to go with them. Sometimes the photographer will take some family photos at the ceremony site immediately following the nuptials, but usually, this time is reserved for the bridal party to be photographed. You may see them before the reception, or you may not see them until you arrive at the banquet hall.Out-of-Towners
When a wedding is scheduled for one o'clock and is being followed by an evening reception, a collective groan can sometimes be heard from the out-of-town visitors (this includes cross-country travelers as well as those who have made more than a thirty-minute drive to the ceremony). “What are we going to do to pass the time?” they wonder.
You may want to consider hosting an interim get-together at home for some of these people. Consider including the following people:
Guests who were nice enough to make the drive across several towns to attend the ceremony, and who don't necessarily want to spend the day driving back home and then traveling back again for the reception.
Friends and family who have spent a considerable amount of time and money traveling across several states to wish the bride and groom well.
Guests who may live nearby, but whom you see rarely.
Many guests, you will notice, will choose to skip the ceremony when there's a several-hour delay between the vows and the reception. Anyone who has cleared his or her entire day to attend the church service and the reception would like to know that you appreciate the effort. Inviting these folks back to your home for a casual gathering is a great way to show your appreciation. This does not have to be a formal affair. A few deli trays and some pastries will be enough to hold over even the hungriest guests. Make sure you have enough seats for everyone, especially if the bridal party will be stopping in after the photographer has finished with them.Keep Them Busy
If you can't host an interim party for whatever reason, make sure you've given your guests the skinny on the area: Let them know if there's something special happening in town during the wedding weekend; include points of interest, such as museums, parks, or shops. Include this information when you send their invitations. While you shouldn't try to stuff a brochure into the envelope, you might want to include some helpful websites along with a map of the area, highlighting any areas of interest.
Computer-savvy brides and grooms are finding that creating a wedding website is incredibly helpful for relaying pertinent information to their guests. If your daughter and her fiancé have set up their own site, ask them to send e-mails to friends and relatives who will be looking for some entertainment options during their stay.