The Barn at High Point Farms

bride and groom with blowing veil
Honeyroot Photo and Film

Wedding day seems to race by like a flash of lighting with so many activities in a typical couple’s timeline.  For a special day that is “all about the bride and groom,” iit often feels as though you can lose track of your priorities.  Let me suggest three unique wedding reception ideas for you to consider.  These may mix up the wedding day timeline, but it often offers solutions for the bride and groom as they juggle photo ops, time with guests, and time with each other. 

Idea #1 - Eat at the end of the reception

barn doors georgia wedding venue
Nashville Wedding Collection

Some couples want to spend extra time taking the photos. Most of the romantic portraits are taken while guests are in “cocktail hour.”  By the time you take the family photos, there may be significantly less time available to indulge in photo ops without making your guests wait.  


Go ahead and take your time with your photographer taking all of those awesome photos.  Let your guests move from Cocktail Hour to moving inside to claim a seat.  Let your MC give a brief explanation to let the guests know that you are being considerate to them by allowing them to begin the dinner line while you guys are embellishing in photo time.  Your guests will be just fine and appreciate your consideration.  As long as you arrive before the end of dinner time, you can get announced into the banquet room and your plated food can be brought to your table for convenience.  After you have finished dinner, it is likely time to cut the cake and move on with your typical wedding timeline.  

bride and groom entering the barn

This solution also works with the couple who actually wants to spend Cocktail Hour with their guests.  Then, as guests move inside to claim their seat, the couple can dart off to do photo ops while your guests are waiting for their table to be announced.  You can be announced in just like the first example.  

Idea #2 - Eat privately with each other

romantic treehouse cottage

One of the more common bits of advice the couples hear prior to the wedding day is “be sure to eat!”  It is easy to get busy in the timeline of the day and just forget to eat.  Even for the couple who sits to eat during the reception, many times there are guests who come and chat while you are eating.  This leads to not enjoying your meal, not eating much, or feeling like you gobbled it down.


Just go eat privately instead of in the reception hall with all of your guests.  How would that work?  Enjoy your photo op time and spend as much time as you need.  This means that you can either enjoy your guests during cocktail hour or not.  Guests get moved inside, the MC gives a brief explanation and then begins to release tables for your guests.  When you are through with all of the photos, find a beautiful intimate area away from the reception hall to have a quiet “first meal” with just you and your spouse.  Relish this intimate moment where on a day that is all about you two, you are rarely ever alone.  Enjoy each other and enjoy the amazing food that you have picked out.  When your guests have completed their meal and it is time for toasts or for cutting the cake, get announced back into your group and move on with the rest of your wedding day timeline.  

Idea #3 - Blur the lines between cocktail hour and dinner

cocktail hour

Some couples angst over the regimen of a typical wedding timeline.  Go here and now go there can often feel like too much structure for a couple who wants to spend more time engaging with their guests.


Instead of having guests all stay together during Cocktail Hour then all move inside for dinner, consider this:  Enjoy Cocktail Hour with your guests.  Move through the crowd as you please.  Allow the dinner buffet table to open for guests as they are ready then they can begin moving inside to the dinner line.  Not everybody will move instantly.  This is especially true if there are delicious appetizers and specialty cocktails being served during Cocktail Hour.  This scenario allows you to not feel rushed in visiting with your friends. It also allows for guests to not just wait at a table while their table number is called.  Once you are ready to move inside, do so and let the caterer provide the pre-filled dinner plates at your table.  There may be no need to even be “announced in” and if you wanted that announcement, maybe consider getting “announced” into the Cocktail Hour instead of prior to dinner.  (*Note: I do think with this option it would be especially smart to have table assignments so that those guests who are lingering late leaving Cocktail Hour, don’t miss out on having seats available.)

cutting the cake
Madison Miles Photography

The point is, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.  Feel free to change up things and think outside the box.  You can make your wedding order of events and timeline to fit your wishes and your priorities.  This is your day to script – make it fit your best wishes!

~ Margie

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