Entertaining Guests Between the Ceremony & Reception

At every wedding there is a gap between the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception. This is normally the time when we get some location photos with the couple and the bridal party. We normally recommend an 60-90 mins for photos. Too long and guests get really bored, too short and you risk not getting some beautiful photos of the two of you.

Some times a long gap between the ceremony and location is unavoidable, which is often because a church has only a particular time slot available. For instance if you can only have a midday wedding and the reception is at 6pm.

So what do guests do? You can let them do whatever they want or you can give them some options… which I know out-of-town guests will definitely appreciate. Here are some ideas.

Cavanagh Grass 2

Make it Easy for Your Guests

The ideal wedding for guests is where the wedding ceremony and reception are at the same location. They only need to travel once, they don’t need to travel across town battling traffic and they don’t need to find parking again. They can even just take a taxi to the location and then enjoy a drink at the wedding. So finding a venue that can do both the ceremony and reception is always plus.

mindaribba house wedding


Serving some drinks is without a doubt one of the best ways to keep guests occupied. Give them a champagne or beer and guests will start meeting each other and striking up conversations. So after the ceremony arrange for some drinks to be served.

If the reception is at a different location to the ceremony, arrange for pre dinner drinks to start early. Your guests will be thankful if you adding an extra hour of pre dinner drinks and canapes at the wedding venue.

wedding drinks


If you have the wedding ceremony and reception in the same venue and you have space available, organising games can be really fun and entertaining for your wedding guests.

Games like croquet, Jenga, boules, ring toss are some great ideas to incorporate into the day and to help entertain your wedding guests.

wedding games
wedding games
Giant noughts & crosses

Meet for a Drink

Instead of everyone going their separate ways after the wedding ceremony, organise for guests to meet up at a bar. Somewhere in between the ceremony and reception. That way everyone can stay together and get to know each other a bit better.

wedding drinks

Bus Ride

If you have a lot of people from out-of-town, hire a double decker bus to take guests on a tour of the city/town. That bus can then take them directly to the wedding reception

Wedding double decker bus

Boat Ride

Organise a boat to take guests from the ceremony to the reception with a bit of a harbour cruise on the way.

Sydney harbour cruise

If All Else Fails

If you have a really long time between the church & reception, and you don’t want your guests waiting too long, then there is always a simple answer… simply change churches/ceremony locations to one that suits you.

Hey, I’m Adam. A wedding photographer who loves to shoot fun, relaxed couples in a natural and candid way.

I shoot weddings all over Australia, so if you are engaged and looking for a photographer, please check out my work. If you can see yourself in these photos, feel free to get in contact to check my availability. Thanks :)