How to Entertain Yourself When You're Too Early to a Wedding

When you overestimate how much traffic there will be.

Here are some suggestions on how to stay busy if you’ve happened to arrive a bit too early to a wedding ceremony.

Photo: Elizabeth Messina

Most people know that the time listed on a wedding invitation is when the nuptials actually begin, rather than when one should arrive. There is no such thing as being fashionably late to a wedding ceremony. Therefore, conscientious guests often aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early, in order to have time to place gifts or cards on the gift table, greet friends and loved ones, and find their seat. But sometimes, whether due to an abundance of caution, bad planning, or an unexpected shortcut, a guest may find they’ve arrived with a half an hour or more to kill. With smartphones, it’s easier than ever to pass the time, but there are instances where people would rather put their phones away and keep themselves occupied organically. Here are some suggestions on how to stay busy if you’ve arrived to a wedding too early. 

indoor wedding venue with balcony covered in lush florals, what to do when you arrive to a wedding too early

Photo by AndySeo Studio

- Enjoy refreshments. Some couples choose to set up a beverage station with water and soft drinks, while others even have Champagne or cocktails available! Snacks may be provided as well. Don’t go into a wedding expecting this, but if it’s offered you may as well spend your extra time enjoying it!

- Explore the venue. Museum venues are growing in popularity and fit this mindset well, but just about any ceremony site will have natural or architectural beauty to enjoy. Just don’t walk so far away that you end up being late to the ceremony!

- Mingle with other early birds. Once others start to arrive, you can catch up with old friends or make new ones. If you don’t know a ton of people attending, it will be nice to have an extra connection or two before the day even formally begins. 

- Capture photos of details. You can take pictures of the beautiful décor while it’s still fresh and no one is around. However, we’d recommend waiting to post anything until the big day has concluded. 

- Sign the guest book. As long as it’s accessible, you can take advantage of this time by writing a long, thoughtful message in the guest book without worrying about crowding the path to the reception. 

For more ideas, get tips if you're attending a wedding alone and find out what not to wear as a guest