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What Should You Provide Before Your Ceremony?

Help your attendees stay comfortable before you walk down the aisle.

Though it’s certainly not an etiquette requirement, we think there are a few things you can supply to help everyone pass the time before the ceremony.

wood-table-with-wood-stump-riser-infused-water-bar-lemon-lime-orange-hydrangea-decorations
Photo: Images by Berit, Inc.

The ceremony is typically thought of as the first part of a wedding day, at least as far as guests are concerned. However, the attendees do tend to spend time waiting around before the processional begins. Sometimes this is due to the wedding party running late, but it’s also because most people know that the time listed on the invitation is the actual start time, rather than the time to arrive. You don’t want to punish politeness by having your friends and family be bored before the wedding even starts. Though it’s certainly not an etiquette requirement, we think there are a few things you can supply to help everyone pass the time before the ceremony. 

infused water, juice, iced tea for before the wedding ceremony
Photo by Wild Whim Design + Photography 

- Refreshments. Simple snacks and drinks can help if anyone is feeling peckish before the vow exchange. For short ceremonies this might be less necessary, but most start times are between meals. Fruit-infused water, lemonade, and ice tea is a simple enough offering that still makes an impact, and no one will complain if there’s a crudité spread or even popcorn to enjoy!

- Comfort items. This mainly applies to outdoor ceremonies, but helping to counteract any discomfort the weather might cause is a kind gesture. Depending on the setting and temperature, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, parasols, fans, or blankets could all be helpful. 

- Programs. Normally an easy thing to cut if you run out of time or budget, ceremony programs can be a nice way for guests to learn more about the customs and people involved in your big day. Plus, it gives everyone something to read and can even spur mingling and small talk with those seated nearby.

- Cocktail Hour. Traditionally, this is held between the ceremony and reception, but a growing trend has been couples offering a mini-version with Champagne and small hors d’oeuvres before the vow exchange. A bride and groom we featured even served the cocktails themselves in order to chat with guests before the ceremony!

For more advice and ideas, learn how to pick a wedding date and find out how to balance work with wedding planning

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