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Sometimes, a delay between your ceremony and reception is unavoidable. When this happens, make sure you clearly communicate the timeline of events to guests so they can prepare for the break in activity. If you’d like to keep your guests entertained during this time, here are a few budget-friendly ways to occupy them while you sneak off for a few photos.

Open Mic

Ok, we’re not actually suggesting and open mic or karaoke session, but if you have any aspiring musicians on your guest list, you can set up an area within the lobby of your reception location for some light music and entertainment. Or, hire your favorite coffee shop musician to set up and play for a few hours.

Let the Games Begin

This is a great time to break out your favorite party games. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, lawn games are the perfect way to pass the time and a great way to get your guests mingling before the reception. If guests will be indoors, set up a few board games and lounge seating or organize a scavenger hunt. Your scavenger hunt can stick to one location (your reception hall and surrounding area) or send guests out into the local community (this is a great idea if you out-of-town guests who are unfamiliar with the area). With only a few hours of prep work, you can create an awesome adventure for your friends and family.

Pass the Hors D’oeuvres to Pass the Time

If a pause in your wedding day timeline in unavoidable, consider keeping guests happy with snacks to hold them over until dinner. While we strongly urge you to hire a professional caterer for your wedding, the hours between your ceremony and reception might just be the time to call in a favor. If your venue allows, ask some friends and relatives to make up a few trays of light snacks. Think fruit, veggies, easy appetizers, snack foods and simple sweets. You might want bring cases of bottled water on a hot day or set up a hot chocolate station in cooler weather.

Test their Knowledge

For easy entertaining, prepare a trivia game for guests to complete during the break in the action. You can include general knowledge or details about you and your fiancé. Throw in a few trick questions about the ceremony to see who was paying attention! You can even hand out a prize for the winning guest during the reception. Add a hint of hilarity to your event with Mad Libs. Have guests complete a wedding themed Mad Lib and ask your master of ceremonies to read a few between courses. Or, invite guests to the podium to read their own Mad Lib as the kissing game for your reception.


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