Wedding Welcome Hour
By • Filed In: Weddings

When it came time to planning our wedding, Brian didn’t have any strong opinions except for one thing – he didn’t want to see me before the ceremony.  I, however, wanted as much time as possible to take pictures since I am a memory saving freak.  So, to accommodate both our wishes, we decided to have a welcome hour prior to our ceremony in lieu of a receiving line after the ceremony.

For the first half hour I mingled and greeted guests.  During the second half hour the girls and I went into the barn house so I could change into my wedding gown and Brian arrived with the groomsmen to visit with guests.

Our ceremony site was Oak Hill in Apple River, IL, just minutes away from the lake house Cort and I grew up in.  The grounds had the perfect country/rustic/chic blend I wanted.  Because I’m a teacher, the lawn by the one room school house was a perfect location for the welcome hour.  I had to incorporate something with the school house.  Brian and I came up with a list of facts about our relationship.  I purchased scrap book paper, die but them into leaves, and had Cortney write the facts on them.  We then pinned the facts onto granny smith apples (since my colors were green and navy) and set them on desks inside the school house for people to read.

I also wrote a message on the blackboard.

Later in the night my photographers had set up a laptop with some of the day’s photos.  I was ecstatic when I realized one of my photographers had grabbed a handful of people and had them sit in the school house and act as students.  The best part, he had randomly chosen all my teacher friends from work!

A few of my mom’s friends had made finger food for people to nibble on.  These were placed on old quilted wagons.  We also served bottled water and beer from antique buckets.  To incorporate our alma maters, we created Wisconsin Sangria (for Brian) and Hawkeye Lemonade (for me!).  After the welcome hour we had a 30 minute transition period for guests to walk to the barn house for the ceremony.  People said it was the first wedding they had gone to where guests were drinking beer during the ceremony.  Love it!


The welcome hour allowed Brian and I to talk with guests before the wedding.  Not only did this calm our nerves for the ceremony, but it also allowed us to enjoy the reception more.  We didn’t feel the need to visit each table during dinner since we had already spoken with many people beforehand.  And the best part, I still got my couple of hours in between the ceremony and reception to take some phenomenal photos.  By the way, all the photos from this post are from my amazing photographers (and soon to be Cortney’s!  I’m so excited!) Kevin and Kelsey from Primavera Studios.

About the Author

I think chocolate and cheese should be their own food group. Or, at least I treat them as if they are. To say I like wine is an understatement. I hope to one day call myself a professional photographer, but in the meantime, I'll just pretend I am. I'm a second grade teacher by day but a potty mouth by night.