Picture Procedure: Making your guests wait

by epi on October 17, 2012

Q: We are getting married in July and we are planning the reception to last into the morning. We want to do a ‘fake leave’ for pictures. What time should this be done. We are having the ceremony at our church at 6:00 pm and then of course there are all of the pictures we have to take at the church prior to going to the reception hall. I would assume the bridal party and members of the family will start arriving to the reception asap. This hall is across town.

A: Today, it is not uncommon for the guests wait outside the church until pictures at the church are taken.  As the couple exits the church to get into the limousine to the reception, guests throw rose petals or birdseed then instead of when the couple leaves the reception for their honeymoon.  This is the only way we can suggest to have pictures of you leaving.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Winifred Rosenburg October 17, 2012 at 9:06 am

I know people throw birdseed instead of rice because they think it’s better for birds, but really birdseed isn’t good for birds either; birds hurt their beaks trying to pick it up off the sidewalk. If you choose to throw rice, birdseed, or any other solid thing really please make sure somebody sweeps it up shortly after.


D October 17, 2012 at 9:44 am

Isn’t it sort of odd to create a “fake” leave though? Something that never actually happened at your wedding? I think just getting pictures of how the day actually was makes so much more sense. And fonder memories when the photos are back, no?


Alicia October 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

It is common for people to leave the church immediately following the wedding and then to go back inside for pictures. Is this what you mean by fake leave leave and then go back inside? This may work well for you.


L October 18, 2012 at 3:32 am

Brutal honesty here: I think this is weird and tacky. Maybe it’s encouraged by wedding websites now, but if it is, I think that’s misguided. You will have hundreds of pictures of that day. Why are you so fixated on those ~5 pictures that you want to get everyone off the dance floor and make the production of you leaving if you actually aren’t? If you do, you’re probably going to spend the rest of the night explaining why you’re still there.

I assume that you don’t actually want to leave in time for the big send off because you want to enjoy every minute of the celebration. Have you thought about the effect this “fake leave” will have on the party? I suspect that lots of the guests will leave immediately after the send off. Worse, even if they don’t want to leave, they may feel that your exit was a signal that they need to leave.

And the tacky part- you’re either lying to your guests (“Everyone head outside to say goodbye to the couple since they’re leaving now”) or being honest but awkward (“Everyone head outside to do the send off picture, then we’ll all get back to celebrating with the couple!” which will probably just cause confusion since, if it’s a big wedding, most guests will probably just follow the crowd and assume that you’re leaving anyway… Then the explaining still).

Pictures are supposed to document the wonderful things that actually occurred at your wedding. Making sure that you get all the same pictures as everyone else isn’t the point of the day. Also, treating your guests like extras in a movie (in this case, still photos) isn’t very gracious and isn’t the point of inviting guests.


Brockwest October 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I feel it is fine to “leave” the wedding the first time, then re-enter to take pictures. I beg of you to keep the time short with the picture-taking. I’ve endured two hour waits as the bridal party takes pictures as I’m hungry and thirsty, but wouldn’t dream of touching anything until the bridal party arrives.
I went to a dream wedding several years ago in which there was to be a prolonged period between the wedding and the reception. While the bridal party was off taking their pictures, a mini-reception was held, with wine/beer and finger foods.
When the actual reception came, there was then a sit-down dinner with full open bar. I thought that was a great compromise.


helen woods November 7, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I’m sorry but it is just rude to keep your guests waiting for 2 hours. Many of the new wedding planners drag the picture taking out too long and guests are left ambling about. My new rule: you got 30 minutes then I’m outta there. Both of my children left the church and went directly to the reception to greet guests. The unplanned pictures are the best anyway. This practice of keeping the guests waiting needs to be addressed.


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