Q: What's the appropriate amount of time between the ceremony and reception?

A: Having your reception start immediately after the ceremony is ideal, which is possible if you're holding both at the same place. If not, don't let guests languish for more than an hour between events. Try to choose venues that are no more than half an hour's drive apart, and take as many formal photos before the ceremony as possible, suggests Holly Tripp, a wedding consultant and owner of Details by Holly in Plano, Texas. "You could even have the receiving line at the reception [during the cocktail hour], so guests can start enjoying drinks and hors d'oeuvres once you greet them," says Tripp. If, however, a long wait is truly unavoidable, "arrange to have a hospitality suite with refreshments at a nearby hotel, or ask a family member or close friend who lives in the vicinity to host a preparty," she says.

See all questions about wedding receptions etiquette

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