3 Reasons To Have A Private Meal Before Your Reception


Jun 21, 2018

Wedding Photographers Huntsville Alabama // Wedding Planning Tips // Wedding Advice

There’s a trend in the wedding day timeline that’s becoming ever more popular: a private meal for the bride and groom.

First of all, what is this private meal you speak of?

If you’re not familiar with the trend, here’s a quick explanation.

After the ceremony and any post-ceremony pictures, the bride and groom will go to a private room and enjoy a meal by themselves. You only need to allot about 15-20 minutes for this meal. It’s not too long for the guests to wait. It is long enough for the couple to enjoy a meal together. Win-win right there.

When you think back to traditional wedding practices, this wasn’t a thing. Following the ceremony, the newly married couple would take photographs, enter the reception, and be first in line for the food. The guests would soon follow table by table, and the party began!

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this (and many modern brides still choose to eat with their guests), we’re giving you 3 reasons you’ll want to jump on board with the private meal trend.

Reason #1: You have some time to eat without people coming up and wanting to speak with you. And inevitably take a selfie with you, which is hard to do with a mouthful of food.

Whether you’re at the head table or a sweetheart table of your own, guests like to take the opportunity to come up and say hi. With so many guests, they know to take any chance they can. Fair enough, right? You want to see them, too!

But take it from both my personal experience at the head table of our own wedding and from watching this happen at numerous weddings we’ve photographed. It’s hard to eat anything! And even between the few mouthfuls of food you manage to get, you often don’t get a chance to enjoy it because you’re focused more on talking than what you’re eating.

By having a private meal of your own, you’re able to enjoy your food for a few minutes uninterrupted. When you enter the reception and spend time with each of your guests, you’ll be re-energized and re-fueled for an evening of celebrations!

Reason #2: As the guests are going through the buffet line or enjoying their meal, you’ll have a chance to go around and speak to your guests.

I know efficiency isn’t a romantic word to use when we’re talking about weddings, but efficiency is still nice to have! Instead of being stuck at your table, trying to slowly finish your meal in between conversations, you’ll be able to focus your time and efforts in truly being present with each of your guests.

You can decide how quickly you want to move from table to table, or even throughout the room. You can even decide to stand in one place and let people come to you if you prefer.

{Want some more tips on modern takes on greeting your guests? You can read more here. It’s a vintage J&A Tidbit, so enjoy the memories!}

Reason #3: You get a few minutes of quiet time alone to soak in the “we just got married, for real!” feelings before the excitement of the reception.

Every event of the wedding day has its own set of emotions. That’s one of the reasons we always encourage our couples to take time for some “just married” or sunset portraits after the wedding, even if they had a First Look and finished most of the pictures before. The emotions and memories we’re capturing pre-ceremony are different than what we capture after you’re officially married.

Those moments of reflection right after the ceremony are so unique and precious. Being able to spend some quiet time alone during your meal will let you experience them to the fullest.

And after your Grand Entrance into the reception, you’ll be perfectly ready (and rested up) to party with your closest friends and family!

Want some ideas on creative ways for entertaining your guests at the reception? Grab a free copy of our eBook here!

Situations where you might want to skip the private meal:

  1. You’re having a small, intimate ceremony and reception with only a few family and close friends. The reception is more like a family dinner in this case, and it wouldn’t be right without the bride and groom!
  2. You’ve planned a fancy plated dinner. If the room will be bustling with servers presenting your guests with difference courses, it might be difficult for you to move around the tables. Since your guests will be seated instead of going through a buffet line, you’ll have a chance to enjoy your meal at the head table.


The most important thing is that you choose the option that’s right for you! Talk to your wedding planner or photographer to see how you can fit a private meal into your timeline. They’ll be happy to talk about the options with you!



Want more? Check out these resources:

Quick Tips For Your Wedding Day Timeline

11 Things To Do With Leftover Wedding Food, Flowers, and Decor

3 Easy Tips for Coordinating Family Formals

Free download: Bridal Details Checklist

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