Ideas for Having Your Wedding Reception Before the Ceremony

For couples planning a destination wedding abroad, they might be interested in having a pre-wedding reception beforehand.

How does that work exactly? The party before the wedding day? It sounds confusing, right?

In this post, we’ll take a look at how we can describe this event for our friends and families and we can also figure out what format it should take.

Let’s get started.

A Pre-Wedding Reception Before The Ceremony To Get Married? – What’s That All About?

It’s a break from tradition, that’s for sure. The more senior guests might find it strange at first, but they’ll soon be on board with it.

A pre-wedding reception is basically a celebration with friends and family before the couple departs for their wedding ceremony abroad. The idea is that most of the attendees will be those who won’t be present for the actual official ceremony later.

A post-wedding reception party is similar, except, that the party happens after the couple has tied the knot and is officially married. Quite often, the bride will wear her wedding dress again.

We’ve compiled a few bits and pieces that will help you figure out the format for your pre-wedding party.

We’ll suggest some activities that can potentially happen on the day that you’re having the wedding reception before the ceremony.

First things first. What on earth do we call a pre-wedding party that we’re planning?

Suggested Titles for Your Pre-Wedding Party

It will be confusing to some guests if you refer to the event as a reception. They’ll probably think you’re already married!

The post-wedding reception party that we’ve covered above? That’s more likely to be referred to as a “reception”.

There are the various names that I’ve heard this event called:

Going Away Wedding Party

I like this one because it’s nice and simple. You could have a cocktail hour at it and obviously, the full bridal party would attend.

Instead of a grand entrance by the couple, there could a send-off or grand exit. This title is popular if the bride and groom, the bride and bride, or groom and groom are leaving for their destination wedding very soon after the pre-wedding party.

Pre-Destination Wedding Party

This name will be more self-explanatory for the wedding guests in attendance.

The wedding reception timeline will be similar – as in, there’ll still likely be drinks served during the cocktail hour, there might be speeches from the groom or the bride or other members of the bridal party.

All of this would normally be followed by a served meal or buffet.

Not Quite Married Yet Party

This is more of a nerdy type of title, but I really like it.

Some people like to interchange the word party for celebration or event. Whichever works best for you is good.

Almost NewlyWeds Party

This is another take on the not quite married yet party. Almost NewlyWeds has a nice ring to it. (See what I did there?!)

In terms of format, all of these options can include a cocktail hour and a wedding meal and of course entertainment in the form of a band or DJ or other live music.

It might end up being a long wedding day, but that’s completely fine.

Pre-Wedding Reception Before the Ceremony

Other Thoughts On Having a Party Before Getting Married Officially

If you’re booking a wedding planner, they’ll be able to make more suggestions as to the format.

Should you get a wedding cake for the pre-wedding party before the ceremony? Sure, why not? Most couples do end up getting a wedding cake for this event.

And no party is complete without wedding music. This is definitely something to consider if you want your dance floor hopping in the venue.

Speaking of wedding venues, if it is located in a scenic spot, it will make an ideal place to have family photos taken before dinner. It would be nice to have these memories somehow worked into the wedding day timeline.

Bear in mind that your guest list will likely consist of many people who won’t be present at the actual ceremony later, so it would be good to consider having photos and video footage of these guests at the evening reception and during the day too.

As regards timings of events, the wedding coordinator at the venue should be able to advise.

It’s all quite different from the traditional wedding that we’re used to, isn’t it?

Next, it’s time to figure out what we’re going to write on the invitations.

Suggested Wording For Pre-Wedding Party Invitations

We’ve already mentioned that the concept of the wedding reception before the ceremony will be a bit strange to some guests.

They’ll be wondering if you’re a married couple or not! The official invitation is ad opportunity to address that.

Example of invitation wording for a wedding party before the ceremony:

Susan and Richard are tying the knot! We’re going to break with tradition and have a party before we depart for our destination ceremony abroad.

Our destination wedding will be a much smaller event which is why we’d love for you to join us for our pre-wedding party at (LOCATION).

Soon after, we’ll be getting married officially in Rome but you’ll have the chance to send us off for that trip of a lifetime!

We really look forward to seeing you there!