Tips for Social Hour

You have a list of things to accomplish between your first kiss and the grand entrance, and you know your guests are going to need some entertainment before dinner begins. How will you entertain a room full of your closest friends and family for the entirety of social hour? How do you make sure the wedding stays on time? How do you encourage guests to stay during a longer social hour? If you’re struggling to answer these questions, we have some amazing advice from the food to guest experiences to timelines examples! Keep reading to find out more!

Timeline Examples of Social Hour

1 HOUR – This also allows guests to drop their bags off at the hotel and make their way to the reception venue. It’s perfectly fine to keep the entertainment and experiences to a minimum with this shorter social hour. One hour is a great amount of time to sneak away for a 45-minute photo session with your family and/or bridal party. Make sure to give yourself time to drive to and from your photo location!

3:30pm – Ceremony

4:15pm – Bubble Exit with the Couple + Guests

4:30pm – Social Hour begins // Guitarist begins // Appetizers ready at the snack table // Bar opens

4:45pm – Message in a Bottle Station opens for guests

5:15pm – Champagne Wall is open for guests to grab a drink before grand entrance

5:30pm – Grand Entrance

1.5 HOURS – This added half hour of time is a great opportunity to sneak in an extra piece or two of entertainment for your guests. It also gives you and your new partner a 20-30 intimate break from the chaos to be married before greeting your family and friends. Check out this mock timeline for the allotted social hour!

3:30pm – Ceremony

4:15pm – Confetti Exit with the Couple + Guests

4:30pm – Social Hour begins // Singer + Guitarist begin // Gourmet popcorn station opens

4:45pm – Bar opens for guests // Beer + Wine Tastings begin in the yard

5:00pm – Flower Bar is open for guests to arrange a mini bouquet

5:45pm – Guests grab a glow stick from the Emcee

6:00pm – Grand Entrance

2 HOURS – You have given yourself plenty of time to get your entire shot list covered and even have some time to spare for stopping at your favorite bars downtown! It’s so worth the few extra minutes of quality time with your bridal party. We have a timeline for this, too!

3:30pm – Ceremony

4:15pm – Flower Toss Exit with the Couple + Guests

4:30pm – Social Hour begins // Live Band begins // Chips and Dip Station is ready // Bar opens for guests

4:45pm – Crossword Puzzle Guest Gook is ready // Bloody Mary Station is ready

5:00pm – Caricature Artist is ready on the outdoor patio

5:30pm – Yard Games are set up outside near the Artist Station for guests to play

6:15pm – Planner hands out ribbons to wave for the grand entrance

6:20pm – Grand Entrance

3-4 HOURS – Sometimes a wedding day will consist of a very long waiting period between the ceremony + reception (often for early Catholic masses). We want your guests to have a list of optional things to do without feeling like they are waiting ages to get to the reception space. We want to think of anyone from young adults, to families with small children, to our more mature crowd.

1:00pm – Ceremony

2:00pm – Receiving Line with the Couple + Guests

2:30pm – Hotel Check-In // Enjoy Local Activities (see list below)

5:00pm – Reception // Social Hour // Snacks + Drinks ready

5:50pm – Grand Entrance



  • Walk through the Dakota Nature Park (free!)
  • Walk through McCrory Gardens on SDSU’s campus
  • Walk SDSU’s Campus (free!)
  • Visit the Children’s Museum of South Dakota
  • Visit Schade Vineyard in Volga (free!)
  • Visit the Art Museum at SDSU (free!)
  • Visit the Arboretum at McCrory Gardens (free!)
  • Sit Down for a matinee at Brookings Cinema or the Performing Arts Center
  • Visit the SDSU Agricultural Heritage Museum (free!)
  • Visit the beaches at Lake Campbell or Lake Poinsett (free!)
  • Climb the Coughlin Campanile tower (free!)
  • Catch an SDSU athletic event
  • Go ax throwing at Woody’s
  • Hit the golf simulator at Tee’d Off Golf
  • Have a quick snack at the iconic Nick’s Hamburgers
  • Hunt for hidden rabbits in the downtown area (free!)
  • Take photos by the various murals painted downtown (free!)
  • Visit the boutiques downtown (free! – well, that depends…)
  • Grab a coffee at Kool Beans, Starbucks, ChocoLatte, or Cottonwood!
  • Stop by Wooden Legs Brewery for board games (free! – make sure to grab a drink!)
  • Go bowling at The Lanes
  • Visit The Nook and pick out a new book to read
  • Get a pedicure or manicure at Blu Salon and Spa
  • Play a round of golf at Edgebrook Golf Course
  • Hang out on Cubbie’s Rooftop
  • Kayak at the Dakota Nature Park
  • Visit the waterpark at the Brookings Inn
  • Visit the local animal shelter (free!)


  • See a theater/musical performance
  • Explore nearby attractions/landmarks
  • Visit a local museum or art gallery
  • Have a picnic in a nearby park
  • Play lawn games like cornhole or bocce ball
  • Attend a wine or beer tasting at a nearby vineyard or brewery
  • Book a short sightseeing cruise if near water
  • Organize a scavenger hunt in the area
  • Visit a nearby botanical garden
  • Arrange for a group cooking or baking class
  • Go on a shopping excursion
  • Have a leisurely small plates + drinks at a nearby restaurant
  • Arrange a group visit to an escape room
  • Play mini golf
  • Have an afternoon at the beach
  • Play board games or card games
  • Have a group photo session at scenic spots
  • Attend a local farmers market
  • Visit a nearby zoo or aquarium
  • Go bowling
  • Attend a matinee movie
  • Take a historic walking tour of the area
  • Have a group visit to a nearby amusement park or carnival
  • Attend a local sports game or event
  • Visit a nearby arcade or entertainment center
  • Have a group visit to a nearby farm or animal sanctuary
  • Attend a local festival or fair if available
  • Arrange a group visit to a nearby cultural center or heritage site
  • Take a scenic drive through the local areas

Are you loving the timeline, but not set on the experiences, food, or extras?

We have so many more options for you!

Here are 10 great guest experience options specifically for outdoor weddings:

Corn hole (bean bags)
Bocce Ball
Scavenger Hunt
Cigar Station
Patio or Lawn Furniture Area
Custom Leather Branding Station
S’mores Station
Miniature Petting Zoo (especially farm weddings)
Flower/Bouquet Bar

Here are 14 great options for families and children to enjoy:

Popcorn Station
Jenga (Our friends at Garness Games have all your aesthetic yard games in one spot to rent or buy!)
Connect Four
Temporary Tattoo Artist
Board Games
Message in a Bottle
Polaroid Guest Book
Paint by Numbers Kits
Mad Libs
Bouncy Castles or Inflatables
Bubble Station

If you know your reception will be sprinkled with your little relatives and friends, having entertaining and interactive options for them is so important. You don’t have to spend a fortune on games, toys, or furniture for these littles to enjoy the day with you! A couple boxes of crayons from the nearest dollar store, some printable coloring sheets, and a pack of temporary tattoos will have them entertained for hours. We do encourage a few different activities for various age groups!

Here are 12 great options for food or drink experiences:

Charcuterie Board
Fondue Bar
Nacho Bar
Chips and Dip Bar
Fruit and Cheese Skewers
Mini Bagel Bar
Pretzel Station
Bloody Mary Bar
Champagne Wall (Our friends at Prairie Lane Vintage Rentals have perfected the ways of drink displays!)
Mimosa Bar
Oyster Shucking Station
Wine/Beer Tastings

When choosing food options, we encourage picking options to suit different tastes and dietary restrictions! For example, having the meat option on the side so that the guests can add it themselves for a more vegetarian friendly option is one idea. It’s easy to do, can be utilized in different ways changing the taste of the food, allows for guest customization, and doesn’t necessarily increase the cost like it would by adding an entirely new food option. We also love a great signature cocktail! It’s fun, can be so personal, and even match your wedding colors or theme!

Here are 6 artistic or musical ideas that last throughout the night:

Fortune Teller
Caricature Artist
Live Painter
Real Tattoo Artist
Musician or Soloist
Live Band

We want to make your guests as happy as you are on your wedding day. Hitch can handle your social hour while you are swept away taking photos or having those memorable moments with your bridal party.

Need More Help?

Contact our team today and get this party started!!!

605-592-9072 |

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top