Welcome Receptions are fabulous for two reasons. One, they revive tired out guests before the ceremony and set the mood. Two, it gives a reason for guests to come 15-30 minutes early and thus helping stem the tide of late guests. Both are valuable reasons!
The Welcome Reception should be a light fare. It can be as simple as lemonades- something light and refreshing after a long drive. Think low-mess foods, non-alcoholic drinks. It shouldn't be grander than the wedding reception. A great place to mention that you're having a Welcome Reception is on your map or accommodations card.
Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart.