When it comes to the wedding day photography schedule and creating a fun time for you and your guests, the cocktail hour is a MUST.
Here’s a few reasons why and how to make it happen:
Shan and Brian sipped their signature cocktails at the bar for this money shot.
Yes girl, show off that ring and let him adore you in all that bridal beauty.
Keep your guests entertained while you finish up photos.
Often, the wedding couple feels anxious, leaving their guests waiting after the ceremony while they finish up the photo schedule. The cocktail hour is a transition that lets the guests know you were thinking about them by providing drinks, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.
We are obsessed with this blush and gun metal color scheme! ‘Heart-eyes all day’.
If you are NOT doing a “First Look”, you will need about an hour to take family photos, wedding party photos, and couple’s portraits.
It’s true, lots of couples are savoring the age old traditions of not seeing each other until the glorious walk down the aisle. As wedding photographers, we support each couple’s choice and what feels right for their wedding day celebrations. If you decide to forego the “first look”, that leaves certain photos that can only be done after the ceremony. Those photos are formal family portraits, full wedding party portraits, and of course the stunning couple’s portraits. A minimum of fifteen to twenty minutes is needed for each of those segments. Then, you are being introduced into the reception one hour after the ceremony’s end. The cocktail hour is perfect for this agenda knowing your guests are well taken care of. You can relax and enjoy those first sweet moments together as husband and wife.
Shan and Brian decided not to do the first look and instead, their wedding party surrounded them in prayer and love.
If your ARE doing a “First Look”, think about this:
Maybe you’ve decided to do the “first look” because you absolutely do NOT want to be doing anymore photos after the ceremony. That’s your unwind and just have fun time. I hear ya! You may be wondering how a cocktail hour would be of any benefit here. Why not just go straight to the reception, right? Well, that’s definitely an option, HOWEVER, think about this. Even if you did couple’s portraits earlier in the day, it’s still a great opportunity to take fifteen to twenty minutes during that golden hour for gorgeous sunset photos when the light is, well, “golden” and it just makes all your colors and scenery glow! ALSO, many couples are opting to have a private meal with each other. This provides a few quiet moments to yourselves before all the festivities of the reception start and you can’t take a single bite of anything because you’re dancing, cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet. Not to mention updating all 300 guests on your life story. #Truth.
The cocktail hour allows us to get into the beautifully decorated reception area for glamour photos that capture the entire scene before the guests come in and, well, mess it all up.
Signature cocktails, curated hors d’oeuvres and thoughtful entertainment can make an hour feel like a blip.
You know the saying, “time flies when you’re having fun?” Well it definitely applies here. Not only can you be the perfect host and hostess by keeping guests sustained and entertained, but it’s a creative opportunity to choose the perfect signature cocktails, snack options and entertainment that shares a bit of your love story in your absence. For example, choose his and hers favorite cocktail recipes or one that compliments the theme of your wedding in general. Serve snacks that sample a certain menu from your first date or the coastal trip where he proposed. When it comes to entertainment, we’re not talking about a 7 piece band or DJ jam sesh. This time is for mood music at a level that breaks the ice and makes it comfortable for guests to chat, start of a friendly game of corn hole, engage in Photo Booth fun, write their “marital advise” and well wishes in your guest sign in book, or just relax in well placed seating areas with temperature comfort for your senior guests and families with babies. Have hand-lettered signs strategically placed that reveal fun facts about you as a couple to keep guests connecting with you even when you’re not there. And hey, a little anticipation of waiting never hurt anyone. Brilliant right?
I know all this makes sense on paper, but somehow when it comes down to making decisions, things get hazy, so,
Here’s what you do:
- Paint the picture of your wedding with words that communicate the experience and emotions of the day. Words like fun, personal, elegant, classic, relaxed, energetic, formal, romantic, intimate, memorable, enjoyable, party scene, action packed, and so on.
- Unless you are a master planner, have unlimited time on your hands and the magical ability to be in at least three places at once, the next person you should be sitting with is a professional wedding planner. They will be able to tell you right away if the cocktail hour is the right choice. They will also help you create a master plan for your dream wedding.
- Decide if full-service wedding planning is right for you. If not, collaborate with a professional planner to share responsibilities. Many professional planners offer a design board, consultation services and week-of coordination. THIS IS A LIFE SAVER! Don’t go it alone. Just don’t do it and thank me later.
The cocktail hour is a fun element that adds class and elegance with a touch of personality. All you have to do is “eat, drink and be married”!
Enjoy more photos from Shan + Brian’s beautiful Park Crest Events wedding