In order to be able to book our dream venue, we had to plan for our cocktail hour before the wedding. A ceremony was already booked during the time we wanted (there can be up to 2 weddings at this venue, it is huge and you wouldn't even know there is another wedding going on). In order to not have a huge gap, our timeline from the venue looks like this.
Cocktail Hour on Reception patio from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Ceremony (200 m walk away) 6:30 p.m.
Reception 7:00 p.m. - midnight
We will be doing a first look and wedding party photos before the ceremony. A few of my questions are
- Those that did a first look and went off for an hour or so to do bride/groom photos, what did your wedding party do during that time?
- I'm a little nervous of the flow from cocktail hour into ceremony into the reception. I can't imagine that the ceremony is going to start RIGHT at 6:30 as I know it can be difficult getting 150+ people moving to get down to the ceremony. I guess I will just have to hope that our venue coordinator helps with this. This isn't as much a question as a concern, I guess! Same for returning back to the reception after, do we plan for the seated dinner to begin at 7:30?
- I'd like to avoid guests seeing us before the ceremony, so the plan so far is to not attend the cocktail hour. I'd like our wedding to be relaxed, but still want a bit of the element of surprise there. That being said, how long to formal family photos usually take? Since we don't have the cocktail hour cushion after the wedding, I don't want to be rude to the guests by having them wait around while we are snapping a few formal family photos. The only way I can think to quicken this process is to give the photographer an ordered list and have the second shooter organizing everyone to make this go quicker. I know an option is to do some family photos before the ceremony. I am not opposed to this, but how do I let aunts/uncles know this is the plan, word of mouth? I also want them to enjoy the cocktail hour, not have to take photos with us.
- ALSO! Sorry, this is getting to be a novel... I like the idea of a receiving line into the reception after the ceremony so that we don't have to spend the entire reception visiting tables. This obviously doesn't work if we do family photos after the ceremony as the rest of our guests would be heading back into the reception at this point.
So... those bullet points are mostly everything I have been brainstorming thus far. I'd appreciate any ideas you all have to make this flow a bit better!