Wedding Photography and Videography Forum

Timeline and Photo Questions

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! 

Re: Timeline and Photo Questions

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Personally I would cancel the cocktail hour. Just have the guests come for the ceremony and go straight into the reception. It is going to complicate things as you are worried it will. It will make the ceremony late and in turn dinner and all the events. I would find it odd as a guest to have a cocktail hour before the wedding and not have the B&G present. 

    We did a first look, but didn't have a bridal party. We did have our family meet after we went and took photos just the two of us for about 2 hours. We did all our posed photographs before the ceremony with the exception of a group photo of everyone in attendance. That was take immediate after the ceremony during the 10 mins it took for the venue staff to flip the room.

    If you want an extended photo with all the aunts and uncles I would take it immediately after the ceremony. Or gather everyone during the reception for a family photo. 

    Just let your bridal party get ready and arrive at the venue when you want them there for photos.  If they want to help you get ready then they can come with you not he photos or hang out at the venue and you can provide them with snacks and beverages.

    I don't think you have time for a receiving line or people will be eating dinner at 8:30pm. 

    I hate to say it, but I'd scrap the "dream venue" and find something to suits your needs. I am super happy you are avoiding having a gap - gaps are lame. But, it sounds like this venue is going to make everything very complex for you. GL! :)
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • Thanks for your advice! Unfortunately, I can't scrap the venue as we have already put our deposit down and signed the dotted line. Nor do I want to scrap it.

    I am definitely willing to scrap the receiving line and visit the tables during the reception. It's not my ideal situation, but it's not a problem for me either. 

    I am actually looking forward to hosting a cocktail hour beforehand for the guests to get there and mingle, get to know each other (for those that don't), etc. It also provides a bit of a cushion for any guests that perhaps didn't plan great, as the majority of guests are coming in from out of town. 
    Maybe, we could do wedding party pictures beforehand and then FI and I can go off and do our own pictures at this time and the bridal party could be enjoying the cocktail hour with the rest of the guests. If you were a guest arriving to the cocktail hour, asked where the bride & groom were, and were told they were doing their photos, would you still find it odd? 

    Therefore, I would only have to organize the extended family for a quick photo after the ceremony and we'd head up to the reception room. That way, other guests wouldn't have to wait to long between ceremony/dinner. We plan to have a very short ceremony so as long as the venue coordinator is helping, I'm hoping this will go smoothly. Our coordinator told us they have done this before at the venue and it has worked great, so hopefully she wasn't just trying to sell us there! ;-)

    Thanks again for putting up with all of my brainstorming!! :)
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