Picture this: It’s your wedding day. You’ve been planning for what feels like ages. All of your friends and family are there to see you marry the love of your life. After your whisked away to take your photos, you gather your immediate family and your wedding party and off you go with your photographer! This is probably the first and last time you will be able to get everyone from both sides of your family into one picture, it’s a pretty big deal!
This is probably the first and last time you will be able to get everyone from both sides of your family into one picture, it’s a pretty big deal!
While your family members are being shuffled and arranged in and out of photos your wedding party stands patiently by, praying for the caterers to bring down some champagne and appetizers. Just as the drinks arrive its time for the wedding party pictures, your friends can chug their drinks or leave them in the grass.
Just as the drinks arrive its time for the wedding party pictures, your friends can chug their drinks or leave them in the grass.
You take your photos with all of your closest friends and then send them off to cocktail hour while you and your significant other take your first portraits together as husband and wife. You’re so blissfully happy you don’t even care that you just missed cocktail hour…
FUN FACT! According to RI and MA State law, Alcohol may not be served for more than 5 hours at any single event… alright maybe that was an unfun fact. Whamp whamp.
That means you could effectively be missing 1/5 of your Wedding Reception.
Hey guys! It doesn’t have to be this way!
What if I told you, you could have your cocktail hour and drink it too? Well, honestly you absolutely CAN. Here’s how…
#1 Do a first look.
- Now, I know this is a heavily debated subject in the wedding blogs, and ultimately this is a personal choice you’re going to need to make yourself. I’m coming to from the perspective of a photographer and that is IT but weddings are all about doing whatever the eff you want, I promise I’m not trying to push you into anything!
- Doing a first look gives you the opportunity to get all of your wedding portraits, you know those stunning weddings that get published in magazines and blogs, those photos of the couple looking amazing all on their own against outrageously beautiful settings, well you’ll have a better chance at those shots if you give your photographer more than 10 minutes! Plus, this is a really beautiful quiet time together before the ceremony you can relax and get away from all the craziness.
- Why not get your wedding party pictures done before the ceremony too?! Why limit your wedding party to a measly 20 minutes of photos, these are your CLOSEST friends, your brothers and sisters. Treat yo’ self, how many times do you get to be all fancy with all of your friends AND have a professional there to document it?! IDK maybe that happens to you a lot. Also, take care of your friends, if you get all of their pictures done before the ceremony they can go STRAIGHT TO COCKTAIL HOUR AND DRANK
#2 Be Strategic about your Family Photos
- First and foremost GET ORGANIZED I have a streamlined process where we use note cards, to figure out every family member you want to be photographed and the groupings we need. I literally move and shuffle the notecards until I get the order just right. From there I work out a shot list to minimize movement and efficiently pump out these family photos. Because…
- It’s honestly not super realistic to expect your ENTIRE family to be available before the ceremony for pictures, logistics get weird and people get confused. That said, don’t be discouraged, I’ve seen it work so if you’re all in, it can absolutely happen.
- Consider having parents and siblings meet up with you at your first look location either before or after the bridal party pictures, hey what an opportunity for a first look with mom/dad! These photos can be so sweet! Getting all of your parent and sibling photos done before the ceremony can save you a TON of time during the cocktail hour.
#3 PREP Your Loved Ones
Since you know exactly who you need for your family photos following the ceremony, make sure they know their role ahead of time, use the rehearsal dinner as an opportunity to directly tell them “We love you, and want to include you in our wedding photos, we also care about you and want to make sure you have an awesome time at our wedding. Immediately following the ceremony can you follow us and the photographer for a few quick pictures?” be sure to explain the importance of not stopping to talk to anyone who is not in your shotlist, I know it sounds mean and I always feel darn awful saying it but I’d rather have you hate me for 15 minutes then to let you miss your cocktail hour… wait, did I say 15 minutes, YES I DID. That’s all you need for family photos with a little strategy. You just have to know what to ask for!
This post got super long and there is so much that goes into this topic I couldn’t possibly cover it all at once, if you’ve already booked with me DON’T WORRY, I’m going to hold your hand the whole way, you won’t have to lift a finger.
You deserve to get the most out of your day and I’m dedicated to your genuine happiness (I mean, my photos kind of depend on it!) So put me on your team already!
P.S. If you already found your perfect photographer and you’re still interested in making it to your cocktail hour I’d be honored to offer up my advice! Shoot me an email, slide into my dm’s, heck, you can even shoot me a text at 575-EBB-TALE (aka 575-322-8253)