If you’ve attended a wedding you may know what I mean by this. When planning your wedding, you always think things are going to get done quicker than they actually will. I’ve seen this scenario several times.  After the ceremony is typically when the guests meet for cocktail hour while the bridal party take their professional photos. However, professional photos usually will not be accomplished in thirty minutes, no matter how optimistic you are. Of course this depends on the number of people in your party, as well as how many poses you want in your photos. But normally, it takes some time.

Not only are your guests hungry, but you will want to mingle with them during this time, because the rest of your day is filled with non-stop activities. Here are a few ways to avoid the “unintended 2 hour – Cocktail hour”.

-Before the wedding day, scout out your ceremony site and/or reception venue (and have your photographer do the same) to determine the best settings for formal photographs; you don’t want to waste precious time on the day of your big event trying to figure out where to pose.

-If you aren’t the superstitious type, consider taking all of the formal portraits (including those of you and your groom) before the ceremony so that you and your wedding party will be free to mingle with guests during the cocktail hour. Should you opt for this approach, you can still make the first time your groom sees you special; one way to do this is to have your groom waiting for you at the altar while you enter the ceremony space and walk down the aisle toward him – after a few blissful moments together, you can start posing for the camera. (And have the photographer snap a few of his expression the first time he sees you)

-If you would prefer that you and your groom not see each other before the ceremony, think about taking the formal shots that don’t include both of you ahead of time. Again, this will allow you to spend more time celebrating with your guests.

Take it from me, taking these extra precautions will save you time and keep your guests from becoming impatient and starved.