(Closed) How long after a wedding ceremony ends should a cocktail hour start? Same area.

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
8695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

My cocktail hour is starting immediately after ceremony. Most weddings I have been to only a few guests hang around the ceremony area. Many times people are hungry or want to get a drink.

Post # 4
401 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@lazy:  I just went to a friend’s wedding last wknd and we all headed to the reception area immediately afterwards, and then had to stand around, starving and sweating in the sun, for half an hr, until it was finally open. A similar thing happened to Future Mother-In-Law at a wedding last year and she fainted and had to leave. 

Nothing worse than waiting around IMO

Post # 6
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

In my experience, the only people mingling and picture taking (at the church) are really close friends and family. So with that in mind, I think it’s usually about 1/2 hour or so, and this is assuming a fairly large family on both sides but it’s fairly organized (meaning your DOC isn’t running around trying to find Grandma Jane and Aunt Hilda). It’ll take something to corrall everyone into the cousin shots, the individual family shots, the Bridal Party shots, etc. Everyone else will immediately head off to the cocktail hour because there’s no reason for them to hang around and watch the picture taking. As such, I would definitely start cocktail hour the moment the first guests start arriving at the new venue.

Post # 7
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Agree with the other Bees… you’ll want the Cocktail Hour to start IMMEDIATELY following the Ceremony… most folks will walk right over there if they know where to go.

Only close family members, and those who you want to take pictures with usually hang back (and maybe a few on-lookers if the weather is cooperative)

How long the pics take…

Well that is gonna depend on how many photographs / poses you are looking to have taken… and each will need time to set up, and shot multiple times (for every 2 to 5 shots the photographer takes, you’ll get one good finished photo for your collection)

I’d count on a minimum of photos taking 30 to 45 minutes… if you have a lot of pics to shoot… it’ll be longer.

TIP – If your Church set up is such that you go in and out a HUGE front door & staircase at the front… you might want to consider a group picture with EVERYONE in it… including the Guests.  You’d come out with your Groom proceed down the steps, followed by your Attendants, then the little ones would be upfront, and everyone else would be in behind up the stairs (Moms & Dads, Sibs, Close Relatives closer to the bottom / front).  These pics make a WONDERFUL keepsake if the setting is right… because you get everyone in and a bit of the Church too.  But most importantly years from now you can look back and see all the faces of those that shared your happy day (and sadly, in some cases dear folks who will have passed away).  As they say… sadly as we get older, it is only Weddings & Funerals we get together for… so use the chance to snap a picture of a lifetime (multi-generational too no doubt).


Post # 8
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

Another vote for immediately after. I can’t picture people mingling in a church. And if they know cocktail hour starts now, that’s where they’ll go right away instead of dawdling around. 

Post # 9
8577 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Our social hour is starting directly after the ceremony.

Post # 11
1177 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Maximum of 5 minutes. Ideally there are servers with trays of martinis waiting as the guests leave their seats. 🙂 

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