In many ways, while our wedding days are always precious, it’s the photographs we have at the end of them that we can look back on to help us relive the day over and over again. After all, when you’re “in it”, things are guaranteed to pass in one big blur. Weddings go by SO FAST! It isn’t until you receive your photos that you can really take a step back and appreciate the experience for the wonderful celebration that it was.
It’s therefore little wonder that a large part of your planning goes towards finding expert photographers like Christophe Viseux Photography to capture events for you. And, on the day itself, there’s likely to be at least an hour or more of photo-taking pre-ceremony. The trouble is that, as you’ll know from your own guest experiences, the ‘photography’ section of the day can have a habit of dragging out. That is why many brides and grooms are opting for a First Look. But, there are still some traditional folks who just don’t want to do this, and therefore, will take at least 45 minutes to an hour of pictures during cocktail hour.
For understandable reasons, no one wants their guests to be bored while they take photos. So, it is important to think of creative ways to keep your guests engaged during this time, beyond just serving cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
The good news is that there are some relatively simple options here, and any of them is sure to add a touch of fun to even the potentially slower parts of your day. All you need to do is keep reading to find out what plans you should put in place to make sure of it.
Get everyone involved
Getting your wedding guests involved as much as possible is an excellent solution. We aren’t saying that you should aim to get a personal snap with everyone (who has time for that?) Instead, things like group pictures after the ceremony is over can work wonders for getting everyone engaged with your photo session. And you will get a fabulous picture of everyone that came to celebrate with you!
Make sure the bar is open
Wedding guests are far easier to amuse with food and alcohol than you might expect, so make SURE the bar is open immediately after the ceremony. Pre-ceremony drinks can be fun too! Sadly, not all venues will open the bar right away, so it’s up to you to make sure that this happens. Setting up your own drinks cart or makeshift bars around the space could be a fantastic alternative and allows guests to help themselves while you are off taking your pics.
The fact is that, once the alcohol starts flowing, your guests will probably be quite happy to drink, chat, and be merry. No offense, but the chances are that they won’t even notice your absence! So don’t even think about having a room full of guests waiting on you without a drink in their hands. Also, along with drinks MUST come food. So make sure to provide lots of options for hors d’oeuvres or food stations. You don’t want “hangry” guests either. Hangry, bored and sober is NEVER a good combo, especially at a wedding.
Plan outdoor games
If you’re having a summer wedding, outdoor games can also be a fantastic option. Again, these have the benefit of keeping your guests outside with you, making for the best snaps and the most inclusive experiences. The inclusion of various lawn games (along with that flowing bar,) is also sure to have a transformative effect on individual enjoyment.
Let’s face it; guests young and old will struggle to resist that giant Jenga or croquet set. Even for guests attending alone, the focus of these games can prove a fantastic way to break the ice and get conversations started. And, to top it all, their presence outside likely means your guests will be able to look up at any stage and see the bride and groom in all their photography glory.
It’s the best of both worlds and, better, it’s a surprisingly affordable option. After all, lifesize lawn games are available in loads of stores, and should be one of the cheapest things you invest in for the entire day!
Consider hiring an entertainer
Wedding day entertainment doesn’t get much better than having an entertainer walk amongst your guests and surprise everyone they talk to. Whether you make this an apparent performance or leave everyone wondering whether there’s just a flamboyant guest in their midst is up to you. Think a skilled magician, circus performer, fire eater, or even strolling food and drink table. Again, this also has the benefit of helping to break the sometimes awkward wedding ice and bringing together groups that might not interact otherwise.
If you wanted to, you could even make more of an event out of this entertainment portion, with an actual performance. A stand-up comedian who gives a wedding-centric speech is sure to kick off the speech vibe for the rest of the day. Equally, a magician who performs a complete set is guaranteed to keep everyone captivated before, voila; the bride and groom reappear in a puff of photography lights.
Get your meal started
By this, we don’t mean that you should have your guests mid-main course by the time you arrive, but taking steps to get your meal started can still help to pass that photography session. The simplest way to do this would be to make sure that canapes float around as your guests wait. This can help those drinks go down, as well as keeping everyone at least satiated while they await the main event. You could also consider having guests start to enter the reception space and sit down to a pre-sat salad or appetizer, so that they can get on with the dinner portion, while you finish up your photos. A detailed and thoughtful timeline between you, your planner, and your photographer is SO important to keep things on schedule. And making sure your photographer is mindful and sticks to the schedule is also important! Sometimes photographers hog the bride and groom to steal the best light, or sunset, but this needs to be pre-planned as it can REALLY throw off a wedding schedule and cause delays.
Equally, seating guests can take around half an hour or more and is a process you can easily begin as you’re wrapping up with your photographer. That way, you save even more waiting around, as well as ensuring that you a can make a big entrance that beats even walking down the aisle and have everyone’s attention!
To some extent, photography sessions are an unavoidable part of your day and one that guests expect will disrupt at least some of your proceedings. That said, a good host will never leave everyone floundering for long, and these pointers ensure that you don’t make that mistake on your wedding day. Instead, implementing all or some of these tips should help even the slower parts of your day move that much smoother.
Whatever you do, don’t neglect to plan around the hour or more during which your photographer will need you. Only then can you ensure that your guests enjoy the day as much as you! And for the record, we are HUGE fans of First Looks just for this very reason. There are SO many positives to doing these…but that is a whole other blog post.
Need more tips, tricks, and advice? You know where to find us.