In recent years there's been a growing trend toward "First Look" photo sessions. This is where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony. The photographer has a chance to capture the magic of the moment they first see each other. Also, it severely cuts down on the amount of time needed for formal photos during the cocktail hour. More and more brides and grooms want to spend that time actually socializing with their guests. But, the cocktail hour without the bride and groom is still standard operating procedure. Our wedding pros have tips for making that time go a little smoother.

Jennie Eggleston, Harpist (Charlotte, NC):

Guests don't mind waiting, as long as it isn't too lengthy. Hungry guests waiting for more than an hour doesn't work.

Janet Raynor, Stilt Walker and Rouge Music (Seattle, WA):

[taking photos during the cocktail hour] is a mistake. This is the time you should be enjoying your guests. You have selected beautiful music that you don't get to hear. Couples enjoy the wedding more when they take photos before the wedding or later in the reception.

Delene St. Clair, Hot Pursuit Music (Valley Center, CA):

Do all the formal photos before the wedding and just leave the ones of the bride and groom for the cocktail hour.

Cherie Kay, Magician (Houston, TX):

Guests endure the wait, but are sometimes bored if there's nothing else to keep them busy. That's where a strolling magician is perfect to entertain kids and adults and keep them distracted.

Jane Zopff, Harpist (Mason, Oh):

I think having live music is very helpful. I often play classical music during the ceremony and switch to jazz and light pop for an elegant cocktail hour.

All of the pros agree, the photos always take longer than the bride and groom think they will, so plan ahead, and then plan an extra fifteen minutes!