I ran across this really great article about the timeline of a wedding day! They gave a lot of great advice about how to stay relaxed through out the day and things you might want to have a second thought to doing for the day. I have been on a lot of weddings and it makes me feel bad when the bride and bridesmaids haven't left themselves enough time to get their hair and make up done for the wedding! The day will go by fast and things will come up, so please leave some extra time for getting ready before the wedding ceremony. I'll admit, I'm on the fence about a first look because the old school in me wants to say wait for the ceremony, but from a photographers stand point, getting photos of everyone while it is earlier in the day makes sense to me. The next idea to avoid is a receiving line. I agree they take up to much time and if you are trying to get photographs after the ceremony you only have about an hour before the reception begin. When the article mentioned you would feel like you are trying to rush everyone along, I was thinking, I wouldn't want this stress on my wedding day. This brings us to the cocktail hour! I agree you do not want to have a huge amount of time between the ceremony and reception for all the reasons they listed! Personally, I'm not sure about the early afternoon and tell guest to go check things out locally. I think about how many weddings I have been on as a photographer and as a guest and sometimes people will leave early. I think a big gap in time between the ceremony and reception might lead to some people not coming to the reception. Lastly, it is very important to have a list of what you want to see happen during your reception and having an idea of how long everything will take is a smart idea!
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Here is the article from Style Me Pretty with all this valuable information in more depth!