How to Rock Your Reception & Make Sure Your Photos Rock Too!!
When planning your wedding day make sure you think about and plan out your reception too. From timelines to centrepieces, a lot of thought goes into each and every reception. You always want to make sure your guests are entertained and having fun. You want to make sure its the party of a lifetime for your rowdy college friends but also a time that Great Auntie June can also enjoy. I get asked quite often from couples about how much photography do we need at the reception? What kinds of photos do you capture? How can I make sure the reception coverage tells the story of our day? These all all important questions and questions that can make or break your photography at your reception. I am here to help make all this easier and How to Rock Your Reception & Make Sure Your Photos Rock Too!
- How long do you stay at the reception? This is a great question, and it really depends on the photographers you hire. Some live for the party and are happy to stay to capture all those **Cough Cough** drunken moments while others will stay until all the major evens happen. This is typically what we do. We make sure the speeches are done, the first dances are danced, and the party as begun. Sometimes this includes the bouquet toss and garter toss, and sometimes it doesn’t, it is completely up to my couple and what they want documented and the time they have purchased. Usually the major events happen within the first 3hours of the reception, so we typically sneak out after then.
- Sunset Photos!!! If I can give every couple one piece of advice it is to sneak out during the beginning of the dance or during a slow part of your reception for sunset photos. It doesn’t have to be more the 10 or 15 minutes of your time, but these photos will ALWAYS be worth it! It also allows you two have a free moment to relax with each other and step away from the hustle and bustle of the day.
- Cutting the Cake. You have perfectly picked out your dream cake, you have tasted all the flavours and the designer has made your dreams a reality. Now that it is reception time and the cake has arrived make sure you have also taken into account where you put your cake. Please don’t stick your cake in a dark corner or in front of a door or emergency exit. That will make for not nice photos. It is best to place it somewhere central in the room and if the space behind the cake isn’t the prettiest it might be a good idea to rent some pipe and drape to spruce it up. I promise you photos will be 100 times nicer if there isn’t a bright red exit sign over your heads when your cutting your cake.
- Feed Your Crew. I goes without saying but we really do appreciate and also require a meal at your wedding reception. We have usually spent all day with you and haven’t had a chance to sneak away and eat lunch and sometimes are going on 10ish hours of shooting time. By having a vendor table or a small table at the reception in the same space you are, it ensures you won’t have a photographer passing out during the first dance due to lack of food, but also it ensures we won’t miss a moment capturing of all the fun.
- Lighting! Whether you are inside for your reception or out the lighting in your space is super important. Outside you want to make sure there is enough light that everyone isn’t sitting in the pitch black. Also most cameras have a hard time focusing when its just black. We do bring flashes and other lighting but it is still hard to capture things well without lights. String lights, chandeliers and tons of candles can help add the perfect glow to your outdoor reception space. Inside fancy coloured uplighting can add so much ambience to a space but also keep in mind that uplighting can also be reflected on you as well. Make sure the lighting is far enough behind your head table that the light isn’t casting a blue glow on you for all your table photos. Spot lights on head tables and speech podiums are also hard to shoot. Opt for flood lights or the over head lights to make sure you have the best lighting. During the first dance ask your DJ what type of lighting they plan on doing. If they say lasers then say a BIG NO! Laser lights are 100s of pin lights that will shine on you two as you dance. It isn’t the most romantic and can be a HUGE pain for photos. Hundreds of green does on your white dress can really turn your special moment into a nightmare. Our camera flashes can not out power these lights so they will always show up in photos. For the rest of the night the laser lights are fine (definitely not my favourite) but I’m not as picky for the party time.
- Speeches. Same as the wedding cake placement the podium for your speeches is just as important to think about. Nothing is more unattractive then wires, exit signs, speakers, projector screens in the background. I always try my hardest to compose my images without these things distracting from the speaker but sometimes it is unavoidable. Its best to plan ahead and take a step back once the room is set and see what would be in the photo around them. Again if it is not super attractive it might be best to put another panel of pipe and drape behind the speaker.
- Same Day Edits. A Same day slideshow is something I love providing for my couples. During dinner I quickly edit 15-20 photos from your day for you to see right then and there. This way you and everyone else at your wedding can see some of the amazing memories captured. I also love to play this on the tv, projector or even just on my computer for the full reception. This means I may need to bring special wires to be able to hook up to the screens. If I know in advance what format you would like it shown (ie. projected or just on a laptop) it makes it much easier to be prepared. If it is just going to be played on my computer (which is usually the easiest option) having a small cocktail table set with similar linnens by the bar is the perfect spot for you friends and family to view it.
- Timeline. For a successful reception it is important to stay on time and have your emcee keep the party on track. I will attach a sample timeline that is a good rule of thumb to follow:
5:30 PM Reception Begins
6:00 PM Formal Entrance/Introducing bridal party, Bride, and Groom
6:10 PM Dinner Blessing
6:30 PM Begin food service
7:30 PM Speeches
8:00 PM Cake Cutting
8:15 PM First Dance
8:20 PM Father/Daughter dance
8:25 PM Mother/Son dance
8:30 PM Shoe Game
8:40 PM Dance Party Begins
8:55 PM Bouquet Toss
9:00 PM Garter Toss
Your reception can be one of the best parts of your whole day in fun and photos as long as you plan out your time, take a step back and make sure the spaces all your details are in are photos ready, and its lighting is on point. If thats all taken care of you are bound to Rock Your Reception & Make Sure Your Photos Rock Too!
If your looking for a Wedding Photography and are in the Calgary, Cochrane, Canmore or Banff area get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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