This is Part 4 of us explaining how we work with couples planning a wedding and during their wedding day. If you missed the other parts, here they are:
I will cover how we photograph the reception and the normal order of events. If the couple has hired a DJ or a band, we like to coordinate the timeline with them so we are all on the same page. We consider the reception to start as soon as we are done with the couples photos and they are announced into the reception area.
Bride and Groom entering reception hall
Usually after the bride and groom enter the reception hall, they will be surrounded by well wishers and given hugs and kisses by everyone. We’ll take a few photos of that happening, but not too many. If we have been hired to only attend a small portion of the reception, we will get the DJ to work with us to get photos of the cake cutting (even if it’s fake), the first dance, and the bouquet/garter toss. We prefer to be there for most of the reception so we can photograph them as they happen logistically, but some couples budgets don’t allow for that.
If we are there for most of the reception, dinner will usually take place shortly after the couple arrive. They usually have arranged to feed us poor starving photographers, so that’s very much appreciated. After dinner, there are generally toasts by parents, maid of honor, and best man. We ask the couple to stand near the toaster so we can get all of their reactions, toasts, hugs, etc.
Bride’s dad toasting (and roasting) the couple at the reception
During the dinner, we will take photos of the guests at their tables so the couple has the memories and a record of who attended their wedding. If there are 100 or more guests, we have prepared business cards with instructions on how the guests can view the photos once they’re ready and on our website. We pass these out while we’re taking their photos. We also take photos of the food, signs, the DJ, the flowers, and any other items the couple would want to remember. We also take the bride and groom’s wedding rings and photograph them in various places. As we always say, the food and the flowers will be gone after the wedding, but the photographs last forever!
Wedding rings in bouquet
After dinner and the toasts, the cake cutting is usually next so people can enjoy their dessert during the first dances. Since the couple has usually never been married before, I generally give them some basic instructions on how to hold the knife and how to cut a small piece to feed each other. Every once in a while, they will smash it into each other’s faces, and yes, it is fun!
Bride smashing cake into groom’s face
Bride and groom cutting cake with no smashing into faces
Next we move on to the First Dances. The bride and groom are first up, then the Bride and her dad, then the Groom and his mom. After these three dances are completed, everybody gets on the dance floor for some fun (and to wear off the calories from the dinner and cake – haha). We also get many photos of everybody dancing later in the evening.
The First Dance
The last things that usually take place are the bouquet toss and the garter toss. The bride usually has a spare smaller bouquet that she uses for the toss. After that the groom needs to remove the garter from the bride’s lovely leg. Many times we’ll tell the groom he has to crawl to the bride and without using his hands, remove that garter.
These are so much fun with lots of single ladies and men trying to catch the prize, although I have seen some people in the groups actively trying to AVOID catching the prize. For these shots, since it’s somewhat dark by then, I have a flash on my camera either with a bulb softener or bouncing off the ceiling to light the bride and Ken holds another flash with an umbrella to light the ladies. Same thing for the groom and his guys. After the bouquet and garter have been tossed, I get a photo of the winners with the bride and groom.
Bride throwing the wedding bouquet
Broom searching for the garter
When the sun is getting ready to set, or if it’s already dusk, we’ll take the couple out for a few more photos.
Bride and Groom with moon
These 4 posts are based on a typical 6-8 hr wedding. There are many variations and differences in everybody’s wedding day. I hope these were informational and would love to hear your opinions.
Long Live Love!
Karen Skelly Photography
Photographers in Durango CO