For Brides - Tips for Your Reception -

For Brides – Tips for Your Reception

January 19, 2018

I’m Manali
Brand photographer & educator based out of Northern VA & DC. When I'm not behind a camera or teaching about systems, you'll find me at a vineyard with wine & cheese or cuddled with my cat Keegan on our cozy couch!
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You made it to your reception on your wedding day! Now you can finally take a breather, relax, and enjoy the rest of your night as a newly wed couple! There are so many options for mini-events to include in your reception. Here are a couple of options that I’ve seen during receptions to help you get started as you plan out your perfect night:

  •  Bridal Party Introductions
  •  First Dance
  • Faughter-Daughter Dance
  •  Mother-Son Dance
  •  Anniversary Dance
  •  Traditional Religious Dances
  •  Welcome by Father of the Bride
  •  Blessings
  •  Cake Cutting
  •  Toasts
  •  Bouquet and Garter Toss
  •  Large group portraits with friends
  •  The Exit of the Bride and Groom (with sparklers, confetti, you name it!) 


If the reception is in the same location as the ceremony, during your cocktail hour I will try to photograph the reception decor untouched before your guests start to come in and put their personal belongings down. If the ceremony and reception are in different locations, I recommend having a cocktail hour outside of the main reception area, if possible, so that I can grab some great shots of your reception before the night begins and guests start laying down purses and coats on their seats. If this is not possible, I will focus on getting as many closer detail shots of the head table as I can to capture the essence of your reception! I do move things around a little bit to get clean shots (without salt & pepper shakers and such) but am very careful to put everything back as was!



Please make sure I have an updated timeline of the of the reception events (first dances, toasts, cake cutting, garter toss, etc.) & timings so I can be ready for these events! It’s vital that your DJ knows to not flash any colored lights during these big events as these make unfortunate color casts in your images & videos that are impossible to correct while editing. Please be mindful that these events require a bit of switching my lenses to make sure I get the best possible shots for each type of reception event. I will always give you the go ahead for when me and my second photographer are all set up to capture your events!



Lastly, please make sure to let your caterer know to provide a hot meal for me and my second photographer for dinner! We’ll eat quickly right at the beginning of dinner so that we’re free to capture any of the remainder events during your reception. A hungry photographer who is only taking pictures of your cake is no good to anyone. Also, no one looks flattering while eating so we’ll spare your guests being interrupted to smile and pose for any pictures while they’re eating. If you have a piece of cake to spare or a cupcake or donut, you know my sweet tooth is going to be all about that! 😀


In terms of planning how much coverage you need, I recommend having at least half an hour to forty-five minutes of dancing time included in your coverage in order to give me enough time to capture all those fun candid dancing shots during your reception! Whether this is before other main events such as your toasts, cake cutting, etc. is up to you. Additionally, this time during the reception will give me the chance to capture any of those big, fun group shots of your best friends from college or your extended family that we may not have time for during family formal pictures! If you’re unsure about how much coverage you’ll need, feel free to ask me! Based off of what you have in your mind, we’ll plan out how much time you’ll need to all those special moments during your reception.


If you’re worried about not having enough photography coverage time to photograph your final exit, ask me about the Controlled Exit! If this is the case, I will pull out the bride & groom as well as their bridal party and family

If you missed the first two of the series, check them out here!

Part 1 : Tips for Getting Ready on Your Wedding Day

 Part 2: Tips for the Ceremony, Bridal & Family Portraits


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