The reception is often the most memorable and best part of any wedding day. The portraits are taken, the ceremony is over, and all that’s left to do is have fun with your closest friends.
I’m not a wedding planner, but I’ve been to enough weddings to know what works and what doesn’t. As a photographer, I have a slightly different perspective about receptions than a wedding planner. Here are 5 tips for brides to make the most of your wedding reception.
There are so many formalities and details involved in wedding receptions. Centerpieces, seating charts, place settings, wedding favors, and the playlist are all details that will need to be planned well in advance. On the day of the wedding though, try to delegate any responsibilities such as setting up, to a coordinator or family friend.
Part of enjoying your reception is actually taking time to eat! Enjoy the meal (and cake!) that you and your groom so carefully picked. Make sure to eat, and THEN enjoy the rest of the reception activities. This is one of the few moments of your life that all of your closest friends and family members will be in the same place. The thing I regret most about Jake and my wedding is the fact that our reception was so short. We really didn’t get a chance to talk to everyone and I wish we did! Enjoy your wedding reception and make sure to talk to each of your guests personally, you won’t regret it!
Keep the reception events moving so everyone is having a good time! One suggestion is to have a shorter cocktail hour. Instead of an entire hour, try 30 minutes. If you already have all your pictures finished this isn’t an issue. Another suggestion is to cut the cake as soon as you are announced. That way, after dinner you can go right into dancing and your guests don’t have to wait for cake. After dinner, I suggest doing the first dances and other activities. Then you can open the dance floor for all the guests and if you still need to talk to everyone, you can still do that while the dance floor is open. Make sure to talk to your coordinator and DJ about how you can plan your reception to make sure all your guests have a great time.
There are so many things you could do to make the reception your own! Some couples like to incorporate games, a slideshow, or dollar dances into their reception.If you want to do a dance with someone special in your life, do it!
If there are certain “traditional” reception activities that you don’t want to do, then don’t include them! You don’t have to be tied to the normal reception traditions. Also make sure to give your DJ or Band a “Do Not Play” and a “must play” list.
Most of the time, photographers don’t stay till the very end of a reception. If you don’t want to purchase enough coverage for me to stay till the end, you have several options! I recommend planning your timeline so that you have at least one hour of open dancing photographed. This also gives you enough time incase things get behind schedule. As already mentioned, make sure to keep the reception events moving and do all of the activities that you want photographed, before the dance floor is open.
If you want send off pictures, but don’t want to have to rush the reception to get to the send off, or don’t have enough coverage to the end of the night, consider staging a fake exit. Plan an exit with the bridal party and maybe a few family members to be staged when the dance floor opens. Nobody will notice you sneaking away and you’ll still get some great pictures! Just make sure to communicate with everyone you want involved ahead of time! Let them know the time and location that the fake “send off” will happen.