Wedding Photography

The Wedding Photo Checklist: Part 7 – The Reception

The 7th and final installment of our Wedding Photo Checklist Series deals with the reception. This is the fun and celebratory part of the wedding and provides many interesting photo opportunities. There are a few obvious moments that need to be captured (the first dance, throwing the bouquet) but there are also quite a few other moments that you might want to be on the lookout for. For the most part as long as you (the photographer!) are paying the proper attention, all the “big” moments will come pretty naturally but it is important to be on the lookout for the more spontaneous special moments as well. Some amazingly beautiful candid shots can come out of the reception.

Here is a list of the photographs that need to be taken before and during the reception:

  • Interior and exterior shots of the reception hall before the guests arrive. If it is possible to take a photograph from above that would be great
  • Detail shots of things like the guest book, table seating board, name cards, table settings, wedding favours, centrepieces and champagne glasses
  • A good close-up of the cake
  • Hors d’ oeuvres and specialty drinks (eg – if guests are served champagne and cherries / strawberries on arrival)
  • Guests arriving and signing the guest book/checking the table seating board
  • The bride and groom arriving
  • Close up of all the speeches and toasts
  • Bride and groom speaking with their guests / showing off their rings
  • Bride and groom sipping champagne at their table
  • Each food course as it is served
  • DJ / musicians / entertainers
  • Bride and groom’s first dance
  • Bride dancing with her father
  • Groom dancing with his mother
  • Parents and grandparents dancing together
  • Guests dancing
  • Children dancing (in general remember to keep an eye on the kids. The ring bearer and flower girls can provide especially sweet photo opportunities as can any other children present at the reception)
  • Bridal party dancing with their partners / in a group
  • Cutting the cake
  • Bride and groom feeding each other cake
  • Bride and groom handing out the cake (if they follow this tradition)
  • Groom removing the bride’s garter
  • Garter toss
  • Bouquet toss
  • Whoever catches the bouquet
  • Newlyweds leaving the reception
  • Honeymoon vehicle

And that concludes our series on all the “must have” shots to be taken at a wedding. I’m sure the comprehensive lists might prove to be a bit daunting but trust your instincts and only let lists be a guideline. Remember that there are no hard rules as each wedding is different. It is up to the creativity of the photographer to capture the essence of each unique event.

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