A BRIDE'S GUIDE TO AN AMAZING WEDDING:
THE WEDDING RECEPTION
The key to reception planning is organization. Receptions have many moving parts and depending on your background it might have additional cultural or religious traditions that need to be incorporated.
As photographers covering the reception, we'll capture all the traditions as they unfold with little or no interruption. We will never tap you in the back or ask you to smile at the camera to get a picture. Our main goal during the reception is to capture the stories happening naturally and organically. We want to capture the joy, the tears, the energy in the dance floor so 20 years later you can look at those photographs in your album and relive those precious moments.
Below you will find the most common wedding reception traditions and a few tips to ensure you get the most or your your wedding reception.
TYPICAL ORDER OF EVENTS
THE GRAND ENTRANCE
The grand entrance is the first wedding tradition that happens during the reception. The grand entrance introduces you and your newly husband/partner to your wedding guest. In most cases the parents of the couple and the bridal party are introduced first, this in itself creates a sense of excitement among your wedding guest. The grand entrance happens very fast; therefore, it is very important that the the venue's wedding day coordinator or the DJ organizes everyone 10 to 15 minutes prior to the grand entrance.
To get the most our of you photography, ask your bridal party to hold until they are close to the dance floor before they begin with their "performance" - it is common for the wedding party to do a little dance or some other funny thing to create excitement.
THE FIRST DANCE
One of the most memorable segments of the wedding reception is the couple’s First Dance. It typically follows the grand entrance and it's a very emotional time for couple and their parents. However, during this time all eyes are on you and dancing under the spotlight in front of a group of people can feel a bit intimidating. Dance lessons and a good dance instructor can empower you and give you the knowledge, experience and the confidence needed to perform in front of people and enjoy the intimate and romance of your first dance. Here are some tips on how to create the perfect first dance:
- Try to select a a song with a consistent beat and no longer than 3 minutes.
- Select a dance instructor with experience in ballroom dancing. Give him/her details about the dance floor, where will you enter the dance floor, the shape of the dance floor and the size. Also, let him/her know what type of wedding dress you will be wearing and what you have in mind for your First Dance. Some brides love dips, turns and spins, letting the instructor know your vision can help him/her choose a choreography that is easy to achieve, is elegant and beautiful to photography.
- Start your dance lessons at least three months before your wedding. Let's be honest most guys, are not much into dancing. Starting your lessons in advance will give you ample time to plan, convince your partner that dancing is not that bad, and practice. Practicing your dance and knowing all your moves will make you feel comfortable and more relax during the actual First Dance.
- Be in sync with your DJ or band leader and make sure they have the right version of your First Dance song and when you will start and finish your wedding First Dance.
It is very common for couple to schedule a parent dances - father/ daughter and Mother/son dance during the reception. As with the first dance, choose a song that is under 3 minutes and is easy to dance.
DURING A JEWISH WEDDING
If you are having a Jewish wedding, you will most likely have a hora scheduled during the wedding reception. During the hora, family and guests hold hand, form a circle and dance around you and your spouse. Additionally, it is tradition to lift you, your spouse and your parents while sitting on a chair. The hora is a fun, energetic and great for photographs.
I always recommend the DJ to place the Maid of Honor next to you and the Best Man next to the groom to let me photograph the 4 of you together.
The cake cutting usually happens within the last 1.5 hours of the wedding reception. My recommendation is to cut and serve the cake as early as possible so everyone can enjoy it. Guest start to leave during the last hour of the wedding reception.
BOUQUET & GARTER TOSS
If you plan to toss the bouquet and garter during your wedding reception, I recommend you do it right after the cake cutting when most guest are attentive and in the dance floor. This ensures every enjoys this tradition.