Picture this… you have just left your charming chapel at Gruene Estates and are headed to the outdoor reception to celebrate with all your loved ones. The night is sure to be elegant, enchanting, and full of events you want to capture and remember forever in your wedding photo album. First things first, remember that fantastic wedding photographer you saved up for, whose work and creativity you adore and FINALLY got booked? Then, take the time to sit down and discuss your expectations on the photos you want of the big day! A helpful tip is to provide a photo checklist to run a smooth show and allow your photographer to coordinate when it is time to snap the shot. Creating a shot list is a great way to know your southern “sparkle and hay” wedding will be one for the books, and feel confident each moment you want to look back on will be captured.

Capture Before “The Departure” – Wedding Reception Pictures

Another great bonus to this tip is to plan on getting these “picture worthy” events of a wedding done early in the reception. This will allow your older guest to enjoy these moments with you and will enable them to leave at a decent hour without missing anything. We have created an outline to highlight a few of the top moments you will want to have explicitly photographed at the reception and, along the way!

The Basics Before The Party

Have your photographer set aside a time before the wedding to photograph the reception space set up before the room fills with happy guests. The intricate details you spent months and months planning should have a spotlight in your wedding day album all their own! Details and room décor shots including table settings, place cards, wedding favors, centerpieces, etc. CAPTURE. IT. ALL. These are sweet momentums that build up your day and shine with your personality. Wedding cake detail shots are essential! Especially if sweet Aunt Sally made the cake from scratch herself, this would be a beautiful way to illuminate her work and contribution to the day.

Grand Entrance

Soak this moment in!!! Take your time entering your celebration. Perhaps you and your new love planned a choreographed dance entrance, or maybe you walk in, pop a bottle of bubbly, and have your guest already prepped with a glass in hand. Have your photographer be in the know so they can have the best location to capture your entrance in mind.

Toasts and Speeches

Let your photographer in on who are your dearest family member or friends, especially if they are planning to give a speech. It may be helpful to include a photo of these friends so the entire photography team knows who to be on the lookout for. Bring out the tissues and pour another glass of bubbly! This is a part of the reception that people want to hear and should be planned at an earlier part of the evening. 

Cake Cutting…or smashing!

It’s time to gather around and dip into the rich and decadent cake, a sweet spot in the evening for many wedding guests. It is a cute and lighthearted moment, and a time your guest get the opportunity to gather around the newlyweds for a fun tradition. Also, there is the element of anticipation to see what kind of couple you are…. Do you smash the cake into one another’s face? A gentle tease of icing wiped on the nose, or do you speak a firm (but playingly) “don’t even think about it” to your love. 

Lastly, a few more events throughout the evening to provide on your photo checklist are below. Keep in mind the age of your guests. There may be some older guests that may leave earlier in the evening than most. Take a moment to speak with each of those guests, thank them for being a part of the wedding, and have your photographer snap a quick picture of you together. They will appreciate you taking a moment from the night to thank them for coming, and you will have a memory to share with them from the day forever. 

  • First Dances
  • Bride dancing with her father. Groom dancing with his mother.
  • The bouquet toss
  • Couple mingling with guests
  • Guests dancing
  • Musicians, singers, DJ

The Grand Exit

Sparklers, rice, bubbles, or booze, however, you plan your send-off, it symbolizes you sailing off into your future together as a newly married couple. This is a moment you’ll want to bottle up with you for a lifetime. So consider what time you want to make your exit and provide a timeline to your wedding planner and photographer. 

We hope these little bits of advice can stir some ideas for each of the moments on your day. Use this as a guideline when meeting with your photographer to cover the basics. Of course, at the end of the day, missing a photo of your girlfriend catching the bouquet isn’t going to cause you to forget the way she nearly tackled your cousin to do it! But it is nice to know you have that moment noted beforehand with your photographer as a “must capture” moment!

Photography by Allison Jeffers Photography