After a year or more of preparing for your wedding reception you want to make sure that the room looks just the way you want it, that your guests enjoy themselves, and most importantly, that you get to celebrate your wedding day in the most relaxing and memorable way possible. Today I’m sharing tips on what to focus on so that everything falls into place and you get reception photos, too! Of course, you don’t need to have every single one of these items but whatever you choose to do will be well-documented and you’ll have lots of photos to remember them by!
What kind of wedding are you planning? Rustic chic, vintage glamour, classic romance… the possibilities are endless. Once you’ve decided on a theme that reflects your personalities, you can choose your wedding colors and start incorporating them into the different aspects of your day. Your reception should incorporate your theme while displaying your colors, too. Use your invitation and bridesmaids’ dresses to tie everything together. Click here for lots of ideas on wedding themes.
Your escort table is the first thing your guests will see when they arrive at your reception. Be sure to give extra thought to how you will display your seating cards. For examples, click here: 20 Wedding Escort Card Ideas. For table numbers, help your guests find their table with a unique table number. Click here for one of my favorite boards on Pinterest: All Things Table Numbers by WedOverHeels. Also, don’t forget about your guest sign-in book! Your escort table is a great place to put it.
There are so many different things you can do with center pieces. From fresh flowers in mason jars to floating candles in vases to hanging tea lights on branches there are tons of options to make your tables look pretty. Remember that your centerpieces don’t have to match, too. Lots of couples opt to mix it up with both tall and small and it adds lots of variety to the decor. For menus, it’s always nice when they are part of your wedding paper suite and match your seating cards and invitation. Or go green and display your menu on a cute chalkboard!
Don’t forget to decorate your gift table and find a creative way to collect the cards you will receive from your friends and family. For the favors, some brides opt to put a wedding favor at each table setting but I find that guests tend to forget them at the end of the night. If you place the favors on a table at the exit to the room guests are more likely to notice it and pick up their favor. It’s also a great place for you to stand to say goodbye to everyone as they leave. Also, if your favor is wrapped then be sure to leave an unwrapped one for us so that we can photograph it.
This has been so popular this year and I love it! Some of our couples have been displaying their wedding hashtag on the escort table, others have had the DJ announce it, and others have made cute little Instagram cards for each table setting. All of these ideas work great and I love seeing all the guests’ photos on Instagram. It’s such a great way to see your reception from your guests’ perspective!
Plan ahead and let us know if you would like to do sparkler shots so that we can prepare in advance! For sparkler exits, click here for the sparklers we recommend.
Your Maid of Honor and Best Man should stand next to you, not in front of you. This way their backs are not to the rest of the guests (or to us!) and everyone can see all of your faces.
Obviously you are going to pick a good-looking and delicious cake! But I’ve added this item to the list to remind you to do two things: The first is to request in advance that your cake be put on display during cocktail hour. Not only does this allow us to get good photos of it before all the guests enter the room, but it also means that it will be out for everyone to ooh and ahh over when they do arrive. And the second thing is to ask your Maitre D’ to move your cake away from the wall onto the dance floor for cake-cutting. This will allow all of your guests to see you much better and it makes for better photos, too!
A bride and groom’s first dance on their wedding day is always a favorite part of the day for us as photographers. Oftentimes, it is one of the few moments of the day when the newlyweds get a few minutes to themselves to focus on each other and take it all in. As photographers, we want to capture sweet images for you of your first dance. Images that thirty, forty, or fifty years from now, will take you back to that very moment. Images that are hopelessly romantic. This is why we suggest letting it be just the two of you. Yes, just the two of you. The entire length of the first dance. Just a groom and his bride during a magical moment. This will give us the time and space to allow us to capture so many more images of your first dance.
We just love a reception with a lively dance floor! Some ideas for how to ensure your guests are on the dance floor all night:
– Be sure to meet with your DJ or band to discuss the type of music to be played and make sure you pick dance-able music.
– Make sure you are dancing, too! Your guests will be more likely to dance if you’re on the dance floor, too!
– Do a soul train line! These are so, so fun and make for some great photos.
– Plan a surprise dance! Your guests will love it!
Hi! I’m Alex, lead photographer and owner of Idalia Photography. I've been photographing weddings for over nine years and I'm passionate about discovering beautiful stories, documenting genuine moments, and capturing timeless images along the way.
Together, with the rest of my team, I specialize in capturing classic and romantic weddings for elegant couples who are joyfully in love. Click here to contact me for availability and pricing.
Serving NJ, NY, PA, and beyond.