4 Must-Have Reception Photos

4 Must-Have Reception Photos

Four Must-Have Reception Photos

Once the reception kicks off, my hope is to fade into the background, letting the events unfold candidly throughout the evening. This is an opportunity to be more of a photojournalist and document the moments of your wedding day as they happen naturally.

While the majority of the wedding day happens during the reception, there are four key moments that I focus on capturing. I more often than not refer to these moments as “Traditions”, because they are four moments that are so iconic for wedding photography.

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#1 Your Introduction

All of your guests are taking their seats and waiting. Let’s set the scene: the energy is high coming out of the cocktail hour, the music is playing, champagne is being poured, and the room smells like flowers and candles. All eyes turn to see the newlyweds enter the room to grand applause and cheers. What a wonderful moment! Some couples still choose to introduce their wedding parties, which can be a nice acknowledgment for them. However, everyone is really anxiously waiting to see that goosebump moment when the newly married couple enters the room together for the first time.


#2 The Toasts

The toasts are hands down my favorite part of the reception to photograph. I can’t quite put into words why this is — perhaps because the bride and groom are so concentrated on what is being said that I finally see their real emotions and reactions without them being camera aware?


It is also a perfect opportunity to focus on your VIPs, such as your parents, as they react joyfully to your toasts.  


#3 Cutting the Cake

I have an old black and white photo on my dining room wall of my grandparents cutting their wedding cake. And, one of my husband, Phil’s, parents. This photo is as iconic as wedding photos get — and I love it for that reason. Many of my couples display old wedding photos of their families at their receptions, and I always see the “cake cutting” photo and try to replicate it for them.

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Plus, it can be a silly, fun moment to capture a kiss or a big laugh.


#4  Dancing

Maybe it is not as much specifically dancing as much as it is a celebration. There are of course the special dances like the first dance for the bride & groom, parent dances, and possibly traditional dances such as the Hora.


(Note: you can see my tips for your First Dance in this post)

While I do not feel like I need to be at the reception until the end to capture everything needed, I do think it is important to be there for at least 30 minutes while everyone starts to hit the dance floor. It is the perfect way to finish off the night and to visually end the story of your wedding day.  

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