Wedding Planning

Wedding Planning: How to Schedule Your Reception Events

Planning Your Wedding Reception

Imagine you just said your I dos, signed on the dotted line, and now you're ready to celebrate and party! The flow of events is crucial during your wedding reception. You want to ensure you and your guests are looking your best and having the time of your life while celebrating your union.

Every wedding is unique with traditions and celebrations, but I strongly recommend scheduling all your important events within the first two hours of the reception and recommend a minimum of 2 hours of photographic coverage. Here are a few reasons why I recommend and feel this way.

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1. EVERYONE IS LOOKING THEIR BEST

Everyone is still looking their best for parent dances, toasts, and cake cutting. After heavy dancing, hair and makeup can end up less than perfect and sweatiness can show up in the photos. I find that guests appreciate looking their best for these important events.

 

2. NOT ALL GUESTS STAY LATE

 Guests, especially those with children, or who are older tend to leave the reception on the earlier side after the meal. It's best when you can include those friends and family in the events and looks better in the photos when there is a full house.

 

3. FLOW OF EVENTS

Getting all the "business" events (dances, toasts, cake, etc) out of the way helps keep the energy up at the reception. Energy & dancing typically dips between these events and can be hard to get back.

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Example of a reception timeline

7pm Reception begins

7:10pm Introductions 

7:15pm First Dance

7:20 Hora (if applicable)

7:30 Toasts + First Course

7:45 Parent Dances

8pm Dinner

8:20pm Open Dancing or Special Performances

8:30pm Cake

9pm Sparklers or Exit Photo

9:10 Open Dancing

9:30pm Photographic Coverage Ends

11pm Reception Ends

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Do I Need Photography Coverage Til The Very End?

This is a personal decision for each couple and wedding based on your specific events and preferences. We will work together to find out what coverage is right for you and your event, but here are a few initial things to consider.

1. FORMAL EXITS

Formal exits with sparklers, confetti, and other props can be a lot of fun. A formal exit can happen at the end of the evening or can be staged earlier. I especially recommend sparkler exits be staged earlier with less people for safety reasons. At the end of the evening, "Uncle Joe" might have had too much to drink and doesn't need to wield a flaming sparkler.

2. PERSONAL PREFERENCES

I have definitely had clients in the past who valued candids and reception photos over formal shots. We worked their timeline to include coverage until the very end for their favorite and most anticipated shots. On the contrary, I have had clients, who for some of the same reasons as guests leaving early, looking sweaty later in the evening, and wanting to take a break from photos end their coverage after all the events have been covered.

Please reach out if you have any questions on how to schedule the flow of events for your wedding day!

Wedding Planning: Rainy Weather

Wedding Day: Rainy Weather Preparations

Stormy weather won't stop you from having a wonderful and incredible wedding day, but being prepared and having the right mindset can help avoid headaches the day of your wedding if rain is in the forecast.

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How To Take the Best Rainy Weather Photos

 

1. BE PREPARED

If there is any chance of rain in the forecast for your wedding day, I recommend putting together a rain kit of umbrellas and appropriate footwear and even fun rain jackets. Clear umbrellas are best for photography and allowing the light to come through the umbrellas, while avoiding a color cast on your face from colored umbrellas. Having a different pair of shoes or rain boots on your feet can be cute or even hidden under your dress when taking photo outside in rainy weather. I recommend at least 1 umbrella for every 2 people in the bridal party to ensure everyone is covered.

You can purchase clear umbrellas for the entire bridal party on Amazon here - Purchase Umbrellas

 

2. PLAN FOR ALTERNATIVE LOCATIONS

If rain is in the forecast for your wedding day, we will have a discussion on any changes in plans needed and how to get the best photos for your specific wedding and venue. Most venues always have covered areas (example: venue entrances, gazebos, decks, balconies, etc) or beautiful indoor options. We will come up with a game plan on alternative locations that have the best light and backdrop.

 

3. CONSIDER HAVING HAIR AND MAKEUP STAY LATER

If rain is in the forecast it might be a good idea to check in with your hair and makeup artists to see if they are available to stay later. That way if your hair and makeup need some help between transporting between locations or photos in the rain you are able to still feel refreshed and confident for the rest of the day.

 

4. CLOUDY OVERCAST WEATHER MAKES FOR GREAT PHOTOS

Cloudy overcast weather can be awesome for photography on your wedding day. Overcast weather gives us more options and locations to shoot in where we don't have to avoid the harsh shadows created by the sun. Wedding days are romantic and overcast weather can play into and help create that romantic mood in the photographs.

 

5. EMBRACE THE RAIN

Attitude is one of the most important factors when tackling the rain and schedule changes. Guests, vendors, and everyone is going to take their cues from the Bride & Groom on how to react to the situation. Keeping calming, being prepared, and knowing that there are options to tackle this unique situation will keep everyone in the right mind set to continue to enjoy the celebration. Puddles and rain offer incredible opportunities for creative portraits and photos that are unique and fun.

Wedding Planning: Why Have An Unplugged Ceremony?

Why have an Unplugged Ceremony?

You've spent months planning each and every wedding detail, invited your closest friends and family to enjoy an evening of celebration, and hired professionals to ensure your wedding day is documented and flows effortlessly. An unplugged ceremony, where guests refrain from using ipads, cellphones, and cameras to take video or photos is one of the best ways to create a present and beautiful ceremony.

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1. BEING PRESENT

Imagine every person who has played a role in your life, is watching you exchange vows with your loved one and experiencing the excitement, love, and pure happiness that surrounds your union. Guests can truly be present and in the moment during your ceremony when they are not distracted by trying to grab a photo for facebook, snapchat, instagram, etc. After they grab the photo, they check to see which frame is perfect, maybe write a caption AND make sure the photo uploads properly to the internet, instead of baring witness to your union. Grandma should be able to hear every vow, friends should be able to see you walk down the aisle clearly, and every guest should experience your wedding as a honored guest.

 

2. LESS DISTRACTIONS

If all guests are present and enjoying the ceremony, there are less distractions and more focus on what really matters, your union.  There won't be any guests trying to capture "good" shots, distractions by devices on sticks, or unnecessary noise and movement.

 

3. BETTER PHOTOGRAPHY

You've hired and trusted a professional to capture your wedding day so that your guests can enjoy the celebration, and you can rest assured the professional will capture the emotion and moments throughout the day. Your photographer will be able to capture the best shots of your day if guests are seated and enjoying the ceremony, and not hiding behind a screen or device or blocking a moment or view to get their shot.


 

How To Plan An Unplugged Ceremony?

If you've decided that an unplugged ceremony is right for you and your wedding day, here are a few ways to make the decision go over smoothly for everyone.

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 HOW TO LET YOUR GUESTS KNOW

There are a lot of ways you can let your guests know that you are having an unplugged ceremony before the actual wedding day and beautiful custom designed signs to remind them the day of the wedding  Here are a few common ideas.

1. An informational page on your wedding website letting guests know you have decided to have an unplugged ceremony. Guests are already checking your wedding website for details about your big day, here you can also include a link to your custom wedding gallery where guests can pre-register to be notified when the photo gallery is live after the wedding day. (Ask Bri for your gallery link if you want to include it on your wedding website.) Guests are typically more apt to refrain from using their own devices when they know they will be directly emailed a link to the wedding photos.

2. Add a note in your wedding day program.

3. Custom signs before entering the ceremony site that remind guests to leave their phones off.

4. A vocal announcement from the officiant.


 

 HOW TO POLITELY ASK YOUR GUESTS

1. "Welcome to our unplugged ceremonyplease turn off all cellphones & cameras and enjoy this special moment with us. Thank you.

2. "We invite you to be fully present with us at our unplugged ceremony, kindly turn off your phones & cameras."

3. " Welcome! We invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ceremony. We kindly ask you to please turn off all cameras & cell phones during the ceremony. We will gladly share our professional photos with you. Thank you."

4. " We would love to see your faces, not your devices. Please put away your phone and cameras until after the ceremony. Plus our photographer is awesome and will share."

5. "No Pictures, Pretty Please. We invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ceremony. We respectfully ask that you leave your phones, cameras, and other devices away during the ceremony. Our amazing team of professionals will capture every moment of our wedding ceremony."


Though it is not required to have an unplugged ceremony, I encourage you to think about how you envision your ceremony and the experience for you and your guests.