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.



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.



 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.


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


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!