New Jersey Wedding & Portrait Photography

You’re married! Time to party!

But, for it to be as fun as possible, it’s essential to make sure that you have your event well thought-out. 

This is the job of your coordinator and your DJ/Band.  Your caterer will also play a big role in the design and set up of your event.  

Every aspect of your reception affects the overall outline of the evening. 

For example, if you’re not having a plated meal, your reception will need to be set up in a way that allows movement. Guests will need to find the food stations easily, and there will be a mixture of dinner tables and high-top cocktail tables. This will encourage guests to mix and mingle.  

If you have a plated dinner, you will need escort cards, full place settings, and space for your guests to be seated comfortably.

Whatever the style of your event, make sure that you plan out all the aspects of the evening. Your coordinator and DJ can help you set up the evening so that guests won’t leave early or experience long periods of waiting for the next thing to happen. 

Much like the ceremony, you have the freedom to make your reception your own! Here is a list of some key events that often happen at receptions. Feel free to include or NOT include any of these! It’s your party. It should be exactly how you want it to be!

  • Wedding Party Introductions
  • First Dance
  • Father-Daughter Dance
  • Mother-Son Dance
  • Anniversary Dance 
  • Money Dance
  • Traditional Religious Dances
  • Welcome by Parents
  • Blessing 
  • Cake Cutting
  • Toasts
  • Bouquet and Garter Toss
  • Large group portraits with friends
  • Grand Exit

5 Tips for a Successful Wedding Reception

This is the fun part! It’s time to relax, dance, and celebrate!! 

Your reception should be a BLAST!  The last thing you need to be worrying about is your timeline. Your coordinator and DJ should take care of everything staying on schedule. This way, you can enjoy your night!

Here are some helpful tips that will help your reception flow smoothly:

1.Consider Your Guestlist

Take your guests into consideration when planning your timeline. 

If you have a lot of elderly guests that will not be staying until the very end, make sure you schedule the cake cutting at a relatively early time so they can be a part of it. Grandparents love seeing this sweet tradition! 

2. Keep It Moving

You want your reception to flow! Chat with your coordinator about how you can plan your reception in a way that will keep guests engaged and moving all night! They’ll have a blast if you do this right.

3. Make It Your Own  

If you want to have a special dance with your grandparents, do it! 

Couples now often get rid of the bouquet toss, garter toss, and cake cuttings in favor of staying on the dance floor and continuing the party! We are all in favor of a non-stop party. The point is, don’t feel tied down by traditions. Make your reception a reflection of who you are!

Also, make sure you give your DJ or Band a “Do Not Play” list if there are some songs you really don’t want to hear during your reception!  

4. Don’t Get So Caught Up in Formalities and Details

Sure, details are pretty and fun to photograph, but they can steal the joy of the day if you get too caught up in them.  (Just speaking from experience here!)  

Plan your centerpieces, welcome table, etc. well before the wedding date. Teach your coordinator or family friend how to set them up, so you aren’t even thinking about those things the day of! 

5. Plan Your Reception Coverage Time 

Wedding at the Ashford Estate, reception, New Jersey wedding photographer

If you haven’t purchased enough coverage time for your photography to last until the exit, that’s okay! We have several options! One of them is the controlled exit- keep reading!

We recommend planning your timeline so that you can have at least one hour of dancing photographed.  The guests who dance during the first hour will still be dancing in the third hour! One hour of dancing will be enough time to capture the joy of your reception! 

Having a Photo Booth at Your Wedding Reception

A great addition to your wedding reception that we offer is our open-air photo booth

It takes your event to a whole other level! It also provides entertainment for the wallflowers on your guest list. 

Since a physical booth is not limiting you, grab a group of your closest friends, snatch up some silly props, and go wild!

Features of Our Open-Air Photobooth
  • Professional Image Quality
  • Social media integration
  • Custom print templates
  • Animated gifs
  • Prints (one copy for your guests and one copy that goes in a sign-in guestbook for you!)
  • Tons of props

Doing a Controlled Exit from Your Wedding Reception

If your coverage ends before you will exit your wedding reception, you have the option of planning a fake exit with your wedding party! 

This is more common than you may think.  Instead of saving your exit until the very end, you can plan a fake exit with just the members of your wedding party and a few family members! 

This allows us to have more control over these shots, and the party NEVER has to stop! In most cases, no one even notices that you are missing for a few minutes! 

Also, it’s almost impossible to tell that all your guests aren’t there waving sparklers and sending off the happy couple! This idea allows our couples to save money and still have all the shots that they dreamed of! 

Final Thoughts

Your reception is your time to let loose and celebrate your marriage with your closest friends and family! A little planning ahead, and this could be the best part of your night, so make sure you do some thinking about how you want it to look before your big day!