We all know the reception is where the real party begins on the wedding day. But where photography is concerned I’ve noticed a trend for abbreviated reception coverage lately. Judging by the photos selected for albums, it seems that most couples put more importance on the earlier parts of the day and less on reception coverage.
Frankly, I like the idea. It allows the couple to put more of their photography resources into the preparation, ceremony, formals and run-around photos. It can also save the couple money, which is always welcome!
A typical reception requires roughly three to four hours to cover the major events. Really, there are only a couple events to photograph but they are typically spread out over several hours. That means you’re paying for more hours of coverage than you really need!
In reality, the major reception events can be covered in about one hour without rushing. While some couples get all the coverage events out of the way before dinner, many prefer to serve dinner before the cake and dancing. It looks something like this:
• Reception hall/glamor cake photos/guests – before the wedding party enters
• Your big entrance – 5 minutes
• Toast – 15 minutes (when time is an issue, couples remind the toasters to be brief)
• Dinner – 20 to 30 minutes. Even with a buffet and large guest list, most guests are finished in under 20 minutes from the beginning of service.
• Cake cutting – 5 minutes
• First Dance/Parent Dances – 20 minutes
• Coverage ends, put the party goes on!
Notice what’s missing? Only the bouquet/garter tosses, and many couples aren’t even doing that any longer. Even couples who choose to do the tosses, they’ve rarely picked those photos as particularly important. Believe me, I do a lot of albums and rarely are the tosses selected for the final cut. (and, frankly, who’s not going to get a dozen photos of this from guests anyway?)
So, does that all I do is short reception coverage? No. There are plenty of weddings where I spend three hours or more at the reception if that’s what’s important to the happy couple. But I have to admit that I really like the new trend for one hour reception coverage… and I’ve never felt the story is lacking in any way because of it.