At the reception venue I try and resist the urge to fill in any spare time by immediately photographing the venue and reception area. My priority at this stage is to photograph the bride and groom’s arrival. I especially want to get them both in and around the car. I have been caught out before by over enthusiastic drivers that drop the couple off and are gone before I have time to take my shots. So now I wait.
After the arrival shots, it is not unusual for the wedding party to be served a drink with canapés or something of the sort. This is a lovely relaxing time for the couple – everyone takes their turn chatting to the happy couple, sharing a joke and passing on their best wishes.
I take advantage of this opportunity to capture some nice relaxed and informal shots of guests and bridal party interaction – it is also a good opportunity to photograph the reception area whilst it is still looking at its best. The couples (well to be fair it’s normally the bride and the Mums in my experience) spend a lot of time and money putting together the table decorations and wedding favours etc. - some reception areas are just stunning - the amount of work and effort involved in putting together such a display is extraordinary and as such I feel it is important that their efforts are recorded and that the photographs match the quality of the reception presentation. It goes without saying that it is important to get these images before the guest are allowed in and disturb arrangements.
After the reception venue has been photographed I will return to the wedding party. From a photography point of view this is an important part of the day. Many ‘reportage’ images will be shot during this period – put on your long lens and quietly go about your business. Concentrate on the Bride and Groom but don’t ignore the rest of the wedding party and guests – if you stay alert you can get a host of great looking natural shots of your wedding party enjoying themselves.