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Wedding Reception Ideas
by Christa Hoffarth

Having planned my own wedding, there are plenty of things to consider carefully for your reception, especially when it comes to the pictures.

Cake & Head Table

Look for distractions that will be behind your head table and the cake table.  Are there any exit signs, wall-mounted thermostats, or swinging kitchen doors in the background?  Try to place these designated tables in areas that are free of distractions.  Your toasts and speeches always tend to be delivered near these tables, and you want to ensure that there is nothing obscuring the photos.

First Dance

Going right into the first dance after you are announced always produces a nice stream of energy and enthusiasm.  Guests have probably already had a little bit of food in their bellies from the appetizers, and hearing your names announced as husband and wife generates plenty of excitement.  This energy on the dance floor during your first dance as husband and wife is a wonderful transition, as opposed to just going and taking your seat right away.

Theatrical Lighting

One of my favorite features at a reception (aside from gorgeous flowers) is when a lighting specialist sets up specific lighting.  They can accent light where important reception events take place, such as the cake cutting, toasts, and dancing.  A huge part of what we see as photographers is light, and nothing gets me more excited than gorgeous light and ambience at a reception.  I shot a wedding  where both the bride and groom were actors in New York, and their theme for was “Starry Night.”  They brought in a lighting specialist for their reception, and used a lot of blue and orange light, which was gorgeous in comparison to the venues’ typical lighting arrangement.  The lighting alone made a world of difference in their pictures.

Table Arrangement

Go long. Personally, I love the set up of using long tables at a reception.  I love the effect I am able to capture with my depth of field with long tables.  There are many more angles you can capture with long tables versus a room full of round tables.  It’s typically easier to move around when the room is set up this way.

Christa Hoffarth is a professional wedding photographer in Lake Tahoe, CA.

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