Reception Tips + Tricks

This happens most often when the wedding party is seated on the same side of one long table. Do your best to place the head table in an alternative location. If it feels unavoidable, then make sure the bride, groom, best man, and maid of honor’s place settings are not near that big black divider so that their presence in photos is minimized.

Avoid sitting at room dividers

The bright light coming from behind you through the windows makes lighting difficult for the photos, which in turn reduces the quality of the images we take. When this happens images become hazy and discolored. Closing curtains or blinds can help soften the light but doesn’t always make for a great backdrop. To mitigate this, choose a different wall to place the head table, sit closer to the center of the room where the natural light can still reach your face, or put up a custom backdrop behind you to block the window light and make sure it is large enough for both you and any speech-givers to stand in front of.

Avoid sitting with your backs to windows

if needed so that we can truly see your faces and capture more of your guests in the background of the photos. This is applicable for very large venues where you are seated at a harvest table or kings table.

Turn chairs if needed

There are so many fun head table arrangement options! Regardless of which style you choose, we’ve put together recommendations to ensure we can give you the best pictures possible. Our general rules of thumb are:

head table placement

As photographers we need to stand up in order to capture everything that is going on and don’t want to block the view of your parents/siblings/grandparents in the process. The best way to ensure we have a great view of you and your speakers during the toasts and speeches is to make sure there is enough space for us to stand! Here’s an example of the 3 most popular reception setups for the head table. *other guest tables and spacing are not to size*

Leave 4-6 feet of space in front of the bride & groom’s table

The downside is that you may be limited on where this setup can go within your reception's venue and you will be limited in who you have conversations with at dinner to the person directly next to you. If your wedding party doesn't know each other very well this can feel isolating and lonely for them. 

This is a popular style for a reason. You get a great vantage point out to all of your guests and for your guests to see you. We love it because we can capture your reaction at the same time as the maid of honor and best man give their toasts. 

one long table

Some couples splurge on special seating for the two of them at their sweetheart table. Sometimes it is a fancier chair or a love seat that makes it feel extra cozy while you connect and talk together during the reception. 

If you want to let your wedding party members sit with their friends, spouse, or family, then this is the way to go.  

Spend quality time together as a couple with a table just for the two of you. 

sweetheart table

Because of its cozy nature, we typically recommend turning your chairs when it is time for toasts and speeches so that we have a better view of your reactions as you laugh, smile, and cry. 

Also called a harvest table. This allows you to see your whole wedding party at a glance while eating. The centerpiece displays at king's tables are often our favorites!

king's table


view diagram examples

Make your reception a reflection of who you are and don’t feel tied to formalities. We’ve seen couples do all sorts of unique and creative things through the years. Here are some ideas:

  • Switch up cake for a different dessert
  • Donate money from the dollar dance to charity
  • Ask guests to sing a love song for you instead of clinking their glasses
  • Or incorporate another cultural tradition that honors your heritage

Whatever it is that’s on your heart, do it!

Personalizing your reception

If you're looking for an alternative to the garter toss, we highly recommend a "Whiskey Box Toss" instead! We first saw this at a friend’s wedding in Arequipa, Peru then decided to incorporate it into our own wedding. The prize of winning a bottle of whiskey is far more appealing to your guests and its a practical gift for the winner too. Even with little knowledge of this tradition, we found that it was easy to get guys on board. Have the DJ make an announcement then send the bridesmaids to spread the message and gather guys on the dance floor. The confusion fades away when you tell them, “catch the box, win the whiskey.”  The guys eyes light up and brings out a little healthy competition in the process too! 

the whiskey box toss

Discuss with your coordinator and your DJ on ways you can keep guests are engaged and moving all night!

The DJ most often steps in to be the master of ceremonies and lets guests know what is happening - and when!

For example, they can give reminders for when the bar will open/close so that guests take their seats at appropriate times and manage expectations.

Keep it moving

Your photogaLlery


Emergency Kit
Vendor recommendations
Sample timelines

catholic wedding tips
hair + Makeup trials
dress fitting 


tips + tricks
feeding vendor team
cocktail hour
cake cutting
special exits


Out of sight time
timing & logistics
Nuptial blessing
receiving lines
aisle Reveals


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