One of my favorite parts from a wedding can often be the drinks reception. A few years back during a wedding up the country, it may have been Bellingham Castle, anyway, I was sitting having a meal with a videographer, who shall remain nameless. They told me a story about where the wedding photographer suggested that the couple drive out to a “lovely freshly cut field with bales and stuff” out in the country.
So, after a 40 minute needless excursion they get there. And here’s the best part, they line up behind the two other wedding cars that are apparently already there. Knowing how some photographers work you can imagine how long it took as they stuck it out.
Certainly not a trend I’d be into.
Apparently the couple arrived at their venue at 7:45 that evening. Or should I say night. Which is fine I suppose, though some guests will get bored. Ideally they would prefer to be in a room where the couple should be too. They are after all the focal point of the day. This can leave the married couple starting from scratch when it comes to meeting and chatting once they do arrive. And if late then how long before they both sit for their meal?
I have always been of the opinion that if you pay for a drinks reception then that is where you should be. that is where the buzz is, that is where the fun is, this is where the married couple should be in my humble opinion. It’s always so very lively with a room buzzing around the newly married couple.
As stressed in early postings, any session with the just married couple should be swift, and at a place that means something to you both and a pace that satisfies everybody. I do not think in over 400 weddings that I have photographed and documented ever suggesting somewhere for the couple to go. In my view this is not my place, why? Because it would be meaningless or just downright photographically generic. And often some couples will be happy to stay on site for the duration of their wedding.
From experience most couples that I have been lucky to work for are eager to be at one place. The venue where the drinks reception is. And this is where their wedding photographer, me, also would prefer to be. They are talkers, and they want to have fun. Engage with their guests and be entertained by the music. If you do decide to go somewhere for some pictures then generally it means something to you both. This is your choice. I will merely document the moment. This excites me, and it is what I am good at. For myself, I can get my teeth into documenting that part of the day with the happy couple, it is where the fun is, it is where everybody is.
I think most really get it. I’ve lost count of how many times somebody will excitedly say to me “really looking forward to the drinks reception!” And not for a swift token 15 minutes before being dragged into your banquet. This is where the pulse of the day is.
I know with may client type that if I suggested driving for the guts of an hour to play posing in a field somewhere for an hour or two I’d get some raised eyebrows, and rightly so. They do not expect a wild goose chase with their wedding photographer. The day can whizz by, enjoy most of it with those who have been invited to share your day. And I will document these moments in a set of natural pictures. In my vast experience it is the most enjoyable way to enjoy that day, and I have plenty of work to testify to that.
It is a short day, enjoy it wisely.