Recommended Reading: Spend More Time With Your Wedding Guests

Wedding planning is a huge undertaking. It’s no easy task, especially for a “first timer”.  I see a couple dozen wedding days unfold every year and I think I can offer some advice about how to make the experience better and end up with even better photos.
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If the average length of wedding day coverage is about 8 hours, 480 minutes, the length of a standard workday or a medium sized netflix marathon, I can tell you from experience it flies by. Fast! I often hear that couples planning their wedding want to spend as much time with their wedding guests as possible. Here’s some advice to help you make that happen:

1. Do a First Look

If you’re open to seeing each other before the ceremony then you can complete some, most or all of the portraits before the wedding. So when you leave the ceremony you can carry on with the guests to the cocktail reception. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to rearrange a wedding day so you’re not missing out on the party.


It has a practical advantage, but I do understand that some couples would want to go the traditional route. That’s ok, there’s some other ways to maximize your time.

2. Have a Longer Cocktail Reception

So it is usually called Cocktail HOUR, but if you want you can make it longer. Why not? You probably spent an afternoon before the wedding tasting and selecting passed hors d’oeuvres, maybe a signature drink. You should get to enjoy it with everyone else. There will be a lot of people that want to see you too!! Even just extending it by a half hour could make a difference.


3. Plan a Longer Wedding Day

If you have all the typical wedding events (getting ready, ceremony, portraits, cocktail and seated reception, dancing) you can carve out time to just slow down. Most weddings are fasting moving, go-go-go, but they don’t have to be. Can you give your guests an activity after the ceremony? Maybe a guided tour of your venue, a break to explore the city you’re in or maybe lawn games! While they’re busy with that you can finish off those portraits, then everyone regroup for food and drink.

Here’s some guests playing lawn games at this Codman Estate Wedding in Lincoln, MA


4. “Front Load” the Reception Events

This is something to discuss with your DJ or band but I do notice that receptions can drag if the events take up too much of the reception or guests feel like they’re just sitting, waiting for the next thing to be announced. My advice is to find a way to schedule the events so that they happen early in the night. Your guests will be focused for the parent dances and toasts and after that everyone can get into party mode. That’s always a highlight when the guests are out of their seats, well fed, a couple drinks in, dancing and celebrating.

The bride and groom had their parent dances at the same time, to the same song at this Union Bluff Hotel Wedding in York, Maine.

Not that it’s a time saver but it can be fun to share the dancefloor.


5. Short & Sweet Toasts

Have you ever been at a wedding with a long toast? I have.

Once a DJ told us about a wedding that had an 80 minute toast! He ended up intentionally cutting the mic and blamed it the batteries running out. He said there was a round of applause that it had ended. Wowzers. (I don’t have any stories on that level)

When you’re inviting friends and family to speak, express to them how important it is that it be short and sweet. Maybe save the real long tales for the rehearsal dinner when it’s a tighter group.

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Cambridge Professional Headshots

I had the pleasure of creating a portraits for a fast growing Cambridge technology company Kensho. On two different days I photographed the team in their Harvard Square office.

To me headshots are simple. They should effortlessly show the personality, confidence and character of that individual. That person should be able to look at their portrait and think, “Yup, that’s me. That’s me in the best version.”

If your online photo is a client’s first impression of you, then when they meet you in person the best compliment you could receive is, “You look just like your photo!” That’s a successful portrait.


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Nepal . Steph and Ben Trek to Everest Basecamp

Ben and I took a three week trip in Nepal recently (we squeezed it in before 2014 wedding season kicks into high gear). We spent our time in Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu, jungles in Chitwan and most of our days were spent trekking to Everest Base Camp (17,598 ft).


Want to see more photos? I posted a gallery on facebook. If you’re a past, current or future client you are always welcome to friend me there. It’s fun to share our photos and lives with others. When we’re not vacationing it’s mostly photos of our cute dogs


We traveled with and would 100% recommend Sherpa Holidays if you’re interesting in trekking to some of the world’s most spectacular mountain views.

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K+C . Snowed In Engagement Session . Westfield, MA

There’s something really special and cozy about a winter engagement shoot, especially when it’s in the company of two dogs and a cat. Even better when we get to warm up and dust the snow off in the comfort of your own living room.


This was exactly our plan back in February. We crossed our fingers for snow and didn’t we luck out! (it’s easy to reflect fondly on the winter of 2014 now that it’s April 1st!)


Kelly and Chris walked their two dogs down their quiet snow covered street.

(It was actually quite fantastic to be shooting at their house in Westfield, MA! My parents house is just a mile or two away, Kelly and I used to take the same school bus, even worked together at the corner store and I’m certainly thrilled to be a part of their November wedding at The Hotel Northampton.)


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Mary Ann Siron - April 2, 2014 - 6:50 pm

great pics!

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