What to Consider When Planning Your Wedding Reception

It’s been a while since I have done a education post so here’s one that’s super IMPORTANT! What to Consider When Planning Your Wedding Reception!

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This statement is a multi step process. First question to ask yourself is:

What’s the lighting like in my venue?

Is the space super dark? Is is super bright? Are you going to have candles lit? All of these things will affect your photos. If you have candles lit you will chances are have a dimly lit reception space with the candles giving off the majority of the light. If you have chandeliers you will have light surrounding your guests from the ceiling. Does any of this actually matter? No. It’s just up to your preference! I highly recommend that you flip through some different pictures and see what your preference is! You also should figure this out and let your photographer know in case they need to bring extra lighting!

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Does my DJ company supply lights? Will there be uplighting/disco lights?

This you NEED to figure out before your wedding. Otherwise during your first dance you may have green disco lights being shined on your face. While these lights may seem fun - I highly recommend requesting that all lighting be white during your dances and key moments. If this isn’t done your photos will have a tint of whatever color is being displayed during the reception. It causes everything to get that hue - even your wedding cake. Party lights are great and fun but save them for the party portion. Not the speeches/dances/cake cutting. I prooooomise you’ll regret it.


This one is SO important! When looking at your schedule make sure that your photographer and videographer will still be there when the important parts of your wedding are happening. Some venues don’t do all the formalities right off the bat so that’s something you’ll want to check with your venue and dj! Something to consider is asking your venue if you can do all the formalities in one hunk. This way you only have to get your guests’ attention once and then you can focus on just partying for the rest of your night!


Here’s an awkward but good one. It’s awkward because as vendors we feel bad telling you need a space buuuuuuut we need a space. I highly encourage that you have a vendor table in your reception. So frequently we get seated in rooms that are far away from you guys. When this happens we don’t see/hear moments going on. You can’t find us when you have a question for us and most importantly - we don’t have a space to put our things all day. This leads to us having to leave the reception to grab a lens or a battery OR even worse if we have to leave it in the reception space it can potentially be in your photos. Which is ugly and nobody wants.

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Here’s one that as photographers we really need to know! We can’t capture that dip, flip, or pose if we don’t know it’s coming! If you have one of those things try to face towards a camera when you do it! So often I have couples dip away from me and kiss and let’s just say YOUR FEET LOOK REAL GOOD… because I can’t see anything else 😂 You don’t have to rehearse it for your photographer by any means but just let them know if you’re planning to do any tricks so we can capture it.


Make sure nobody is allowed into your reception space prior to the reception starting. Most venues do this but if they don’t then you will have jackets on chairs and people sitting at tables. If you don’t do a first look then your photographer can’t get into the reception space before the tail end of cocktail hour so you want to make sure if that’s the case that there are still untouched tables when they get into the space.

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If you think I forgot something or you have a question about a part of the reception feel free to leave it in the comments below! 👇🏻

Things to Consider When Planning Your Getting Ready Photos

What to Consider When Planning Your Getting Ready Photos:

Get an Airbnb instead of a Hotel:

There are so many reasons to get an Airbnb instead of a hotel. The first reason is you’ll feel less crammed. They’re a lot easier to keep clean because there are multiple rooms to put your stuff and you can keep one room dedicated to getting changed in. The lighting on an Airbnb is typically better as well. You’ll have a lot more windows providing you with light which will provide a more natural and crisp photo. Another reason you may want to get an Airbnb is that you know by looking at the listing photos exactly what the light is in each room and you know exactly what the house/apartment will look like. With a hotel you never known if you’re going to get a broken lamp, dent in the wall, etc.

Make sure the room you’re getting changed in is clean:

Whether you have an Airbnb or hotel make sure the room is CLEAN. It will totally kill you later she you see that random flip flop on the floor or that Starbucks cup on the side table. 

Make sure there’s natural light:

Every person wants beautiful photos of them getting ready, right? You’re not going to get that with lights from lamps.. SO this one is a short one. Natural light = Pretty Pictures.


Hair & Makeup:

If you’re getting a blow out or loose curls leave your hair in the pins you’re given. It may look ugly for some of the getting ready photos but you will be SO SAD when your hair falls before the ceremony. 

Make Sure All of Your Vendors Are On The Same Timeline:

There’s many ways you can make sure this happens. The easiest way is definitely to hire a planner or month of coordinator. If you are planning your own wedding and timeline the first thing you want to look at is the time the sun is setting that day and work backwards from there. You can always ask your photographer or venue coordinator to help you! Once you have your schedule set, make sure you confirm it with all the vendors. Hair and Makeup will tell you what time they need to be done by and when you need to start getting ready and the photographer will tell you when to take all the photos, the caterer will tell you what to eat and when, and your DJ will tell you when to dance and when to party! But the number one thing you want to do when you get your timeline set is send it to everyone and confirm that the times work for them!

Wedding Details:

Ask Your Photographer If They Have Styling Tools:

If you would like a flat lay photo of your details be sure to ask your photographer if that’s something they provide or if you’re responsible for putting it together. Some photographers, like myself, keep a styling kit on hand. In my styling kit I have a flat lay board, ribbons, stamps, etc. If that’s a photo you want - be sure to ask!


Things You May Want To Consider Having in Your Detail Photos:

Something old, something new, something borrowed. You’ll also of course have your dress and shoes. Make sure to get a hanger! Wooden hangers are super cheap on amazon! Get one…you won’t regret it! You also may want to consider having your perfume handy, any jewelry, your rings, and anything that may be special to you on your big day!

Have Your Details Set Aside BEFORE You Start Getting Ready:

The last thing you want when you’re busy getting ready is to have to stop getting ready to go around and find your details for your photographer when they arrive. The easy way to avoid that is to have it all ready to go before your photographer even gets there.


10 Things to Consider When Planning Your Wedding

Things to Consider When Planning Your Wedding:


When to Book Vendors:

Most vendors book up about a year to eighteen months in advance. Do NOT wait to book your dream vendors! With that being said..never be afraid to reach out if your wedding date is less than that because there’s always a chance we may not be booked and we’d love to work with you. You’re great! If you’re interested in someone - reach out! A lot of vendors will have cheaper rates as well if you reach out over a year in advance because their packaging will likely switch over at the start of each year!

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions:

You are spending a LOT of money on your wedding. Don’t be afraid to ask your vendors a million questions. We get you’re spending a lot of money and making a big decision. We’re happy to help you out!

Preferred Vendors:

Once you have booked a vendor don’t be afraid to ask them if they have other professionals they work with often that they can recommend. On the opposite side of that…don’t feel like you HAVE to book who they refer. I have clients that come to me fairly frequently that booked a photographer their venue recommended because they were told they were the best and they cancel their contract with them and come to me.

Once You Have Booked Your Vendors:


On the wedding day don’t forget to have your details ready! This way you don’t have to stop getting your hair and makeup done and there’s no stress for you. Details you may want to consider having ready are your dress, shoes, jewelry, perfume, something old, something borrowed, invites, and any other details you want photographed.


Shot List:

Don’t forget a shot list for your family photos!! It will stress you out so much during family photos if you’re stuck trying to think of all the groups of people you want photos with the day of. Send it over to me a few days before and I’ll screenshot it and save it to my phone.




Make sure you send all of your vendors the timeline of the day a few weeks in advance! Each vendor has a preference of when to arrive and almost everyone will help you make a timeline for their portion of the wedding they’re handling.


If you want sunset photos - make sure you plan that into your timeline! Very often your dj will schedule your first dance and what not right around sunset because they don’t know you planned on going outside for sunset and then I have to cut in and it may throw your timeline off a little.

Day of Coordinators:

If you’re worried about sticking to your timeline or having to oversee parts of your wedding day, you should consider hiring a coordinator. They will help you coordinate with all the vendors to make the schedule for the day and help make sure everyone is on the same page.

First Look vs. Traditional:

I personally have no preference on whether my clients have a first look or not but let me tell you about the benefits of a first look. The biggest reason to do a first look is COCKTAIL HOUR. Arguably the best food of the night and what you pay all the money for. Granted your venue will most likely set some aside for you, but that’s not the same. A first look is more intimate. You’re not worried about all the people staring at you - it’s just the two of you. It’s your only alone time. The entire day people will be bombarding you with questions, pictures, you name it. During the first look it’s just you two and your third wheeling photographer(me). Last benefit is you don’t have to deal with going through the cocktail hour trying to find your family and friends because everyone came early.

Unplugged Ceremonies:

Consider having an unplugged ceremony. If you don’t your photographers can miss shots and your ceremony will be a sea of cell phones. Photographers have missed so many important moments because someone stepped in the aisle with their cell phone or dslr.


Vendor Table:

Consider having a vendor table at your reception! Most venues place us in another room or even outside to eat. Not only is it a little cold, but we can’t hear what’s going on in the reception. If I’m in another room it’s possible I’ll miss shots during the wedding! If we have a vendor table we also have a place to put our stuff down instead of plopping it somewhere in everyone’s way.

What Are Bridal Sessions and Why Should You Do One? - Demi & Vince - Bridal Session at Minnewaska State Park

I so frequently get the question..."what exactly is a bridal session?" So let me first describe the process of bridal portraits on the wedding day.

Bridal portraits on the wedding day:

On the wedding day you have two options - first look or no first look? Either way you only have a small window of time to take your photos. On the wedding day you're dealing with bridesmaid malfunctions or groomsmen being late. Or maybe you just don't feel 100% from the lack of sleep. When we take your bridal portraits, there is a time constraint. You have to be somewhere at a certain time and your guests are relying on you to party. This is why bridal sessions are so important!! I'll elaborate below.

Bridal Session on a separate day:

You know when you see those beautiful wedding photos on the top of a mountain? Or a couple running through some sand dunes? Or in the waves of the ocean? 80% of the time that was NOT their wedding day! It's a bridal session! We bring a bottle of champagne, pick a dope ass spot and make some magic! This all occurs without the hassle of having to stick to a schedule or listen to a million people calling your name. 

Misconceptions about the wedding day:

"omg but everyone is going to see my dress before the big day and it's going to ruin my wedding day!"

FALSE. Bridal sessions aren't even shared before the wedding day unless you give me permission to or unless you post them! Also- you've already shown all your friends your dress and your partner has DEFINITELY seen it hanging in the closet. If you don't want anyone seeing your dress, you don't have to wear your dress! Get a white dress!

"A bridal session will make my wedding photos less important."

FALSE. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING can replace your wedding day photos. The excitement on your faces is like nothing else and you can't possibly replace that feeling. A bridal session is just meant to accent your wedding photos, not replace them.

"I'm not even going to use the bridal session photos."

You can hang your bridal session photos at the wedding, use them as table numbers, make a book for your guest book and you can use them for your thank you cards!

Take a look at Demi & Vince's bridal session and see for yourself!


What to Wear to Your Engagement Shoot

A common question I get is; "What should I wear to my engagement shoot?"

Because of this I have created a style guide for my clients! I am going to summarize it up for you right here in this blog post! If you are interested in having me email you the full pdf, email me! (jordanjankunphotography@gmail.com)

First thing you need to decide is: What vibe are you going for? Do you want to be boho and earthy? How about chic and modern? What about a little bit of both?

Second thing you need to decide is: What do you want in the background?

Once you have decided on a location and theme, that’s when you plan what you are going to wear!

You also want to keep in mind that you may want to get your hair and makeup done. If this is the case you want to make sure you choose a hairstyle that matches your theme.

Wardrobe Tips & Tricks:

  • The best tip in my opinion is not choose colors that will go unnoticed in the surrounding area, such as green clothing in a forest. You also want to make sure that you come up with a color scheme the two of you will be following so your outfits do not clash. You want to make sure you compliment each other and that your outfits aren’t competing.

  • Limit your prints! A common mistake is to mix prints. If one of you is going to wear a plaid shirt for example then the other person should be wearing a solid shirt or top.

  • If you can’t decide on a theme you want to stick to, bring two outfits! Just be sure that if you’re only bringing one pair of shoes the shoes compliment both outfits.

  • Make sure you choose outfits that compliment your personalities! For example: If you’re someone who is most often wearing casual clothes, don’t show up in a ball gown or a suit. You want to dress up a little more than you would on a daily basis but you still want to look like yourself.

  • Don’t wear any clothing with words on it! Clothing with font can be super distracting in photos and it can get distorted in the camera as well. Try to stick to solid colors and don’t be afraid to layer some clothing!

What to Wear to Boho Engagement Sessions:

A boho engagement session is typically full of nature. For example; mountains, woods, gardens, fields, etc. If you’re looking for a boho, earthy vibe you want to pick clothing that is nice and flowy and allows you to breathe.  

Ladies, you will want to wear a maxi dress or a top with a lot of lace. Another great pattern is floral. You probably will also want to wear your hair down and in loose curls.

Gentlemen, you will want to wear a nice top and a pair of jeans or khakis. You want to wear an outfit that you would be happy
with wearing to a first date.

Check out the picture below for some ideas!

Boho Engagement Shoot Outfit Ideas



What to Wear to Modern Engagement Session:

A modern or industrial style engagement shoot is typically heavy on architecture. For example; New York City Skyline, brick buildings, art galleries, coffee shops, etc.

Ladies, for this style shoot you have a few more options with your apparel. You can wear a chic little white dress or you could wear a flowy top with some skinny jeans and some chunky heels.

Gentlemen, you can either dress up or down for this style shoot. You could either pair a blazer with some nice chinos or you could wear a leather jacket with some skinny jeans and a v-neck tee.

The big difference in these shoots is that you typically will have more a  passionate, intimate slew of photos where as boho engagement shoots are more romantic.

Check out the picture below for some ideas!

Modern Engagement Shoot Ideas

Shop Recommendations:

Enagement Shoot Shop Recommendations

Have any other questions? Comment away and I'll do my best to answer!