Presenting Mr & Mrs – Confetti and Congratulations
Exiting the venue as husband and wife is the only part of your day where your wedding photographer may be strict with what needs to be done and the time scale. There will be so much you want to do yet time constraints will likely prove limiting. At this time, everyone will be vying for your attention, wanting to give you congratulatory hugs and good wishes for your future together.
Setting Up for the Venue Exit & Confetti Photography Sequence
The moment you leave the venue into the bright daylight to be showered in confetti by an avenue of guests isn’t quite as seamless as it seems. It takes a little time for the photographer to set this up, sometimes aided by a registrar. Churches and register offices differ in how they work and this affects the running slightly.
The Confetti Sequence
The confetti (where allowed) is usually thrown soon after you exit the venue. In register offices it is usually the guests who leave the building first. The registrars may give time in the ceremony room for congratulations and I make the best use of this (covered below). This all depends on the time between weddings. Some town hall’s are exceptionally busy, especially on Saturdays where things are rushed slightly.
In a church you will probably exit first and may need to return inside whilst the photographer organises your guests. In other venues, you will probably hang back for everyone to assemble outside. This often gives the couple a few minutes to collect their thoughts and talk about what just happened!
When a Photographer’s Assertive Side Comes Into Play
Your photographer should then organise your guests into an aisle with each side facing each other. I ask everyone to throw the confetti as the couple go by, to maintain as much as possible in the air. I beckon the newly-weds out and they exit the venue in a whirl of colourful paper. Using a wide angle lens and walking backwards away from the couple, I’m right in the middle of the action. I try not to walk into anyone or fall over, although this has happened!
With bubbles, I ask everyone to fill the air as much as possible before the happy couple walk out to maximise the effect.
Tip: Always ask the venue as some do not allow paper confetti but allow bio-degradable products such as petals. Some venues may have been warned by the council about litter violations, so it is important to abide by their rules. Where confetti is not allowed, bubbles have become popular and can look effective in photographs.
Tip: Try colour coordinating your confetti. If you’re having a purple wedding, choose confetti that compliments this. If there is any left over, it may look good sprinkled over the dinner tables.
Congratulations and Kisses
When your guests finally get to congratulate you depends largely on the running of the day. Often it’s in the ceremony room after a register office wedding. Sometimes it’s after the confetti and occasionally it’s not until the drinks reception – at hotels this is often straight after the confetti anyway.
Difficulties with Photographic Unpredictability
This time is probably the most unpredictable of the day. Hugging shots are amazingly difficult to take and to take well. The photographer needs to work fast to capture as many emotive moments as possible. The Bride and Groom generally separate at this time and receive good wishes from family and friends in different places. It’s good practice to concentrate mainly on the bride, but some of the groom is good too.
I’ve no idea whether or not Emma liked the above photo. It’s one of those that I considered not including in the final edit but then thought it a shame not to. If she liked it, great! If not she never has to show another person. The problem in taking shots like this is that it’s a natural moment… A snapshot in time… With stills photography, facial expression matters. But so do context and emotion. This photo has both of those, although the facial expression (or flattery factor) could be better… Flattery factor? Maybe I’ve just coined a phrase!!
Below is a selection of other natural greeting shots. I like them all but you decide whether you do…
Setting Up for Congratulations Shots
Sometimes there’s a chance to direct where the couple stand for these meetings and greetings. Often, it’s as the guests are leaving the church (as below). If the spot they choose isn’t the best for me, I might suggest they turn slightly or stand facing the light. This is one of the few moments of manipulation a reportage photographer should give.
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