Presenting Mr & Mrs – Confetti and Congratulations
Exiting the venue as husband and wife and the subsequent posed photos are the only part of your day when your reportage wedding photographer may be strict with what needs to be done and the timescale (see NB below). 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.
NB: Wedding photographers’ with different shooting styles will vary. As mine is the low-key, natural style, I prefer not to dominate things and record the day as it unfolds. The more traditional photographer may want to pose and direct throughout the day.
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 or usher. 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 halls 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 may 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!
Arranging Your Guests for the Confetti
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.
Top Confetti Tip:
Always ask the venue, as some do not allow paper (or plastic) confetti but allow organic 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 at all, bubbles have become popular and can look effective in photographs.
Another Top Confetti 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.
Wedding Confetti Tip 3:
If you and your guests neglect to bring confetti to your wedding, don’t worry. Often the venue sells it or has a spare bag left from a previous wedding. If not that’s fine. Still leave the venue as you normally would with your guests lined up and applauding as above.
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 takes place after the confetti and occasionally it’s not until the drinks’ reception – at hotels this is often straight after the confetti.
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 often separate at this time and receive good wishes from family and friends in different places. It is good practice to concentrate mainly on the bride, but I like to take some photographs of the groom enjoying his congratulations too.
The Flattery Factor vs. A Moment in Time
Sometimes I consider not including photos in the final edit but as they may be considered unflattering. The problem in taking shots like the ones above and below is that they are natural moments… snapshots in time… With stills photography, facial expression matters. But so do context and emotion. These photos have both of those, although the facial expression (or flattery factor) could be better… Flattery factor? Maybe I’ve just coined a phrase!!
A Friendly Nudge to Keep the Day Flowing
The moment after the confetti throwing can be a time when the wedding party is confused as to what to do next. Every guest is reticent to be the first to offer congratulations and the couple may look to their photographer as if to say, “What now!”
At moments like this, I am very quick to suggest that guests offer their congratulations. Your photographer is the person on hand with the experience to be able to know what should happen and be able to advise and keep the day running smoothly with few pregnant pauses.
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. 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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