I’ve listened to couples go back and forth on this point, and I’d love to share a little insight…
You can have an “exit” photo before the night is over
One of my favorite moments on a wedding day is when the couple recesses down the aisle after the ceremony is over. Their joy is contagious as they enter out into the world officially married. Hair and makeup is still fresh. No one is drunk waving around fire (…well, most of the guests anyway). There is daylight! Use this moment to your advantage. Have your guests throw confetti! Or, lavender! There is eco-confetti you can buy that disintegrates without harming the natural wildlife. This moment can make for an excellent “exit” photo.
The best exit options
Of course, planning a send off is a great way to wrap up the evening, and it does make for an incredible photo. Some of my couples want their entire day photographed, and it make sense to plan coverage until the very end.
Sparklers photograph the best in the dark, in my opinion. If your venue doesn’t allow open flame, have your guests wave their phones on the flashlight setting.
Lavender/confetti/streamers are my next favorite. Streamers tend to get tangled and can look a little messy, but they still are fun.
Wish lanterns are a really fun exit or guest activity. Make sure you check the weather and with your venue before purchasing, especially if you are getting married during wildfire season.
A note on exchanging preparation photos for the exit photo
I’ve worked with couples who had limited coverage and didn’t have the budget for additional hours. In order to make sure their exit was photographed, they considered cutting prep coverage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m there for you 100%. If this is your preference, I’m game. However, I see some of the most beautiful moments happen during prep time. Parents tend to be emotional when you get dressed. It’s a time when you’re with your closest friends. It’s a time to grab a few portraits of just you before you see your partner. I also use the prep time to capture all of your sentimental details.
Even if details aren’t important to you, consider the weight of this time before cutting it out of your coverage. You might regret exchanging it for an extra 100 sweaty, drunk, dancing photos ;)
If you have limited coverage, want preparation photos AND an exit photo, consider moving up sparklers as a fun thing to do during the reception. For example, have your guests hold sparklers as you enter the reception. Or, have them circle you with sparklers during your first dance. Or, have it be an activity for people to play with halfway through. This also means that grandparents and people that might leave early can be a part of the celebration.
I’d love to be a resource for you! I’m planning to address the questions I receive in the coming months on my blog + newsletter. Please ask anything that comes to mind!
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