People probably have read a ton about how to have the perfect getting ready room- (HINT: it’s lots of beautiful windows, or at least one window with the other lights off), but solving the dilemma of reception lighting isn’t always so easy.

There is a lot less that is in your control when you are looking to reception lighting- though natural light is always ideal for a lot of photographers, it doesn’t always make sense in a reception situation. So- what do you do about this?

First, if you haven’t selected a reception location yet, you have the advantage of looking for a reception venue that offers a lot of natural light (windows all around). That will be super useful during cocktail hour and possibly even into first dances, depending on the time of year and when the sun will set.

Secondly, consider the direction of the sunset. What time will the sun be setting on your wedding day? And where? will it be at an angle? Or swill it shine straight into or behind the head table. The reception venue coordinator can probably answer these questions for you. And no worries- if you’ve already hired a venue and you’re worried about the evening lighting situation, a skilled photographer will most likely be able to figure out the issue. If you are concerned, have a discussion with both your venue coordinator and your wedding photographer.

So what about the night?Well honestly, that is mostly up to your photographer! If you are unsure, ask to see some of their reception photos. Even a good photographer who specializes in natural light photography will have enough knowledge of artificial lighting to make a good flash set up for your wedding. (Or they will strategically skip using flash to focus on the available light- either way- if the photographer isn’t skilled in these areas, it is going to be a challenge).

And DJ lights (photographers out there are groaning right now). This really isn’t in the wedding couple’s hands- BUT I usually ask the DJ if they don’t mind shutting of the “party” lights until after first dances. This helps me capture the mood and glow of your first dance without green and red laser beams showing up in your face.

If you are worried about the lighting at your reception, I highly suggest reaching out to both your wedding photographer and venue coordinator to hear their thoughts. They can probably reassure you and show you some images that were taken during receptions at different times of the year.

And remember- no matter what the light looks light- your wedding day is going to be the BEST day ever!

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How to Make Sure Your Reception is Well Lit (From Day into Night)

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