Do you need your wedding photographer until the end of the reception? / by Hannah Byrne

Short answer: typically, no.

After reception formalities are over (toasts, dances, cake cutting), you don't really need your photographer to hang around for much longer unless dancing photos are super important to you (1 hour of dancing coverage can be plenty). Remember, the drinks have probably been flowing for a few hours at this point. Your guests are a little tipsy and just want to dance (without a photographer in their face the entire night). Having a handful of photos of your guests dancing is important, but you don't need 3 hours of dancing coverage.

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"But I want to do a sparkler exit!!"

This is totally valid, and probably the #1 reason couples decide to have me their until the end. They want that real, candid sparkler send off photo... One of my favorite solutions to this is the staged sparkler photo with your bridal party + friends. Check out this blog post I wrote last year to read why I love the staged sparkler photo option!

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Rather than paying your photographer to hang around until the end, I recommend having your coverage a little heavier in the beginning of the day. Have them arrive earlier to capture candids of you getting ready, detail photos, first looks with Dad, etc. Those are the photos you will want in your album. They will be the ones you hang on your walls. Dancing photos are super fun, but not the highlight of any wedding gallery.

I hope this helps! If you have any comments or questions, leave them below!