Simple Destination Wedding Tips To Optimize Your Photography Coverage And Get The Most Of Your Schedule (Part 2)

 In #BeachWeddingTips, Costa Rica Wedding Photography, Uncategorized, WeddingDayStory Family's Favorites

(For Part 1 of the Simple Destination Wedding Tips To Optimize Your Photography Coverage And Get The Most Of Your Schedule, click here)

Wedding formals and group portraits: Formal pictures from your wedding day are an essential part of wedding photography. This is how memories are preserved. It is a precious way for both of you to remember your family and friends, part of this magical day, for many, many years to come; in their happy state. The excitement of the ceremony is still present, you are starting to relax knowing that the main part of your day has passed, and you are still being congratulated, kissed and hugged by your loved ones… So, the challenge is to set aside enough time formal portraits, and have realistic expectations of how long it can take to put together the different groups and set them in the right spot for these pictures. At the time, you might not feel like taking them. But trust us, you need to. These photos are an important document of your day.


  • Estimate an average of 2 to 4 minutes per setup.
  • Create a list of the groups of people you need to capture and multiply by 3. This equals the approximate amount of time it will take to get all photos.
  • Make sure all the guests know they’ll have their portrait taken after the ceremony, and the exact location where this will take place.
  • Talk to your wedding planner about your formal shot list and make sure they don’t direct the guests to the cocktail or reception until all the setups are done.

Bride & groom session: Among all the flowers, food, music and dancing, there are two people at the focal point of a wedding: your significant other and you!

With all the attention towards yourselves, a portrait session away from the crowds can help capture private moments between the both of you. Its like a short break you can take from the pressure that comes with the wedding, a chance to be alone to reflect on the occasion and just snuggle a bit. The amazing venues in Costa Rica, Mexico and Dominican Republic offer a truly breathtaking setting for this session with the natural, sunny backdrop of the beach.


  • Have a little bag ready with a small towel (it’s hot here in the Caribbean!), a mirror and a quick makeup fix, just in case you need to freshen up. This way, you won’t have to go back to the reception area, where everyone is waiting for you, and can concentrate in getting the pictures while the best sunlight is still out.
  • Bring a bottle of water with you (or one of the cocktails, your choice!)


Cocktail: While we are kidnapping you for your photo session (and having lots of fun with it, too), your guests will head to the reception site for cocktails. This moment kicks off your reception and lasts for at least an hour. Some couples choose to have mariachis or other short shows for this part of the day, specially considering that they will be absent for most of it while taking pictures.


  • Make sure to book a two-photographer package if you are planning to have special events during the cocktail. This way, your main shooter will be gone with you for the session, while the second photographer can stay and capture the guests and all those moments that will be going on while you are gone.
  • Let your wedding planner know of the approximate length of time you’ll be gone for your session and have them help you move the guests accordingly.



Reception: Your venue selection makes the difference here. Some people have dancing and eating all the way through, while others prepare lots of surprises, videos from their childhood, special songs and shows for their wedding reception. Regardless of your choice, your reception location should accommodate for your requests and provide the proper ambiance for what you are planning.

You can play a bit with your wedding party entrances, too. Choose a couple of fun songs and have them enter dancing for that little special moment in the spotlight that each of your family members and special friends will get.

After the entrances, your most typical reception includes:

  • Couple’s first dance
  • Champagne toast
  • Dinner or buffet
  • Cake cutting
  • Special dances: Bride with her father, Groom with his mother, and Wedding party dances.
  • Bouquet toss!
  • Garter toss (or any fun twist you might want to do to it)
  • Bride and Groom’s last dance
  • Bride and Groom’s big exit!


  • Make sure we know when the entrances will start (this is usually marked to the photographer by the wedding planner) so that we can get ready and find the best spot to shoot from.
  • Remember to talk to your wedding planner about meal arrangements for your photographers. This is usually set up close to your reception site, and the team can take turns so that no coverage is missed. Covering a wedding is hard, intense work, and you want your photographers to be at the top of their game during these long hours. Most resorts have special meals for vendors already set up.
  • If you are planning to use sparklers on your exit, let us know ahead of time so that we can set up the best lightning scenario to capture their magic! And watch out, they can be tricky to use.


At WeddingDayStory we help you coordinate all these moments according to your needs and preferences, that’s why communication between the photographer and the couple is so important for us.

Costa Rica Destination Wedding Couples:

We are in-house photographers at Riu Guanacaste and Riu Palace, both stunning locations for your big day. Contact their MICE department for information on their pricing and packages by clicking here. 

Mexico and Riviera Maya Destination Wedding Couples:

Find us based at the Paradisus Playa del Carmen and Valentín Imperial Maya. We are regular outside vendors in most of the resorts of the área as well. Contact the amazing planners at Paradisus Playa del Carmen’s romance department by clicking here, and the team of experienced and talented wedding coordinators from Valentin Imperial Maya trough their website, here.

Remember that, even if you haven’t confirmed your photography services with us yet, you can always schedule a quick phone call to go over questions, comments and ideas about your day. We would love to go trough the options with you, talk about your requirements and provide any information that might help you make the choices that are just right for YOU. Schedule a free personal consultation with a Wedding Day Photography Specialist by clicking here.


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