Turn Down for What!? | Fun Wedding Receptions

By, March 29, 2016

After you’ve exchanged rings, and sealed the deal with a first kiss, it’s time to party! The guests have been well fed, perhaps with a cocktail (or two) and are ready to cut loose. At this point in the evening, there are many ways to get everyone in a festive mood.

For a little inspiration, we have pulled some of our favorite reception photos from recent weddings. There is a little something for everyone, including a high-energy live band, spontaneous breakdancing, and a grand sparkler exit. So let’s get this party started!

Bride and Groom stand in crowd and kiss during wedding reception

At Alison and Kevin’s wedding (above) at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, the couple surprised their guests with an all-out performance. Backed by a full band, their show-stopping routine featured go-go dancers, dramatic lighting, and bursts of confetti. Within seconds, the party came alive, and guests got on their feet to join the excitement. In moments like this, we love being in the middle of the action, capturing all the energy in the room.

Guests are entertained during wedding reception with grand exit and live performancesGroom takes shot and has money throw at him during wedding reception

We also love when couples throw a few personal twists into their day. For example, the photo above shows our own staff photographer, Billy, during his reception at the Ultimate Skybox in Downtown San Diego. Paying homage to his Greek roots, Billy performed a traditional Zeibekiko dance for guests, and finished with a shot of ouzo. Adding special moments like this keeps the reception festive, while also paying homage to centuries of family tradition. Opa!

DJ plays music and performs for guests at wedding receptionWedding Guests form dance circle during wedding receptionFun, live band perform for guests during wedding receptionAerial view of outdoor reception overlooking city lights

While covering the must-have photos, we also like to explore creative angles and views of the reception area. For example, we captured the photo above by hiking to the roof of the O’Donnell House in Palm Springs, CA. From that vantage point, we were able to achieve this aerial shot of guests at Chelsey and John’s wedding, as they enjoyed the beautiful evening and dinner.

Bride serenaded by band of musicians during wedding receptionWedding Couple have fun posing with photobooth propsWedding guests being entertained by live band performanceBride and Groom celebrate during new year's eve wedding

Planning to have a photo booth during your reception? Borrow a few props and get your groove on! You just can’t beat a dance floor populated with captain hats, oversized glasses and fake mustaches, like at Courtney and Andrew’s New Year’s Eve wedding at Sunset Temple.

Close-up of DJ's hands using digital padLive band with guitarist playing during wedding receptionBride and Groom pose and have fun in photobooth Experimental photo of DJ playing during reception

We wanted to show the DJs some love too! To capture this photo from Jennifer and Jason’s wedding at Hotel del Coronado (see above), we used an experimental technique of slowing down our shutter speed and dragging the image. This allowed the natural light of the equipment and market lighting to take on new form, creating a cool frame around this mixmaster.

Wedding Guests jump into pool during wedding reception

Working up a sweat from all those fresh dance moves? Cool off with a jump in the pool! When we saw these fellas at Arianne and Julien’s wedding inching towards the water for an epic set of cannonballs (see above), our photographers were quick on their toes to freeze the action.

Colorful dancers perform dance at wedding receptionPerformer plays guitar while guests party at wedding receptionGroom prepares to throw garter during wedding reception

Hut, hut…hike! Get a little creative with your garter toss and throw something the guys will want to catch! At Darlene and Jeremy’s wedding at Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa, the groom had fun putting a modern spin on this old tradition. By wrapping the garter around a football (go Chargers!), the groom prepared to hike the ball to this buddies for an epic garter catch showdown.

Groom is lifted in air by guests for hora dance

End the night on a high-note…literally! As Ashley and Tyler celebrated their reception at Park Hyatt Aviara, a few close friends swept Tyler off his feet for a fun surprise Hora towards the end of the night. The Hora dance, originating from the Balkans, comes from the words “round (dance)” and “celebration,” and is usually spontaneously prompted by guests. Because we had positioned ourselves in the middle of the excitement, we were able to capture this up-close angle, including Tyler’s priceless reaction.

Couple make grand exit using glowsticksLive performers throw performer in air as confetti goes off

Looking to get your own party started? Click here for more unforgettable moments and reception ideas :)


Hard Rock Hotel San Diego: An Amazing Race Wedding!

By, January 20, 2012

After writing blogs about so many awesome engagement shoots and weddings, it’s time to share the story of my own big day!  About two years ago, my now-husband and I went on a life-changing adventure around the world on the CBS reality show, The Amazing Race 15.  Being chosen for the Amazing Race was always a dream of ours, and we feel so fortunate to have won the whole thing. Only a few months after winning, we were engaged. We knew exactly who we wanted to photograph our once-in-lifetime celebration – True Photography!  And the story gets better… not long after hiring True for our wedding day, True Photography hired me onto the team! I absolutely love working with all of our brides and grooms, and sharing their weddings on our blog.

Check out the January cover 2012 cover of Exquisite Weddings Magazine to see one of our favorite photos by True Photography! I hope you enjoy the recap of my wedding at the Hard Rock Hotel. Feel free to let us know what you think!

San Diego Wedding Photography: Amazing Race Meghan and Cheyne wedding on the cover of Exquisite Weddings by True Photography

Cheyne and I knew from the beginning that we wanted our wedding to be a party. We wanted our guests to feel like this was an all-out celebration of “Team Meghan and Cheyne!” We chose the Hard Rock because we felt that it was a contemporary venue that optimizes the “rock star” party atmosphere that we were going for.  We stuck to a color palate of dark blues, shades of gray and a touch of white. I wore a Romona Keveza dress and the bouquets by Blush Botanicals were beautiful with white peonies and anemones with deep blue centers.

San Diego Wedding Photography: Meghan and Cheyne Amazing Race Wedding at Hard Rock Hotel weddingA Romona Kaveza wedding dress with a bridal bouquet of white peonies and anemones

We’ve always loved the Beatles, and because our wedding was at the Hard Rock, we incorporated a music theme throughout the festivities. We hinted at the Beatles in our invitations, which were screen printed with guitars and tied with “All you need is love” tags.  There was even a Beatles guitar pick tab on the inside of the invites. We also played “All You Need is Love” as the recessional song during our ceremony. And of course, we couldn’t leave the Hard Rock without Aaron getting a great shot of us in front of the Abbey Road wall.

Beatles themed wedding invitation and All you need is love quoteSan Diego Wedding Photography: Meghan and Cheyne Amazing Race beatles themed wedding at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

Cheyne and I were born and raised in San Diego, and have been friends ever since elementary school.  San Diego was an easy choice for the location of our wedding, but we wanted it to be in an energetic atmosphere that was representative of us.  We chose the rooftop of the Hard Rock Hotel, overlooking the buzzing downtown crowds during a Padres game at Petco Park, in the heart of the Gaslamp.

San Diego Wedding Photography: A wedding ceremony in downtown San Diego on the rooftop of the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego Wedding Photography Meghan and Cheyne Amazing Race 15 walking down the aisle

We also wanted to somehow represent our adventures on the reality show at our wedding.  We had clay characters made of us in our backpacks and outfits that we wore on the show to top our cake from Sweet Cheeks Bakery! The escort cards were mini passports that lead guests to their tables, which were named after locations we traveled to on the Race, along with a picture of us completing a challenge. Not to mention, six of the 18 members of our bridal party were contestants we competed against on the show, and have now become friends for life!

Meghan and Cheyne in an Amazing Race themed wedding cake topper, Passport escort cards and funny bridal party photography in downtown San DiegoSan Diego Wedding Photography: Meghan and Cheyne Amazing Race wedding downtown San Diego with bridal partySan Diego Wedding Photography: Photos of bridesmaids at Meghan and Cheyne from Amazing Race wedding at Hard Rock Hotel San DiegoSan Diego Wedding Photography: Photos of groomsmen at Meghan and Cheyne's Amazing Race wedding Hard Rock Hotel San Diego wedding

To add to the party atmosphere, a custom monogram dance floor and dramatic draping was set up in the Legends Ballroom by Concepts Event Design.  Also, Tim Altbaum Productions amped up the excitement with tons of uplighting, a light show, and a video DJ that allowed guests to watch music videos on the big screen as they danced the night away.  Our centerpieces by Blush Botanicals worked perfectly with the feel of the room. Everything was better than we could have imagined, as people of all ages were breakin’ it down on the dance floor!

San Diego Wedding Photographer captures candid photos on the dancefloor with bright colored uplightingSan Diego Wedding Photography: Hard Rock Hotel Wedding of Meghan and Cheyne from the Amazing RaceSan Diego Wedding Photography: Sweet Cheeks Baking Cupcakse and Art Carved Rings  San Diego Wedding

What I’ve always loved about True Photography is the way that color and emotion is captured in each photograph. Because our wedding was in the hands of True Photography and Aaron Feldman, we knew we had nothing to worry about but having fun. I feel so lucky to have these photos to remember the details of our wedding day, and I’m equally proud to be a part of a company that provides that gift to every bride and groom who chooses True Photography.

San Diego Wedding Photographers downtown San Diego Hard Rock Hotel with bright lightsThe bride and grooms first dance at their wedding reception at San Diego's Hard Rock Hotel Bride and groom at Float rooftop lounge pool at the Hard Rock Hotel

To view more images from this Hard Rock Wedding, click here!

Photography: True Photography

Venue: Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego

DJ and Lighting: Tim Altbaum Productions

Decor: Concept Events Design

Florals: Blush Botanicals

Wedding Coordinator: Amore Events, Jennifer Molloy

Cake: Sweat Cheeks Baking Company

Rings: Art Carved


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