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The perfect blend of tender + bold, my fresh and funky take on the timeless makes for artistic photos brimming with life.


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As you move through the wedding planning process, there may be questions about your ceremony or reception that you had never considered before.  One (often overlooked!) planning question that I hear from my couples is “How do we handle a wedding send-off?”

There are two main choices that, as a wedding photographer, I suggest to my couples when it comes to reception send-offs: a faux exit and a real exit. Each has definite benefits and some drawbacks. Here’s what you need to know about each!

What is a Faux Exit?

A faux exit is a staged photo opportunity before the end of the reception where you and your new spouse will fake your “exit” from your reception, seemingly heading blissfully into your new life together. Typically done with your wedding party and immediate family instead of your full guest list, these faux-exits are easy to coordinate and typically take place right after toasts so that you can let loose and party the night away once you rejoin your reception.

Choosing a faux exit allows me to get a clean shot of your send-off and gives you the opportunity to give it a few tries for a variety of images such as a dip kiss in front of your getaway car or a light jog through a sparkler tunnel. Another major benefit of a faux exit is that hair, makeup, and clothing will still be fresh and photo-ready as the open bar and popping dance floor haven’t been in action for long at this point in the evening!

The one drawback to a faux exit is that some couples do not find it to be as natural as an authentic exit, since only your wedding party and immediate families are involved and it happens earlier in the evening.

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All About Real Exits

Real exits from a wedding reception are just what they sound like: a candid celebration and photo opportunity at the end of the night when you and your spouse leave the venue together. This exit is enticing for a few reasons.

First, it can capture the emotions and magic of saying goodbye to your closest loved ones as you head off to celebrate your honeymoon with your new spouse. You also don’t need to think too hard about a real exit— whether you choose to have it photographed or not, you and your spouse will eventually leave the reception!

One drawback to the real exit is that the end of the reception could include some drunk or unruly wedding guests, which can make it hard to orchestrate a picture-perfect ending. On the other hand, these liquored-up pals could give you even more confidence as you leave your wedding, which is great to capture in photos! 

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Ultimately, as you exit your reception, you are officially starting your life together as a married pair so there is no wrong choice! I love the energy of a fun exit and think it is the best way to cap off the big golden-core-memory moment from your wedding day and round out an incredible experience.

If you value an incredible golden-core-memory experience on your wedding day, you’re my kind of couple. Send me a message so that we can connect and talk more about your wedding plans!

Kyra Gustwick is a Virginia Wedding Photographer specializing in weddings, engagements, couples’ portraits, and empowering boudoir experiences.

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