Wedding Reception Keepsake Activities

Over the past 4 years as a wedding photographer I’ve come across a number of fun and interesting wedding reception keepsake activities you might undertake to produce a physical keepsake for your reception guests so they remember your wedding reception. The following suggestions are designed to put a smile on your guests face beyond the usual delicious food and drink they’d be served at a wedding reception and of course seeing the lovely newly wed couple.

Wedding Reception Keepsake Activities

Photo Booth

Wedding reception keepsake photobooth


Having a photobooth at a wedding reception has almost become a standard that produces a wedding reception keepsake. The above image was taken from a recent wedding I covered where the photobooth printed out numerous copies of a strip of photos that your guests can keep as their wedding reception keepsake, while the other copy could be glued into a blank album allowing them to write well wishes and document the reception in a way that nothing else can. SvenStudios now offers their own photobooth solution geared towards the budget conscious.

Sketch Artist

Wedding Reception Keepsake SketchArtist


A really novel idea I’ve seen twice now at different weddings is the idea of having a wandering sketch artist sketching caricatures of your guests as their wedding reception keepsake. The benefit of this is the production of a really personal image that is really quite different than the vast majority of wedding receptions out there, so if you want to make an impression, having a sketch artist present may be a winner. The above image is a caricature of myself by sketch artist Peter BroelMan who was present at a recent wedding I was wedding photographer at. I really hope this idea catches on as it produces some awesome reactions from guests and can provide a truly unique wedding reception keepsake.

Polaroid Cameras

Wedding Reception Keepsake poloroid

Poloroid cameras

Perhaps the most common of wedding reception keepsake ideas is having a polaroid camera, or several sitting around the wedding reception venue available for guests to use themselves. The idea being that your guests would wander about shooting their own photos of the night hopefully capturing quirky situations your professional wedding photographer wouldn’t. The great thing about polaroid cameras is that it instantly prints a small square image as soon as you take the photos, thereby becoming your wedding reception keepsake. You can see a few of the square polaroid prints on the table in the shot I took above at Leonie & Andrew’s Monarto Zoo wedding. The problem with polaroid cameras however is that often, unless you invest well in the cameras, they don’t like low light situations, such as the typical wedding reception venue, so beware. But they do tend to be better for the purpose of creating keepsakes than your typical disposable camera, which are also very popular at wedding receptions, as they allow your guests to take something home.

Harry Potter Wedding Photos

I was recently very lucky to be a part of a very unique, but enormously fun wedding in Michaela and Paddy’s wedding at the SC Pannell Winery in Mclaren Vale, south of Adelaide. Michaela and Paddy, well maybe just Michaela, were super keen on incorporating some awesome Harry Potter wedding photos into their wedding photography, for which I was their wedding photographer. Before arriving at Michaela’s place of preparation on the day I was unaware of the awesome home-made Harry Potter Wedding inspired props she had prepared for the day.

Harry Potter, in case you’re not aware is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The series chronicles the adventures of Harry Potter, who was unaware he was a ‘wizard’ at the beginning of the story arc, and his friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at a hidden wizard school called ‘Hogwarts’. The main story is about Harry Potter and his friends overcoming an evil wizard and saving wizard kind from evil.

Harry Potter Wedding Photos

First up was her bouquet, homemade from printed pages from Harry Potter books. If you look carefully you can make out the words ‘Potter’ among the petals!

Next is the Bride and Groom showcasing their magical talent by flooring their entire wedding guestlist. I’m amazed at how ‘into it’ the older guests were, as they really threw themselves around for this photo which turned out awesome.

Next up in the Harry Potter Wedding Photos we took was individual portraits showcasing Michaela and Paddy’s personal Patronus’ (Patronii?) Michaela had a cat, while paddy had a German shepard.

And finally, the most amazing Harry Potter Wedding photo I could have hoped to shoot, especially with the bride in a long dress, the couple jumping at each other in a wizard duel.


SC Pannell Winery Wedding – Michaela & Paddy

I was very lucky to have been chosen as Michaela and Paddy’s wedding photographer at their amazing wedding at the SC Pannell Winery in Mclaren Vale in late December last year as it was honestly one of the best weddings I’ve been to. All the guests were so much fun and eager to do the strange and wonderful things required to take strange but wonderful wedding photography. They opted to take advantage of my very competitive daily wedding photography rate with a second photographer.

The best thing about their wedding at SC Pannell Winery was Michaela’s wonderful personal touches, including a bouquet set made from pages from Harry Potter books and a homemade Tardis from Dr. Who Wishing Well.

Groomsmen Preparation

Paddy and his groomsmen were all getting prepared in a house in Aberfoyle Park. Paddy being of United Kingdom heritage observed a few interesting customs, including a wonderful stylised celtic-based wedding ring. As Michaela and Paddy opted to have a second photographer, I attended the groomsmen preparation for a small while, leaving most of their preparation photos to my assistant while I visited the bride and her bridal party.

Bridal Preparation

The girls were getting ready at the couple’s house in Hallett Cove. Many of their guests travelled long distances to get to their wedding so many of them were staying with them. As a result a lot of the house was full of makeshift beds. It was around now when I realised that Michaela had an awesome Harry Potter and Dr. Who vibe going on during the wedding with a bouquet made from Harry Potter books, a Tardis garter and toy wands lying about.

SC Pannell Winery Wedding Ceremony

The SC Pannell Winery is located in Mclaren Vale and is run by Stephen Pannell. Stephen Pannell has been named as one of the 50 most influential contributors to the world of wine by Decanter Magazine. The SC Pannell Winery itself is quite young, having been purchased as early as 2012.

SC Pannell Winery Glamour Photographs

The SC Pannell Winery boasts lovely rolling hills full of grape vines which is great for a bit of winery wedding photography. It also ended up being a lot of fun considering Michaela and Paddy were keen on trying a few different wedding shots, including an epic wizard duel and defeating their entire guest list with magic.

Harry Potter fun

I took a few Harry Potter themed wedding photos within the ground of the SC Pannell Winery, including the one below showcasing Michaela and Paddy’s prowess for offensive magic, felling their entire guest list. I also shot a patronus shot of the couple, and a really awesome shot that I thought deserved it’s own blog post which you can view by clicking here.

SC Pannell Winery Reception

The reception area at SC Pannell Winery is a large open, but undercover patio of sorts, surrounded by glass and removable awnings. Heaps of room for a large wedding guestlist. The food was a tappas affair with a great bar service. A photo booth was in attendance, along with a DJ.

I’d like to thank Michaela and Paddy for having me at their wedding, and I hope they enjoy their photographs of their wedding at SC Pannell Winery as much as I enjoyed taking them. Particularly their Harry Potter themed shots! 🙂

Second Valley Wedding – Rebecca & Martin

Early in December 2014 I was chosen as Rebecca and Martin’s wedding photographer at their wedding taking place at Leonard’s Mill in Second Valley, to the South of Adelaide. Rebecca and Martin took advantage of my flexible hourly rates and had me cover 6 hours of their wedding. Their preparation venues were very close to one another or their Second Valley wedding, so I was able to cover a bit of both of their preparations as well as their ceremony and beginning of their reception. They chose to head down to the Second Valley beach for their glamour shots which I must say was a fantastic choice. I had never been down to the Second Valley jetty, and now I can’t wait to get back there.

Grooms men Preparation at Leonard’s Mill

The Grooms men were getting ready at the picturesque Leonard’s Mill in Second Valley. Leonard’s Mill was also going to be the location for Rebecca and Martin’s Ceremony and Reception. Leonard s Mill in Second Valley is a 150 year old heritage listed building that has been restored as a restaurant and the surrounds have been developed to include a range of accommodation units, some in restored stone settlers cottages which was where they were getting ready.

Bridal Preparation in Second Valley

The girls were getting ready in a family owned beach house in the Second Valley town near the beach. Eager for photos the girls were always smiling and practicing their dancing for the night ahead. The whole day was very laid back and I had a lot of fun with Rebecca and Martin because of it.

Leonard’s Mill, Second Valley Wedding Ceremony

The sun was very bright during the day, and the location that the wedding ceremony was set up in was not the most fantastic spot, both for photos nor the comfort of Rebecca and martin due to the heat and sun in their eyes from where they were standing.

Second Valley Beach Wedding Photography

The Second Valley beach has so many awesome nooks and crannies to use in wedding photos, the beach with white sand and wonderful rocks are nearby and an epic walk along a cliff is right next to a beautiful jetty. I really hope to get back to Second Valley soon!

Leonard’s Mill, Second Valley Wedding Reception

Like I said before, Rebecca and Martin held their wedding reception at Leonard’s Mill, Second Valley. The same location as their wedding ceremony. All their locations were very close and very little travel was needed. Was good for their guests too as they could stay at Leonard’s Mill while we went off to take photos.

I’d like to thank Rebecca and Martin for having me as their wedding photographer for their Second Valley Wedding and I hope they enjoy their photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them.