Hey friends! Welcome to my blog. Today I want to talk about one of my favorite parts of the wedding day; the ceremony. It’s why all your friends and family show up, and of course, the reception, but there would be no reception without you and your partner exchanging vows, rings, kisses, etc.
While it is the best part of the day, it’s one of the many parts of the day where I am not leading anyone in poses, and I have exactly zero control over what occurs. In my full-day coverage packages, I use a second photographer always to make sure we get as many angles covered as we can, but if something is completely obstructed from our view, there is nothing we can do.
That’s why I am giving out my tips on how you can get better ceremony photos. These are things you can your partner can consider and practice so that when it comes time to capture those moments, you get the results you want.
The first tip is the time of day-
The time of day is especially important for those having outdoor ceremonies. More often than not, I find that while one partner has their back facing the sun, the other partner (and usually the one coming down the aisle) is in full, direct sun. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to avoid this, but depending on your ceremony location, all you need to do is set the start time when the sun is at a better angle. If you have trees and the sun will be behind the trees at some point, I highly recommend that. If you have a full open sky with no way to diffuse the sun, set your ceremony two hours before sunset. Most ceremonies are about 30-60 minutes, so the sun will be at a great angle which will leave the last hour for family, weddings, and just married portraits. Use apps like Sun Seeker to determine where the sun will be during your reception. I use this for all my sessions and weddings; it never fails me.
Another tip is for coming down the aisle-
One partner, or sometimes both partners, come down the aisle to music. Even so, I have been to weddings where the pacing coming down the aisle is so fast that it’s difficult to get pictures of the wedding party and even the faces of partners. You do not have to rush this part. Take your time and give yourself a modest pace, especially if you are not doing a first look. Without a first look, those moments when one partner walks down the aisle and sees the other for the first time are everything. Bonus, have your officiant announce to everyone before they start to put their cell phones away. I can’t tell you the number of times that Aunt Sue has stepped into the aisle and blocked key shots of someone coming down the aisle. Only once was there a time when I worked a wedding, and the lead had to verbally tell them to step back.
My next tip is for the ring exchange-
When you and your partner exchange rings, it’s a very intimate moment. Which means you two are standing very close to one another. One partner has their left hand closer to the aisle, while the other partner has their left hand further from everyone. Before you slide the rings on, try standing at more of an angle, like a “V,” where your back shoulders are closer together, and the front is more open to your guests and vendors. Opening up this moment makes it easier to see the rings go on the finger in the photos. This tip works for any type of tradition or extras during your ceremony. To help you remember, think of it like this: in sitcoms and theatre, actors always turn or cheat a little so that the audience can see their actions better.
The most important tip I have regarded the kiss–
That first kiss when you officially become married is the best, most important kiss of the day. At many weddings, I have seen this kiss last less than a second. Hold this kiss for 3-5 seconds if you can. If you are not a big PDA person, this is the only kiss that you need to hold just a little longer. Or You can kiss more than once. As a bonus, ask your officiant or pastor/priest/reverend to step out of the way during this moment. In the photos, it becomes so much more intimate when it is just you two standing there smiling and kissing. Trust me, you will love this when you look back at this photo.
My last tip is as you and your partner return down the aisle–
Like when one of you goes down the aisle, do not rush away from the altar. Instead, take your time as you get to the middle to end, and go for another big kiss. This is especially great if you have some precessional exit with bubbles, flower petals, dried lavender (biodegradable) confetti, bird seed, etc. This is the only time during the ceremony when I will tell you to stop and kiss quickly.
I hope these tips help you get the best photos possible during the most important moment of your wedding. When we meet to discuss the timeline, we can talk about this in more detail.
Mar 15, 2023
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