There are a few times in the day during a wedding where I am photographing from a completely photojournalistic perspective, and the ceremony is one of those times! I love it this way – the unprompted emotion and seeing family react to the happy couple getting married is truly one of my favorite parts of the day.
As the bride and groom to be photographed, there are a few small tweaks you can make on your day to ensure your photographer gets the best images for you!
The tips below are mainly focused on outdoor wedding ceremonies, which are the majority of ceremonies I photograph here in the Temecula area. However, many of them also apply to indoor weddings as well!
1. Have your ceremony shortly before sunset – unless you have photographs on the other side!
This tip is for outdoor ceremonies. The light before sunset is really gorgeous, and this is a naturally beautiful way to photograph your ceremony. During other times of the day, the light tends to be harsh and often times, the bride will be in full sun while the groom is in shade. Closer to sunset, the light is softer, more flattering, and often creates a beautiful golden halo around couples. See these images of Kenya + Wasani during their wedding ceremony. You can see the sun is just over the crest of the mountains behind Kenya as she and her dad made their way down the aisle.
If you have a lot of portraits following the ceremony, however, you’ll want to back up your ceremony to accommodate for needing more light. Here in southern California, as well, often times the sun appears to go down earlier because many venues are close to hills and mountains. If you have an abundance of portraits to be completed after the ceremony, I’d recommend making sure you have a few hours of light after your ceremony. Ask your photographer, or your venue – some venues have set ceremony times and if your wedding is in the summer, it’s likely to be earlier in the evening no matter what.
2. Walk slowly
It’s your wedding day, and you’re nervous! I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen just book it down the aisle, and it’s completely understandable – having all eyes on you can be unsettling! Take a deep breath before you walk down the aisle and take your time – there’s no rush! Also remember to pace out the bridal party. This means that the next person or group to come down the aisle should wait until the previous group hits the top of the aisle. This way your photographer can get nice clear shots of everyone :) And everyone gets to enjoy the spotlight a little longer!
3. Don’t let your bouquet block your face
If you have a tall bouquet, make sure to hold it low enough (at your navel) so it doesn’t block your face as you go down the aisle. Also, if your florist has delivered your bouquets in vases with water, shake off the bottom so you don’t get droplets on your dress.
As an aside, I was curious as to WHY we hold bouquets at a wedding (aside from their prettiness, of course). It dates back to Roman times, where a bouquet was meant to symbolize new beginnings and fertility; in other cultures herbs were used to ward off evil spirits! Hopefully not too many of those hanging around on your wedding day :)
4. Face each other – and try not to block any ceremony events
The more you face each other, the more that your guests get to see the emotion of the day. Often times your officiant will remind you to do this, but it’s something good to keep in mind when planning your ceremony.
Couples also incorporate sand pouring or candle lighting into their ceremonies – or nailing a wine bottle into a box, as Claire + Mike did! Remember to turn in towards each other during these events as well, allowing you two to not only look directly at each other, but not block your vase or candle from your guests’ view.
5. Give it a nice loooooooooooooooooooooooong smooch!
Brides and grooms – I’m begging you. This is no time for quick kisses! We, and by we I mean me as a photographer and your guests, want to see a real kiss! So feel free to grab your brand-new husband or wife and really lay a good one on them! And I’m not going to be mad if you dip your partner or throw in an extra kiss as you walk down the aisle!
I hope you enjoyed these quick tips! No matter your ceremony format, it’s an incredibly meaningful part of your day and some of my very favorite moments are captured as a couple goes from engaged to married!