We’ve seen many different wedding ceremonies and we know what work well for photos. If you know what you can do and prepare, your wedding photos will be amazing. We are going to give you tips and advice, not only for great images but also for better personal experience as well.
Before diving into it, we want to give you a quick note that there are two types of ceremony: indoor (most likely church) and outdoor (anywhere). In our personal experiences, if you have an outdoor ceremony and especially if the officiant is someone close to you (friend, relative), things get much easier to work with. They are not as strict as priests and more likely to do anything for you.
Regardless, there are many things that you can do. Here are the tips that can help you in any situation:
Before the wedding day:
- Mind the spot-light (spot-shadow) at where you stand. They are unforgiving. There are two options to deal with it. First, if possible, consider a wide neutral color cloth to cover where you will stand. Check the light one or two days in advance at the exact same time to know the correct place to hang the cloth. Second, if you don’t want anything on top or if it is impossible to have one, ask someone with the same height to check and mark on the ground where you will stand just before the ceremony starts. The goal is to have your face completely in the sun or in the shade (shade preferred).
- Unplugged wedding ceremony. No cell phone, no camera. Guests fully attend the wedding. If you like this option, consider putting this detail in the invite or on the welcome sign.
- If your guests sit in the sun, consider paper parasol umbrellas. Get different colors with textures. Avoid solid white as it creates a big overblown white area in the photos, not really nice. Place some on the chairs of the first two rows. They are important people and need to be in good shade for photos.
Try to place chairs on two sides close to each other. In our opinion, the closer they are, the more intimate and cozy it feels. If you intend to walk in three, spare just enough space so that four will not fit.
During the ceremony:
- Always stand face-to-face. In this way, there are many different angles your photographers can work with. Also, this lets your guests see your reactions, not your back. You also have a better view of your guests, your significant other, and the officiant.
- Hold each other’s hands at all time. You want the photos to show the connection as husband and wife-to-be. In addition, you might feel weird when your hands hang there doing nothing.
- Ask your maid of honor (MOH) to fluff the dress for you as soon as you get into position. Some MOH are nervous just like you and they can’t move. Let them know it is totally okay to move around and help you with these little things. People love it when they see it.
- Try to memorize your vow and speak with the emotion of your heart. This keeps your eyes on the other at all time. If you are afraid you will be nervous and forget, have the officiant keep a copy. All you need to do is to tell everyone something like “I’m so nervous and need my note back!” Nothing embarrassing! Guests will laugh but because it’s an adorable moment of you.
- Have the officiant step on aside during First Kiss. What I mean by “aside” is “off camera view”. This is up to your preference. For us, if he/she stands in the middle, it looks like his/her head pops out from yours. If he/she steps on a side too little, it looks like he/she is staring at you from a close distance. The ideal distance is behind or in front of the 3rd groomsmen from the best man.
- Make a long First Kiss and repeat once or twice. No one will rush you. This allows your photographers to capture different shots: wide & closeup, traditional & creative.
- Try not to look at the camera (do this for the processional as well). Look at each other, cheers with your guests. This is based on our photojournalism perspective.
- Confetti or petals? Just throw the ideas for you. Make sure your venue allows this.
- I know you already did First Kiss. How about a 2nd kiss when you are completely out. A photo of you kissing each other with everyone in the background would be nice too.
- Always discuss with your officiant (or priests) in advance. Clearly explain why you want such and such, and see if he/she can accommodate.
- Think out of the box, don’t force yourself to do things just because the others do. Be bold! It’s your day.