Hey ya'll, welcome back! Today, let's talk about the "Pinterest Dream Wedding" board you've been compiling and obsessing over since the day you got engaged. Its probably chock full of amazing table settings, decor, cakes, dresses, hair/make up ideas, and of course, wedding photos you love! Here are a few simple things to remember on your big day to help get you those "Pinterest-Worthy" shots of your ceremony.
1. BE AWARE OF THE SUN WHEN CHOOSING YOUR CEREMONY TIME AND LOCATION: Much to the dismay of all wedding photographers, most weddings are not arranged to be held during golden hour (every photographer's favorite time of the day to take photos because of the beautiful golden light and skies before sunset), so we adapt! BUT, if you want perfect ceremony photos during these less than optimal times, I would encourage you to take a look at how the light shines on your potential ceremony location during that time of day. Have someone stand where you will stand and see what you think. Make sure you'll be comfortable. A few less than ideal things to watch out for with outdoor ceremonies are: if the sun is going to cause you to squint or your eyes to water, if the sun is going to create weird shadows on you or your partner (and if these shadows are going to bother you, because they will show up in the photos), and if the temperature will be acceptable for you in your wedding attire (you do not want sweat stains, running makeup, red faces, or cold patchy skin).If any of these things are true for your potential ceremony space and time of day, consider how you can adjust!
2. UNPLUG YOUR CEREMONY: If you only follow one tip from this list, make it this one. I have seen so many wedding photos ruined by a guest with an iPhone who is in front of the paid, professional photographer, trying to get a snapshot of the couple during an important moment of the night. UNPLUG your ceremony. Ask your guests to pocket their phones just for the ceremony and be fully present to witness your marriage. There is a reason you paid a professional photographer good money to document your big day, and you can trust they will capture it all. Not to mention, their photos will be much greater quality than the snapshot Uncle Bill took on his old cell phone which will probably never resurface again after that moment. Most guests will respect your wishes if you let them know, I have seen several of my brides place cute little signs about being unplugged on an easel at the entrance to their ceremony space as a very tasteful way to notify guests, or have the officiant request this at the beginning of the ceremony. However you do it, you won't be sad you did.
3. LOOK UP AND SMILE: When you finally begin that walk down the aisle you've been waiting for towards the love of your life, make sure you LOOK UP. So many brides look down at their feet, worried they'll trip, or feeling shy in front of the crowd. Looking down at your feet is never flattering in photos, it can cause a "double chin" appearance, make you seem timid/nervous, and also keeps you from being in the moment and truly allowing your emotions to set in. This is a once in a lifetime moment, and you should soak in every second. So make sure you are comfortable in your wedding day shoes, and look up at your groom as you walk down the aisle, and take it all in. Let yourself smile from ear to ear or let those tears of joy fall. This is the moment you have been waiting for your entire life.
4. INCLUDE SOME KIND OF UNITY CEREMONY, AND MAKE IT ORIGINAL: A short unity ceremony is a beautiful symbol of the joining of two people on their wedding day, and its not only a great way to break up the vows and the message, but a wonderful photo opportunity. During these ceremonies I find that the couples tend to relax a bit and let themselves interact with their partner, which can lead to some great shots. It also provides some variety of the types of photos you get from your ceremony. There are tons of cool options and I would encourage you to take the time to do some research and find something that speaks to both you and your partner.
5. HOLD HANDS: There is nothing more awkward appearing than a couple standing beside each other for 15-45 minutes while someone talks about their love and commitment for one another with their arms dangling down to their sides and 3 feet of empty space between them. Instead, hold hands during the ceremony, either facing one another (my personal preference so that the crowd can see your faces) or facing whomever is marrying you. This small gesture adds a romantic feel to the photos and improves posture as well which ultimately has a flattering effect. I also recommend handing off the bouquet once you reach the alter so that you can free up your hands and focus on your partner during the ceremony. Not to mention, those bouquets get heavy!
6. ASK YOUR OFFICIANT TO MOVE: The ceremony comes to a close and its time for the moment we have all been waiting for, the first kiss! You get your wedding photos back and find that moment in time only to see your officiant's legs or head is in the background of this photo you planned to hang as a large canvas in your bedroom. Now, you can't unsee that, and it takes away from the photo. Instead of worrying about this, kindly ask your officiant before hand if they would mind taking a few steps to their left immediately after signaling for the first kiss to improve the photo opportunity. Most officiants are happy to do this in my expereince! As an experienced wedding photographer, this is something I ALWAYS talk to the officiant about before the ceremony when I introduce myself, and I have never had a negative reaction to this request. It is even more well received if this is something the couple has mentioned to them already and my request serves as more of a friendly reminder.
7. ONCE VOWS ARE DONE, EXIT IN STYLE: Once you are pronounced husband and wife, allow yourself to let loose and celebrate! Pause at the end of the aisle and do whatever you feel like now that you are married! This is a perfect photo opportunity and a cool way to capture all of your guests in the background. You can smile big, cheer, fist pump, fire off confetti canons, get pelted with rice or bird seed by your guests, or the ever so classic bubble exit, the possibilities are really endless.
8. DO IT YOUR WAY: The ceremony is usually the shortest part of a wedding day, so be sure to relax and enjoy it! It is such an important milestone and you want to make sure you take it all in. Make it short, make it sweet, make it long, make it full of music or full of prayer, make it public in front of 200 people or private in front of only your partner and the officiant, make it whatever you want. Just make it your own. The more unique, the cooler the photos.
Happy Planning, XOXO
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