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I photograph a lot of weddings which means I get a lot of opportunities to see what things work well and what things don’t work so well for wedding ceremonies. So I’ve created small list of things I’ve observed at recent weddings which you can use to help plan your perfect ceremony!
Here they are:
Your positioning relative to the arbor
I love arbors. You can get so creative with them and they can add a beautiful, unique element to your ceremony. Whether square, circular or rectangle, arbors tend to be very symmetrical. What this means is that if you and your partner aren’t centred under the arbor, it will throw the photos off.
Laurise and Matthew did a killer job of being centre for their first kiss (in the pics above). You can imagine if they were a step or two either side that the photo would look unbalanced. So when you’re rehearsing your ceremony definitely keep this in mind. I’m always happy to give you a little friendly nudge during your ceremony to let you know if you’re off centre.
Even positioning of your bridal party
Another thing to consider when rehearsing your ceremony is to have an even amount of space between the you, the couple, and both bridal parties. I often photograph ceremonies where one bridal party is closer to the couple, and again, it can throw the pics a little off balance. Honestly, it’s not the end of the world if this happens but if it can be avoided then the photos will be better off for it.
Have close family near the aisle
I love to capture close family member’s reactions during the ceremony, especially the grandparents and parents. However, sometimes the grandparents or other family members are in hard to photograph spots during the ceremony. This is especially the case if they are not on the edge of the aisle but in the middle of the row behind other guests. So if you can, try and organise the seating so your VIPs can be seated in the first row or on the centre edge of the aisle.
Introduce me to close family before the ceremony
Truth be told, I’ve been known to stalk the wrong nana during the ceremony, purely because I wasn’t 100% clear on who they were. So if possible, on the wedding day, try and have the VIPs introduced to me so I know who to concentrate on capturing throughout the day. Better yet, if you’re getting ready on site have them come and visit before you leave for your ceremony.
Grandparents as witnesses
Speaking of grandparents, if you want a way to get your grandparents involved in your wedding, have them be your witnesses. They will likely be stoked to be able to play this important role in your wedding day.
Bridal hair covering face
This is one I see all the time. Bride’s who get the most amazing hair styling that covers the whole side of their face. If this is the side of your face that the guests see, then not only is it extremely difficult for me to capture you when standing from the aisle view, but a lot of your guests can’t see you clearly.
As you can see from the image above, the side of the bride’s face that is facing the guests is completely obscured. The only clear angle I could capture of her was from the side.
I might add, I’m no expert when it comes to hair styling. But it may be something you want to consider when deciding on your hair look for your special day.
Confetti/flower throwing – GO BIG OR GO HOME!
With many things in life, less is more. However, this isn’t necessarily the case with confetti and flower throwing. These pics are often some of the most impactful photos of the day as this is when the energy is at its highest. I always notice when there is no confetti or flowers tossed when the newlyweds proceed up the aisle after signing their papers. Something just seems like it’s missing.
When planning for confetti or flower petals, make sure to get plenty. Ditch those cones and small bags that get handed out to wedding guests. Think bigger!
My best tip: Get a bucket, fill it to the top and let your guests take a handful. Often when there’s not enough flowers or confetti, the photo lacks the impact that you might hope for. So again, more is definitely more when it comes to the amount of confetti and flower petals you buy.
Speaking of which, you can order some amazing biodegradable confetti by clicking here.
Look up during the confetti throwing!
Yes, you are likely going to get pelted in the face with confetti or flower petals. But seriously, OWN IT! Don’t look down but soak every last bit of it up! The photos will be much mire impactful for it!
Face each other during the ceremony
This one might sound a bit obvious, but hear me out. I have photographed a small few weddings where the couple were turned toward the celebrant with their backs to their guests for most of the ceremony. The couples were completely unaware they were doing this. After all, the celebrant was talking and the couples were likely instinctively being polite by facing who was talking! So make sure during your ceremony rehearsal to face each other (with your bodies) and not the celebrant.
End of ceremony – pick a spot and stay together for your hugs
This one applies if you’ve booked my full day or short & sweet package. One of my favourite, but most hectic parts of the day to capture is the hugs and high fives that happen post ceremony. It’s a beautiful part of the day where you can connect with your guests and it’s a great time for me to be snapping beautiful candid moments of you with your guests.
However, if you and your newlywed split apart and both your grandmothers hug you at exactly the same time, it becomes impossible for me to capture these precious moments. I therefore recommend trying to stay within 2 metres of each other while you take your hugs and high fives, and like the ninja that I am, I can quickly capture these moments between you both.
Pre record your ceremony music
I’m writing this just after I’ve photographed a stunning wedding at one of my favourite venues: Gold Coast Farm House. And here’s why. We all know technology cannot be the most reliable at times, especially those time that we need it to. My lovely were hoping to use their Spotify playlist for their ceremony entrance but they couldn’t get enough reception to get Spotify to play. Not only did this affect their ceremony entrance (no music), but it pushed the ceremony behind time, which ultimately halved the amount of time we had for portraits.
So make sure to pre record your best tunes for your special moments before your wedding day!
Request guests use white umbrellas where possible
This won’t apply to every wedding, but when photograhing an outdoor summer wedding, having bright blue umbrellas in the background can be a bit of an eye sore (unless they’re rainbow, that’s kind of cool). Accompanying picture coming, you’ll see what I mean 😉
Consider having an unplugged ceremony
I have a whole seperate article on this which you can read here. But I can’t recommend doing one highly enough!
Thanks for taking the time to read through this. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to hit me up.