After reading the blog title you may be thinking, "how are there tips for the ceremony, isn't it just captured as it unfolds?". Yes, you are correct. No photographer is going to stop the ceremony because they did not capture a photo or so they can get a certain image, however, there are a few things that you can do to help your photographer capture the certain moments of your ceremony. Your wedding photographer has most likely photographed a ton of weddings so they know how fast a "first kiss" happens and how to make sure it gets captured along with all the other details, but implementing a few of these tips will make sure everything gets captured and may even allow you to get a few images of each event.
1. Make sure you and your bridal party take their time while walking down the aisle.
When you are walking down the aisle, everyone is looking at you, which makes most people a little nervous and causes them to walk faster. By slowing down, and making sure there is adequate room between each person, will allow your wedding photographer to take a couple of images of each person and make sure they all look great. Plus when the bride and her father walk down the aisle, you will want several images of that!
2. Have your officiant announce for everyone to be seated.
When the bride starts walking down the aisle, everyone will stand up. I have photographed several weddings where no one sits back down once the ceremony starts! This makes the ceremony hard to photograph because we are not able to get the shots of the bride and groom and whole wedding party because everyone is blocking the view. Once the bride arrives at the front and the ceremony is going to start if you can have your officiant announce that everyone may sit down will help with this issue.
3. Stand in the center of the aisle/altar.
This one is hard to do, I know, and if you are off center it's not a huge deal. However, when the bride and groom are standing up at the front, it looks great when they are centered with the aisle and altar. Depending on your venue you may be able to mark the center but you can always talk with your officiant and make sure he or she stands center so when you get up to the front you will know where to stand.
4. Don't have your back toward your guests.
Another thing that happens way to often is that the bride and groom will face the officiant with their backs towards their guests. Angle yourselves so you are facing each other and your sides are towards the officiant and your guests. This will allow not only your photographers to photograph your profiles and faces but will allow your guests to see you as well!
5. Make your first kiss last!
You just got married, now go ahead and savor your first kiss as husband and wife! It doesn't need to be an hour long affair, but having your first kiss be more that a quick peck will allow your photographer to capture a couple photos of the sweet moment.
6 (Bonus!). Consider an unplugged ceremony.
You want your guests to be present in the moment and enjoy your wedding vows and not to be buried behind their phones, cameras, and ipads. You also don't want your wedding photos to show everyone holding up their devices. By having an unplugged ceremony, you will make sure that everyone is there to experience the moment and not busy trying to capture the perfect image. You hired your wedding photographer for their experience and expertise, leave that in their hands.
If you are not a fan of an unplugged ceremony, have your officiant announce (or write it in your program) for guests to stay in their seat and not to get in the aisle or use flash photography. Far to often shots are ruined because a guest jumped in front of the photographer or because a guest fired off a flash right when the photographer took a photo and blew out their image. I have heard horror stories about this happening during the first kiss and the photographer had nothing to give the couple except a blown out image or an image with a guest standing in the way.
Monday Wedding Madness is a blog series that occurs every Monday and answers the questions you have about wedding photography. Have a question you would like to have answered or something that you wish you would have known before your wedding or are you a wedding professional who would like to contribute? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.