A New Life Chapter Begins
Special people, beautiful places and heartfelt words. Some hush and quiet please. It’s suddenly got real and it’s going to be emotional.
I've been photographing wedding ceremonies professionally for over 20 years and I'm still liable to get a lump in my throat during this bit! Whether your ceremony is in a historic 12th century cathedral or a council chamber that needs a new coat of paint, be prepared for tears to run*.
*It's usually the Groom.
Beautiful Wedding CEREMONy Tips
Wedding ceremonies have changed in many ways since I started. I've noticed more variety with scope for creativity as marriage rules have relaxed in the UK. Not many people risk a rainy outdoor ceremony but they do happen during peak summer. Still worth planning an indoor backup location in July! For couples considering a civil marriage, one option is to do the official ceremony weeks in advance at a registry office so they can design their bespoke wedding ceremony without any of the rules and regulations on their Big Day. They may wish to have candles, poems or hymns in a garden, a castle or cave. Day or night, do it your way! Asian and Fusion weddings offer so much spectacle and joy. With two or more days of celebration, it’s a wonderful way to capture families all loved up. Some couples invite a friend to conduct a humanist or secular ceremony. Others turn to a professional for help. Hannah at Write My Ceremony is just lovely and takes a great deal of care to make your marriage personal.
Most vicars are very relaxed but a few have had their fingers burned by photographers who don't behave with appropriate respect for the sacred occasion. It's well worth discussing with your vicar or celebrant ahead of time so you won't be disappointed by an unexpected ban on wedding ceremony photography at the last moment. I work silently and without flash. I always seek out the key people when I arrive to check any house rules. By arriving at the church half an hour before the ceremony, it's also a sign of respect to the celebrant who may otherwise become flustered. It also means I can get shots of the Groomsmen on site and the excited guests taking their seats! I'm very happy to call people up in the week before your wedding if you think that would be helpful. Most of the time, registrars and the clergy are very open to photography but always best not to assume so. While you're at it, check the confetti rules! Many establishments only permit natural flower petals and they may encourage you to stay away from the entrance so it doesn't blow inside. Whether you’re a grandfather or a flower girl, confetti brings out the inner child in us all. It’s always fun watching guests vying for the best spot from which to hurl their colourful showers. All the nervous energy and excitement of the ceremony has a chance to escape in clouds of flower petals and rice. Make sure you don’t scrimp on the good stuff. Dribs and drabs of confetti are a bit of an anti climax when you should be aiming for airborne carnage!
Considering your overall timeline is an important thing to get right. It can be a challenge to allow enough time to take it all in. While wedding planning may not be what you've hired me for, I'm always glad to chat through plans and be helpful. I strongly advise to structure your day so you can remain relaxed when things don't go completely to plan. I've seen a pre war wedding car take 20 minutes of vigorous hand cranking to get the engine started! With plenty of time, you'll stay in the moment and be focused on the make or break bit of the day - the wedding ceremony itself! Allow an extra 15 minutes for the ceremony and at least 15 minutes for hanging around afterwards before guests move to the next location. You'll easily use up that time as everyone will want a piece of you! It can be wise to harness everyone being on their best behaviour immediately after the ceremony and jump straight in to do the groups. Then they're done! As the day goes on, your guests will quite rightly relax and they can become harder to assemble for groups. Of course you may prefer your reception venue for groups in which case I recommend making photography the priority as soon as you arrive.