It’s the moment everyone has been waiting for. Your wedding ceremony. The music is playing, guests have been seated. The Ushers make their way to the back of the church, & the coordinator is lining up the bridesmaids while giving the musicians a five minute warning. The bride is about to walk down the aisle to the love of her life…and if she’s like most girls, she’s dreamed about this moment for a long time! Vows will be shared & promises will be made…this is what it’s all about! In a world full of wedding blogs, pinterest & bridal magazines, it’s easy to be overwhelmed & consumed by the “prettiness” of the event. While details do matter & planning is necessary, it’s important to never lose sight of the real purpose of your amazing day! Often times the wedding ceremony gets easily overlooked when it comes to the planning. Today on the blog we will go over 5 tips that you can incorporate to make the most of your wedding ceremony.
This is one aspect of the wedding ceremony that most couples don’t even take into consideration, simply because they don’t think of it! As a Northern Virginia wedding photographer, I want you to have the best of your photos from every aspect. This brings me to our first point- Lighting. Ceremony lighting is really important, especially if you plan to have an outdoor wedding ceremony. If you plan to get married outdoors at 12pm, the lighting will be extremely harsh (unless you are in a shaded area of course). With harsh light comes harsh lines of light on your faces, & a lot of squinting 😉 I suggest planning an outdoor ceremony 2 hours before sunset if you are sharing a First Look. If you are not interested in sharing a First Look, then I suggest having your wedding ceremony 3 hours before sunset to ensure that you will have plenty of time for portraits afterwards. The lower the sun, the more romantic the lighting. If you plan to have an indoor ceremony, it is always best to have even lighting at the altar. If there are two spotlights on the bride and groom, I will not be able to expose the rest of the wedding party. It is better to have soft, even light across the entire altar.
Order of Service
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the traditions of a wedding ceremony, that sometimes couples forget to make it their own! I have seen many couples do so many amazing things during a ceremony. I’ve witnessed couple’s washing each other’s feet, symbolizing that they want to serve each other for the rest of their life. Some couples share in communion while some light a unity candle. I’ve seen sand ceremonies, rope ceremonies & other passed on traditions take place. The options are limitless! As you plan your wedding ceremony, make sure you design it to be exactly what the two of you envision it to be. Remember, this is your day! If you have the freedom to be creative, then by all means, be creative! This is your ceremony, so be sure to include the things you want.
Programs & Details
The best advice I have for the program-making process is to remember that not EVERY guest needs a program! We printed a program for every guest attending our wedding but then realized that most families/couples only took one. We ended up with a ton of extra programs! Also, before ordering your programs, have SEVERAL people check it for spelling and grammatical errors. Programs and the ceremony decor are things that the bride can plan in advance but then delegate the actual job of setting it up to a friend or coordinator. The last thing a bride needs to be doing the morning of her wedding is running around setting up floral arrangements!
I highly encourage hiring either a full event planner or just a day-of coordinator. It is very important! Brides realize quickly that if they do not have someone in charge of the coordination of the day, that responsibility will automatically fall on the mother of the bride, the photographer, or the bride! I have personally seen this happen in all the scenarios mentioned, and it wasn’t pretty. When a photographer is in charge of the timeline and the coordination of the day, the images will suffer. All of my most stressful wedding situations were caused by a lack of organization and coordination. It is so important to make this a priority. If you need any recommendations on wedding coordination services I would love to share some of my favorite vendors with you!
If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember I just posted on the topic of having an unplugged wedding. This is so important when it comes to your photography investment. An unplugged wedding is where you politely asks your guests to refrain from taking any photos during the ceremony by putting their cell phones, tablets, and cameras away. As a Northern Virginia wedding photographer, I have personally seen guests jump out in the aisle with their iPhones, held selfie sticks out in the aisle, or simply jumped right in my path as I was trying to capture a key moment. All of these instances can ruin your photography investment. Not to mention, it is incredibly distracting! Have your guests be present in the moment. Go unplugged.
Thank you for stopping by! If you wish to learn more about my wedding experience, you can contact me here!