Tips for The Bride – Part 5: The Ceremony

Wedding Photo OF Ring Exchange

In this series we focus mainly on the ‘White Christian Weddings’. However, I had the good fortune to be the photographer at many different weddings including, Muslim weddings, Hindu weddings, Traditional African Weddings and an Ethiopian wedding which was very different.

Even among all the traditional white Christian weddings you will find many different practices and rituals. In preparing for this blog, I Googled the different type of weddings and realised, there is no “One shoe fits it all”. Your photographer should be familiar with your wedding procedures.

When booking your photographer, check if they are familiar with your wedding procedures, practices and rituals. Discuss your wedding ceremony with him well in advance.

At CRK Photography we encourage a Before the Wedding or rehearsal session, this will be the time to re-affirm your wedding procedures.

In Part 4 we discussed the Groom prep. This week, we will continue to have an in-depth look at the next stage of wedding photography.

To recap here is the list of the 7 stages in wedding photography:

Before the Wedding. * Bride Preparations. * Groom Preparations. * The Ceremony. * The Formal photos. * The Romantic Photos. * The Reception.

The Ceremony

A good photographer will know how to approach the ceremony & formalities, as well as converse with the officials, before the ceremony. But don’t leave this to chance, you may have a few disappointments if your photographers and videographers are restricted. Confirm with the officials performing the Ceremony if and when the photographers are allowed to take photos, use a flash and move during the ceremony.

We will discuss this section from the moment the bride gets into the vehicle.

Wedding Photograph of grooms facial reaction


But before that, I want to stress ‘again’ the importance of a second photographer. The main photographer following the bride from home to the church and the second photographer accompany the groom and make sure you get photos before the bride arrives. The Church building and location, the guest arriving, flowers and decor in the church, Portraits of the nerves groom waiting for his bride, the grooms face in awe, as his bride walks down the aisle.

Brides portrait, through the vehicle window waving as she starts her journey.

A handkerchief waving out the window, with the bridesmaids and the rest of the party looking on as the vehicle drives down the road.

Bridesmaids helping with the dress as you are getting out the vehicle and the last-minute touch-ups.

At this moment, Mom and Dad’s emotional expressions are priceless. Not to mention the bride’s anxiety and happiness as she gets ready to walk down the aisle.

One last shot of the flower girls, bridesmaids, maid of honour if she is unmarried, or the matron of honour if she is married, lined-up in procession before they walk down the aisle.

This is where the second photographer, is of great value, he stands in front, capturing everyone as they come in while the main photographer can record the events in the foyer before the bride walks down the aisle.

You and Dad, walking down the aisle, close-ups and wide angle with the guests looking on.

Sometimes the photographer may even capture spontaneous reaction from the guest as you walk down the aisle.

Wedding Photograph of guests at ceremony

Now things are happening quickly from a photographer’s point of view.

Dad lifting the veil and the tender emotions, only a father of the bride can express.

Dad shaking the groom’s hand, with that stern look as a warning, “it is my daughter and you better look well after her…” Yes, we are all human, and dads love doesn’t change when his daughter gets married.

The first eye contact between bride and groom.

The first touch when they hook in or hug, the love expressed in those moments are gold and will be the most intimate photos in your album.

The wedding photos should be more than a recording of the dress, the venue, the reception layout and the things synonyms with a wedding. The best photos and video footage are when the photographer captures the emotions and the true character of every person. Those are the photos you will appreciate most… loved ones, get older, or may even die.In time to come you will be glad you screened photographers and pay the extra for a good professional photographer.

Photographers view, of the bride and groom with guests in the background.

Wide angle view of the Church or Chapple from the back with bride and groom standing in front of the altar or pulpit.

Down the aisle Décor and flowers.

The official performing the Ceremony and over the official’s shoulder view of the Bride & Groom.

Wedding vows of the Groom and Bride, here we can double up with full length and portraits of each.

Close-up portraits exchanging rings, also double up with full length and portraits of each.

With a good team of photographers, one photographer will be on the lookout for emotional expressions of the mom’s, dad’s and other family members or guests sharing the moments.

Consider your photographers when putting on the rings, give them a clear and open view of your hands, to take photos of the actual moment.

First kiss – this is a ‘must’ for every photographer, a photo that carries much sentiment and emotions with it when viewed later. Ask your photographer to take multiple photos as you approach for the kiss, and make a collage in your album.

Other formalities like the lighting of candles, having communion, special singer or musician playing  and other Cultural Nuances should be discussed with your photographer.
Wedding Photographers love to capture those ‘unexpected’ moments, but with prior collaboration as discussed in the, Before The Wedding blog the photographer can anticipate those magic moments.

The Blessings of the Marriage by the minister and sometimes family members or close friends.

#TipForTheBride When planning your church or chapel decorations keep an eye on placements of the flowers and other decorative items. The flowers and décor can make a beautiful background for your photos or it could be in the wrong position spoiling the photos by obstructing or blocking views.

The formalities of signing the register with your new husband, the witnesses and the minister will provides for more ‘keepsake’ photos.

I often take close-ups of the hands, holding the pen and showing the rings with the register and the bridal bouquet in background 

The guests, waiting outside to congratulate the bridle couple is a good opportunity for the 2nd photographer to get canids of the guests. He can also arrange for the guests to line up to throw the confetti.  Sometimes the parents select to stay behind for a uninterrupted congratulations, you can use this time for a private family photo session.

As you walk out in to a barrage of confetti throwers, both the bridle couple and the guests are elated with celebration, the facial expressions is worth thousands of photos

Confetti ideas that makes for beautiful photos, Fresh Flower Petals, Colourful Ribbons, Leaves, Bubbles, Helium Balloons, Pompoms, coloured paper Confetti of different shape & sizes, Dried Rose Petals, Dried Lavender, Feathers, Beachballs for a beach Wedding, Paper Planes, little flowers (baby’s breath or gypsum).
Or if you can’t decide, why not give your guests a choice with a confetti bar?

Wedding Photograph of Confetti and Newly Married couple

Candid photos of the guests congratulating the bride and groom, and don’t forget the all-important group photo. Sometime this is a nightmare for the photographer, as everyone is doing their own thing, and some of the guests, may want to get to the reception early for delivering gifts or may have last minute arrangements.

Wedding Photo of group in a heart shape

A good photographer finds ways to keep everyone together, I have in the past pin a string in a big heart shape on the grass. Then I ask all the guest to stand at the string with the bride and groom in the middle point, this makes for a beautiful heart shape group photo.

I can elaborate so much more on the ceremony photos but this blog is getting very long, if you book us as your wedding photographer, we can discuss this in much more details.  

In closing I want to reiterate, to make use of a wedding planner can save you money, but to make your wedding uniquely yours, you can guide your wedding planner with those little and special things that you have dreamed of.

In the next blog we will look at the family photos, and NO! it is not boring, it is often the most underrated photo session of the wedding, The family photos will have the most personal value in the long run…. But more of that next week

List of photos

  1. The Church building and location
  2. Guest arriving
  3. Flowers and decor in the church
  4. Portraits of the nerves groom
  5. Grooms face in awe
  6. Brides through the vehicle window
  7. Handkerchief waving out the window
  8. Bridesmaids helping with the dress
  9. Mom and Dad’s expressions
  10. Bride’s anxiety and happiness
  11. Lined-up in procession before they walk in
  12. Flower girls & Bridesmaids walking in from the front
  13. Walking down the aisle
  14. Wide angle of the Church with guests
  15. Spontaneous reaction from the guest
  16. Lifting of the veil
  17. Dad shaking the groom’s hand
  18. Eye contact between bride and groom
  19. The first touch or hug
  20. Bride and groom with guests in the background
  21. Bride and groom standing in front of the altar from the back
  22. Down the aisle, Décor and flowers
  23. Official performing the Ceremony
  24. Over the official’s shoulder view
  25. Wedding vows Groom portrait
  26. Wedding vows Groom full length
  27. Wedding vows Bride portrait
  28. Wedding vows Bride full length
  29. Close-up portraits of the exchange of rings Groom
  30. Full length exchange of rings Groom
  31. Close-up portraits of the exchange of rings Bride
  32. Full length exchange of rings Bride
  33. Family members or guests sharing the moments expressions
  34. First kiss – collage
  35. Other formalities – lighting of candles etc.
  36. The Blessings of the Marriage – prayers
  37. Signing of the register
  38. Close-ups of the hands, holding the pen
  39. The guests, waiting outside
  40. Parents Congratulations
  41. Barrage of confetti throwers
  42. Guests Congratulations
  43. All-important group photo
  44. Candid photos of the guests talking
Wedding Photo of bride and father walking down the aisle
Wedding Photo of bride and father walking down the aisle

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