Believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to have a wedding ceremony! Even if your wedding is super non-traditional, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve read these over to avoid disaster on the wedding day.
I know, sounds intense but follow along and you’ll see that following these 5 tips is going to be a lifesaver on your wedding day. With all of the money, time, and energy the two of you have spent on this wedding, it would be a shame for something silly to take away from the magic!
All it takes is a little bit of preparation and communication to have the wedding ceremony of your dreams! Take it from me, a Southern California wedding photographer with years of experience shooting all types of weddings both traditional, and non-traditional alike!
I know, we all love our uncle Tim and his crazy sense of humor but a wedding ceremony is no place for surprises or long winded stories. The best way to handle this is to discuss with your officiant some of the special things about you and your partner and how you would like them to be included.
This applies to both hired officiants and especially first timers such as a family member or best friend. Telling your officiant what to say and more importantly, what not to say can save your poor grandma from hearing about the time that you and your best buddy got so drunk you threw up on some girls shoes. (True story, and not one I’m proud of!)
This does not mean reading over the entire thing or worse writing your officiant’s speech for them but it can mean giving them a rough outline with “must says”, “please don’t says”, and an idea of how much time they have for little stories or personal pieces.
If you’re really unsure, I would suggest just reading over what they’ve written the week or two before your wedding so that you know everyone is on the same page. This will no doubt be helpful for your officiant and give you peace of mind that the ceremony will go off without a hitch!
It’s super natural to be nervous on the wedding day, with so many things to remember and of course the emotions of the day, but this tip is really going to make or break your wedding photos!
As a photographer, I always tell my couples to grab hands and to face each other after they meet at the end of the aisle. This makes for the best angle for both your guests and those epic wide photographs of your entire ceremony with you two in the middle.
It’s easy to forget this and face the officiant like they’re a teacher and they’re guiding you along. But when you do that, not only are you obstructing everyone’s view but the two of you are not focusing on each other which can make for lackluster images.
So when you meet at the officiant, grab your partner’s hand, take a deep breath, and lock eyes because that’s the person you are making the promises to and you want to remember that moment forever.
Romantic I know. But it doesn’t have to be as robotic as it sounds! It’s actually going to make for gorgeous first kiss photos if you just do that little bit of extra planning and even better if you talk it over with your photographer and videographer!
Chances are you have never kissed in front of that many people, let alone your entire families, closest friends, coworkers and their random plus ones. So if you leave it up to chance, sometimes it can look a bit awkward when one partner goes in a bit aggressively and the other is caught off guard!
Just practicing either a gentle peck or maybe three slow kisses or even a full blown dip kiss can really seal the deal if ya know what I mean! Kiss puns am I right?
Whatever you choose, make sure you hold that kiss for at least 3 seconds so that you are guaranteed that perfect photograph. And hey, its your first kiss as a married couple! No need to half-ass it, get in there and show them who you love!
Oh and this tip is a bonus TELL YOUR OFFICIANT TO MOVE OUT OF THE WANT BEFORE THEY ANNOUNCE THE KISS!! This will make your photos that more intimate, your kiss that more special and low key less awkward without someone lurking. 🙂
I just told you how important slowing down that first kiss is but this tip goes for every aspect of the ceremony. Firstly, you’ll likely have a rehearsal where everyone learns to walk down the aisle. Many people don’t take this part seriously and don’t even consider the music they’ve chosen or the age of each person walking.
This is the perfect time to play the music just as it will be on the wedding day and have everyone practice walking slowly on pace with it.
It is much more helpful with a planner that can actually count you out and make sure everyone knows their time. But even without one you can easily tell everyone, take a breath, and walk as though you’re just gliding along with the music at half the pace of your usual walk.
This tip really helps your wedding photographer capture the flower girls (they tend to sprint down that damn aisle!) and the rest of your groomsmen, bridesmaids, etc.
Secondly, when reading your vows be sure to slow down and annunciate! There’s nothing worse than sitting through a ceremony unable to understand the couple and basically this leads to guests looking at their phone. I’m sorry but its true! So speak up and speak clearly. This moment is not just for the two of you, it’s for everyone you love to witness you declaring your vows to one another,
You need to make sure that you have proper sound equipment set up. So many couples forget this step and just assume that their wedding venue, dj, or band is just going to bring them everything they need wrapped up into a perfect package.
But many many venues do not include equipment or they only have partial items. This is the very first thing you should ask to whoever is doing your wedding music because they likely, if experienced and knowledgeable, will have answers and back up ideas for all situations.
But some people choose to do their own music and therefore MUST make sure they have spoken to a professional at least in order to guarantee they will be able to set up their own sound. This is not recommended as it can get super technical and NO ONE wants to be figuring out their ceremony sound equipment on the day of their wedding but just to give you an idea, here is a list to get you started. Its so much more than a microphone!
If you are planning on DIYing your wedding sound system, this article by B&H Photo can help you figure it out! You need someone that is extremely knowledgeable and these guys know their stuff!
Have an open mind, stay present and don’t dwell on the mistakes/mishaps. Flower girls running down the aisle? Laugh it off and remember it just adds to the uniqueness of your day. Can’t stop crying during your vows? It is utterly, completely beautiful and will make the memory that much more special for you and your partner. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes because they will happen but the important thing is not letting them get in the way of your happiness and having a great time.
If you have any questions or are looking for a genuine wedding photographer in Southern California, please don’t hesitate to send me a message!
Do you have any tips that are really going to make a difference in someone’s wedding day? Please share in the comments and help other couples!
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