One of the most important parts of a wedding is the ceremony. In this post, I’m going to list the must-have wedding photos to take during the wedding ceremony that newlyweds will want to look back on after their special day.
This list of essential wedding ceremony photos is also from the point-of-view of a documentary-style wedding photographer.
Why, because there is so much to photograph during the ceremony. And today many engaged couples prefer candid and natural-looking wedding photos.
It’s essential to have wedding photos during the ceremony, because:
- The processional, ceremony and recessional all take place.
- The bride & groom, bridal party, family, and guests are all together.
- There is so much to photograph during the marriage.
With that, here are the must-take photos to look out for during the ceremony:
- The arrival of the wedding party
- Groom & groomsmen take their places
- The arrival of the bride & bridesmaids
- The wedding congregation & location
- Wedding traditions & rituals
- Expressions of the wedding party
- Candid moments
- Exchange of vows
- Exchange of rings
- The first kiss
- Emotional reactions
- Walking down the aisle
- Signing the register
- Confetti throwing
1. The arrival of the wedding party
Take photos of the guests arriving at the church (or ceremony location). You’ll see guests waiting in anticipation for the ceremony to start, children handing out the order of service, and flowers being fastened to buttonholes. These are some of the moments you’ll want to capture before the ceremony.
2. Groom & groomsmen take their places
The groom and his groomsmen will take their places at the front of the aisle before the ceremony. The groom may check his watch or chat nervously with his best man and/or groomsmen before the bride makes her entrance. Get to the front and look out for these moments.
3. The arrival of the bride & bridesmaids
Take photos of the bride arriving, getting out of the car, having her veil adjusted, and making her way towards the church. Then, rush inside to capture the bride walking down the aisle with her father or significant other. Make sure you don’t miss the groom’s expression as he glances at the bride for the first time!
4. The wedding congregation & location
Regardless of where couples get married, wide-angle photos of the congregation and those taking part in the ceremony showcase everyone attending the wedding (and the location). These kinds of photos capture the atmosphere during the marriage ceremony.
5. Wedding traditions & rituals
Some weddings may include traditions or rituals performed during the ceremony that is personal to the bride and groom. Do not forget to capture these significant moments. These photos reflect the bride & groom’s personalities and the effort they put into the planning.
6. Expressions of the wedding party
You’ll want to capture the facial expressions of the bride & groom during the ceremony. For example, the moment the bride’s father presents his daughter’s hand to the groom and the tears and joy of the wedding party as they take part in the ceremony. Weddings make everyone laugh and cry (not only the bride & groom!).
7. Candid moments
Keep one eye on what is happening around you during the ceremony. Sometimes the unexpected happens (e.g., a ring won’t fit). Or something candid happens (e.g., an altar boy takes a nap!). Taking photos of unexpected and candid moments provides an amusing record of events the bride and groom may have missed.
8. Exchange of vows
During the exchange of vows, take photos of the reaction of the person receiving the vow. This moment is often more valuable than the reaction of the person speaking the vows. The reactions of the bride and groom during the exchange vows are a must-have moment to capture.
9. Exchange of rings
Take photos of the exchange of rings. And the person handing over the rings. This is a key moment to photograph. It often involves laughter, especially when the best man can’t find the rings! Or if one of them doesn’t fit!
10. The first kiss
Get ready to take photos of the first kiss because it can be a fleeting moment. Sometimes the person conducting the ceremony will ask the couple to repeat the embrace! Afterward, take a quick look at the congregation. Their expressions are also worth photographing.
11. Emotional reactions
After the first kiss, the newlyweds may punch the air or jump for joy. So, watch out for an emotional reaction after the embrace.
12. Walking down the aisle
Next, the bride and groom will walk down the aisle, and the wedding party will congratulate them as they pass. Set up your camera in advance to take photos with a fast shutter speed, because the newlyweds may walk faster than you think (and churches can be dark places to take pictures!).
13. Signing the register
After the bride and groom have walked down the aisle, they will make their way into the vestry to sign the marriage register. This act will be witnessed by at least two other members of the wedding party. Look for candid moments after the register has been signed. Someone often says something funny that is worth photographing!
14. Confetti throwing
Lastly, the wedding party will make its way outside for photos. They will congratulate the bride & groom and want to throw confetti. So get the newlyweds into position. Perhaps encourage the wedding party to line-up in two rows that the bride & groom walk in-between. As they do, tell the guests to start throwing the confetti. And tell the happy couple not to look at you during the confetti throwing. Otherwise, the photos will look staged.
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