Pay Attention to Sunset Timing and Location
If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, make sure you know what time the sunsets on the day of your wedding. I would recommend having a ceremony within 2-3 hours of sunset, if possible. Not only is this the best light for photos, but you also will be less likely to be sweating or squinting during your vows.
If you have complete control over your wedding ceremony location (for example, if you’re having a backyard wedding ceremony), I recommend having the sunset set either directly behind the guests or directly in front of the guests. This way the sun is evenly hitting both you and your fiancé and neither of you are being blinded by sun as you exchange vows and you’re able to comfortably look at each other.
If your ceremony is indoors, you have a bit more flexibility with timing. More sunlight is actually best and the closer you get to sunset, the more likely you’ll have weird light spilling into the room or not enough light at all. Indoors (again, IF you have control), it’s better to put the window light to one side rather than behind the officiant.
When thinking about location in general, choose a spot that isn’t too windy or in too public of a place, has enough space for all your guests to fit comfortably, and somewhere that feels like “YOU” as a couple.
During the Ceremony itself, look at each other not the officiant
I get it, it’s intimidating standing up there in front of everyone. Your natural instinct will be to look in the opposite direction of all your friends and family, which just so happens to be where the officiant is standing. It’s also natural to look in the direction of the person who’s talking. I’m telling you right now DON’T DO THIS! If you’re looking at your officiant, we can’t see your beautiful face! Also, those who look at their officiant tend to have more of a bored/zoned out look on their face. Instead, look into your soon-to-be husband/wife’s eyes. Gaze at each other lovingly the entire ceremony, communicate to each other through your eyes, laugh, smile, cry, soak in every minute of it!
Hold hands right from the start of the Ceremony
I see this scenario so much: the bride’s father just gave her away, she hands off her flowers to her maid of honor, and then suddenly she finds herself standing up in front of all her friends and family, it all hits her, she’s the center of attention and for some reason the guy she’s about to marry is standing 3+ feet away from her and she’s wondering, “WHAT on earth should I do with my hands!?” As the officiant starts talking, she feels more and more awkward just standing up there like an island.
Don’t let this be you. As soon as you hand off your flowers to your maid of honor, grab your almost-hubby’s hands and you’ll feel instantly better!
Write your own Ceremony script
The easiest way to remind you to look at each other, smile and hold hands throughout your ceremony is to build it into the ceremony script. Have the officiant slide in little cues like, “take each others hands” or “look at each other and..” Another one I like as a photographer is, “look out to all your guests and soak in this moment”.
Other ways to get smiles and genuine reactions: have your officiant tell a funny or sweet story about the two of you, exchange your own written vows, and/or have fun with your ceremony and make it your own!
Last but not least, the easiest and best way to love your ceremony photos? SMILE during your ceremony! I mean cry too if that’s you. But what I really mean is try not to just stare blankly into space as your officiant conducts your ceremony.
April 22, 2020