February 20, 2024

8 Wedding Ceremony Tips for Stunning Photos

Planning a wedding involves meticulous attention to detail, and one crucial aspect is the timing and execution of the wedding ceremony. Below, I’ll delve into 8 essential wedding ceremony tips to ensure yours results in stunning and memorable photos. From ideal lighting considerations to unique ceremony enhancements, I’ve got you covered.

1. Optimal Lighting Schedule

Capturing the perfect wedding photos begins with understanding the importance of lighting. Follow these guidelines for best results:

a. Ceremony under 30 minutes with a 1st look:
Schedule the ceremony to begin 90 minutes before sunset for beautiful lighting and a seamless transition to the reception.

b. Ceremony under 30 minutes without a 1st look:
Plan the ceremony start time 2 hours before sunset to ensure ample light for portraits during cocktail hour. This ensures you’ll still have natural light for the remainder of your couple and group portraits.

c. Ceremony longer than 30 minutes:
Take the suggested start times above and set your ceremony even earlier based on your ceremony duration.

Bride and groom in front of Pergola wrapped in greenery with blush flowers on the side columns and hanging blush and ivory flowers in the centerRancho Bernardo Inn Aragon lawn wedding ceremony. Film photo by Cavin Elizabeth Photography

2. Venue Lighting Considerations

Don’t overlook the impact of how elements at the vow area can impact the lighting for your photos. Do a site visit to check the lighting at your venue at the same time your ceremony would start.

If shadows are cast all over the vow area due to trees or buildings, consider changing the ceremony start time by 20-30 minutes. You don’t want speckled lighting if you can avoid it. It’s better to have a time that is totally in the sun with no speckled shadows or to be in complete shadow.

3. Intimate First Kiss Photos

Ensure your first kiss is captured flawlessly by implementing this simple tip – Ask your officiant to step aside during the first kiss for a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing photo. You’ll avoid having their head sticking out of your bodies or even their face in the center of your necks during the kiss.

Bride and groom first kiss in front of a Pergola wrapped in greenery with blush flowers on the side columns and hanging blush and ivory flowers in the center. Rancho Bernardo Inn Aragon lawn wedding ceremony. Film photo by Cavin Elizabeth Photography

4. Unplugged Ceremony

Avoid distractions and ensure an intimate atmosphere by going unplugged. Guests holding phones or iPads in the air or aisle can be a real eyesore in your professional photos. Don’t only rely on signage to convey this request but also have the officiant make an announcement against phone usage during the ceremony.

5. Face Each Other

Enhance audience engagement and capture heartfelt moments by adopting this ceremony stance of facing each other as much as possible. If culturally appropriate, face each other during the ceremony instead of having your back to the audience.

Santaluz Club Golf course wedding ceremony with a view, Cavin Elizabeth Photography

6. Savor the Kiss

Give your photographer the opportunity to capture the perfect kiss. Hold your kiss for at least a few seconds to ensure it is beautifully captured, avoiding any chance of missing the moment. If your kiss lasts only half a second, there’s a slight chance the moment could be missed. Additionally, I highly recommend kissing again after you’ve walked hand in hand to the end of the aisle. Those photos are my favorite!

Bride and groom kissing at the end of the aisle. holding a pink bouquet. Large tree with hanging floral arrangements and pink peonies and pampas grass spiraling up the trunk. Miramonte Resort ceremony on Miramonte Green. Film photography by Cavin Elizabeth.

7. Budget-Friendly Reuse

Maximize your budget by repurposing ceremony elements for the reception. Consider reusing chairs and flowers from the ceremony for an upgraded look without breaking the bank.

Involve Guests in the Celebration

Give guests at the edges of the aisle petals to toss during that kiss at the end of your recessional for a truly beautiful photo. You can have your planner or florist place cones of petals on the outer chairs or even bubble wands on each chair in anticipation of this moment.

Petal toss. Netta Benshabu strapless sweetheart dress. Santa Monica wedding ceremony. Large asymmetrical arch with greenery, pink peonies, peach roses, and white roses. Bloombox Designs. Cavin Elizabeth Photography