Continuing with my guides on the wedding day timeline and how I go about wedding photography during the day, as soon as I have photographed the bride and bridesmaids getting ready and the bridal portraits, I head off to the church. I can never tell you what time that will be as it varies at every wedding but ideally I’m there at the church 15 minutes before the ceremony is due to begin, as I like to capture the groom and his groomsmen (provided I haven’t already in the morning) and also the groom with his family. That is not always possible due to time constraints (usually when make-up runs late, it pushes everything out from there!) so if I do not get the grooms family then, I will capture them later in the day.
For your ceremony, give at least one full hour for it. And during the ceremony, I’m shooting it as unobtrusively as possible, staying out of the way, but capturing everything also. The ceremony is photographed 100% in documentary style! From the moment the bride is waiting outside the church until the moment she walks out after with her husband, I am photographing as it happens, from the sides, completely in the background. I try not to move around too much, as this is when you are getting married so as much as I have to capture everything, I still want to stay as invisible as possible, especially if it’s in a church with a priest.
FYI: most priest’s tend to be fine with photographers these days, they understand most of us work in a quiet manner, in the background. But there are a few that are tricky and still do not care about what we have to capture, so on occasion I will be limited in what I can shoot, but even working under these conditions, I always capture the essence of the ceremony.
Just before the bride & girls walk up the aisle, as someone who has photographed over 500 weddings, I just usually say take your time, enjoy every second and as much as possible try to take it all in – it’s great for me as a photographer, it’s great for your videographer, and it’s great to see your guests as you walk up the aisle, and especially when you see your fiance as he/she waits at the top of the aisle! I do not say to the groom whether or not to look at the bride walking up the aisle, that certainly is not my place, although I absolutely did when my own wife walked up the aisle! One thing I try to say to couples beforehand is don’t be afraid to chat to each other during parts of the ceremony, as it means myself & your videographer can capture real genuine moments. Again most priests don’t mind this at all and it definitely helps relax both of you.
Everything else that I capture during the ceremony is again shot in a documentary style, so I’m just always looking for those little moments…the groom looking at his bride, those funny moments from the kids in amongst the guests, and nice moments of guests in the congregation too! Every wedding ceremony is different with different people so what I capture is of course different too, but I always get the bases covered including the readers, special moments, vows.
Following on from the official vows and signing the official paperwork, it’s that time when the bride & groom walk down the aisle as husband & wife! Again just before this, I usually tell the couple to take their time, enjoy every second, and enjoy all the well wishes as they walk down the aisle. How this goes always varies as some couples do take their time, while others fly down that aisle! I just have to be ready for every eventuality!!