Probably one of the, if not THE most important part of a wedding is the ceremony, because without it hey, you’re not married! In fact, we’ve been hired several times over the past few years just to capture these memorable moments without the reception. If you look online at the knot or even go the extra mile to purchase a large bride’s guide workbook from Barne’s and Noble (seriously they are like 400 pages), you will likely get a photo list for the ceremony that is huge. We are talking 50+ different photos or ideas about the ceremony. Before you know it, you’re stressing & worried about if every one of these shots will be captured. We are here to calm your worries! (lol). There are plenty of amazing moments to be captured during the wedding ceremony and most professional wedding photographers are going to know exactly what to look for, especially if they work as a team. Each photographer is going to shoot a ceremony with a different style, each couple is going to want something slightly different highlighted during the ceremony, each ceremony site is going to have a different set up with different lighting, some will be outdoor vs indoor, some will have 200+ guests, some will have 20. This is all important too consider for the couple and the photographer when coming up with the key shots for your ceremony as all of these aforementioned things can affect the ceremony and how it is shot. In our 5 years of shooting as a husband and wife wedding photography team, with 50+ weddings this year, we have narrowed it down to these 14 shots as the must haves!
These are probably one of our favorite things about a wedding ceremony. Considering all the variables that can make a wedding unique, these are one of our favorites because you never know what you’re going to catch on camera. Of course it’s easier with two of us covering the ceremony as this allows one of us to focus on a few key moments, while one of us can look for the exciting unexpected moments. Below you’ll see two of our favorites from this past year. In the first one, Megan and Ben were walking down the aisle and Megan out of nowhere high fived one of her close friends! The expression on her face, the symbolic meaning of this little gesture at this exact point in time was just invigorating for anyone who saw it! The photo on the right was when Alison and Beau’s son Carter joined them during the ceremony and she bent down quickly for a sweet hug just before he departed.
Odds are you put at least a little bit of thought and effort into your ceremony layout and décor and if you are a DIY bride, you might have done everything in terms of the way it looks, so no doubt you’ll want to remember some of these little subtle details that helped make the ceremony beautiful!
The Entire Ceremony
This is by far one of the most request shots and definitely one of our favorites! Though sometimes it takes some creative planning depending on the time of day, the shape of the ceremony location, and the room you have to move around, it can usually be done! Josh and Alicia’s wedding at Champion Hills Country Club in Hendersonville, NC (blog cover photo) had an amazing backdrop, the sky was the kind you dream of for your ceremony! Taking the picture of the entire ceremony gives a slightly different perspective that you as a couple don’t always get to see during the rush of the day.
Candid Photos of friends and family
These are sweet and can sometimes really capture the joy of such an occasion. It’s also a good opportunity to sneak a few shots in of people who smile, just not for the camera :)
Guest Reactions to the Bride
You know the moment! You know the music, everybody has their head turned waiting with anticipation to see how beautiful she is and the wedding officiant says “If you would all please rise.”
The Groom approaching the ceremony
This isn’t something often requested but it is something we always look for. Many times the look on a groom’s face before the ceremony is filled with nervous anticipation, but also a sense of excitement and confidence. Below we have a picture of Josh leaving the getting ready area to head to the ceremony. Such a dapper gentleman indeed but we just love his calm and cool expression. This is a great time to capture some candid shots of the groom as the last thing he’s usually thinking about at this point is the camera.
Flower girl & Ring bearer
Though the ceremony is filled with beauty from top to bottom and side to side, nothing will likely be quite as cute as the ring bearer and flower girl! These little cuties always produce a smile and a laugh as they approach the groom eagerly awaiting his bride. These little lighthearted moments are just too good to pass up!
The Bride & Her father walking down the aisle
Though she will always be his little girl, this is one of the last moments they will share before he gives her away. Many times this can be quite an emotional walk on both ends and it’s always something we try make sure to shoot! Below you can see Rachel and her dad as he proudly walks her down the aisle! Such a sweet moment!
The Groom’s Reaction
One of our favorite images from every wedding is usually the groom’s reaction when he sees his bride for the first time (assuming they didn’t do a first look). Sometimes you get a face full of happy tears and sometimes you get the pure awe like below when Bert saw Julie for the first time on their wedding day. His reaction is absolutely priceless and one that I’m sure Julie looks back on that still ‘gets her every time’.
The Bride and Groom together
Probably one of the most popular images to pop in your head if you were to hear the word “wedding.” It’s a standard traditional shot and one that most couples like when looking back on their big day. Also it’s usually the first time you will join hands and look into each others’ eyes which can be a magical moment!
When we shoot a wedding, one of the things we are always scanning for is emotion. Sometimes it’s the bride, but more often than not, it’s the mother or father of the bride or groom. These can be powerful images that really capture the essence of the moment and are always touching to look back on.
The First Kiss
It goes without saying! This is the moment that two become one and you start the rest of your lives together!
Crowd Reaction during kiss
This request has been gaining a lot of traction over the past year and depending on the ceremony site and set up, it can truly be a memorable image to capture for a couple. By far our favorite of this past year was Megan & Matt. This was a shot they requested and we were excited to try it! The only person more excited than Us, Megan, or Matt was Matt’s grandfather who can clearly be seen in the front row with smiling approval, giving applause. Such a cool memory they will have to look back on!
Bride and Groom exiting ceremony
Last but certainly not least, the bride and groom exiting the ceremony! This is often one of our favorite shots as the happiness is in full force and the reality of the day is starting to kick in! Smiles are usually worn upon both faces and the crowd reaction adds to the excitement of the moment! Below, Chris & Lucia were a picture of pure delight moments after they said their I dos and made their way down the aisle to forever!
We can tell you firsthand, that these are definitely the most popular requests! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t communicate your unique ideas. That doesn’t mean you should want all of these. Rather this is a good starting point to help you and your photographer communicate about your expectations for the ceremony and what is most meaningful to you vs overwhelming yourself trying to comprise a list of 50+ shots for a 10 minute ceremony. At the end of the day you will probably get way more photos than this of the ceremony, but you can’t go wrong with these key moments!