The inside scoop on your wedding ceremony and reception from a wedding photographer
Updated: Nov 18
The wedding ceremony: This is it! The moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s easy to get lost in all the planning and stress, all the bells and whistles. But try to keep in mind the most important thing - which is the start of your lives together.
You’ll hear me say “lighting” a million times, but here it is again. Keeping lighting in
mind, the best time to start your ceremony (photo-wise) is about 3 hours before the
sunset. The lower the sun is, the better the lighting. The average ceremony is about 30
minutes long, but if you have special traditions that you want to incorporate, I’d allow
an hour for the whole thing.
One important tip that I have is asking your officiant to move out of the way before the
first kiss - that way they aren’t in the background of the photo.
The Wedding Reception: You did it!! You got married, and now it's time to party!
During the reception I'll take some candids and some group photos, so if there are any friends or extended family members that you need photos with, now's the time! A lot of stuff happens during the reception, and I'll take photos of all of it. You have the freedom to make
your reception your own! Feel free to include traditions you like and get rid of anything that doesn't feel authentic to you. Most of my couples have decided against the garter belt tradition, some brides do. a bouquet toss and that is it. I have even just started seeing brides dedicating their bouquet to their moms instead of a toss, how sweet! If you feel uncomfortable having everyone stare at you for your first dance, invite the wedding party up to dance after a few moments.
Here is a list of the traditional things that happen at a wedding, some people decide to do it all and some decide to do non of it. Remember it is your wedding!
- bridal party entrance
- first dance
- parent dances
- anniversary dance
- bouquet/garter toss
- cake cutting
- grand exit
Lastly, one special thing I always do with my couples and you can certainly ask your photographer to do it as well is a night picture. It can be a night picture or if theres a killer sunset reserve time for that.
I always recommend that my couples schedule 15 minutes during the sunset
for a few more couple’s photos. You’ll get that gorgeous golden light, and
maybe a new location so that you have some variety in your photos. The best
time to start these is about 15 minutes before the sunset time - which you can
find with a quick Google search of your wedding date. However, reception
events tend to run behind, and it’s difficult for the bride and groom to leave
because everyone wants to say hello or to give more hugs, or take photos.
Because of this, I recommend blocking 5-10 minutes for a night portrait. As. Iam packing up for the night I will take my lighting outside, set it all up with my 2nd photographer and then call you outside for a very special photo. I just love night photos, it is normally something that is a wow factor and no one else will have!