Today I’m here to talk about ceremonies!
Every couple is different and some have different religious backgrounds to eachother or are not even not religious at all, some love to get married at the beach, in a forest, parents back garden, a pub, a mosque, a synagogue or in a church (to name a few), and some love to keep it simple and marry in a registry office. Either way, I’m here to tell you that just about every single person who is marrying you will have rules for a photographer.
Now don’t get me wrong, you will probably not even be aware of a lot of what is going on on the day and won’t need to worry too much, however, you may be standing there thinking where is my photographer? Why isn’t she at the front? Why is she standing there watching and not taking photos? It’s usually because I’ve been told to. To avoid issues like this we all work together so that everyone knows the deal.
When I meet whomever is marrying you the first thing I do is ask for rules. I also ask this in our consultations so that you can speak with them too. It is unfortunate that religious ceremonies are a little more strict with photos but we (guests/vendors/photographers) all have a duty of care to respect the Place of Worship.
Let’s go through of the major things to be aware of during your ceremony.
“Be Discreet and don’t move”.
Yep, that is a very common rule for photographers. So how do I work with this?
- I’ll always ask if I can be central when they walk up the aisle and It’s always a yes (so far).
- If there is room to move to the back of the venue via the sides whilst not disrupting the service, I’ll ask if I can move that way. They almost always say yes, but some are pretty firm on me not moving at all.
- Some will be so strict that they will not allow you at the front at all and you must photograph from the back. I’ll always do my very best by being a little sneaky and coming a little up the aisle to get a few facial expressions.
“No photographing the signing of the wedding certificate.”
- This is a legal document and so it is illegal to photograph it. Photographers are always told not to take photos during this time.
- Instead, I will snap away photos of your guests.
- After you’ve signed it they’ll pull out a fake certificate for a photo and I’m totally down with this if it is what you want but usually it is really a time for your guests to get their phones out to take their photos.
“No photos during the ceremony”
- Always speak to the person marrying you in advance and ask for their rules, this could play a major part in your decision making.
- I don’t think I’ve been to a ceremony where flash is allowed and I’m completely fine with that. It’s pretty unnatural and I like the photos to be as real as possible! So just accept that if your venue is very dark then your images may come out a little grainy, but it all adds to the vibe of the wedding, right?
- This may be the only thing I am truly on-board with. It’s a bigger conversation for another day but please keep in mind that phones during ceremonies are incredibly distracting. Imagine walking down the aisle and not being able to see your other half because your Auntie is stood in front of your beau with her iPad? Or six rows of guests along the aisle have their hands stuck out in front of you trying to get the perfect photo. I’ll tell you who takes a good photo of this moment? Me.
If you’re against phones too then a few tips to help avoid it:
- Ask whomever is marrying you to mention it before the ceremony starts and before you proceed back down the aisle after the ceremony, this is the first shot of you both married and I can’t tell you how many times this has been ruined by peoples phones.
- Tell everyone they can still use their phones, but not during you walking in or out of the ceremony.
- Post it to your social media beforehand or include it in your invites.
- If you want to be discreet then tell your nearest and dearest and get them to spread the word.
- Keep in mind that phones throughout the rest of the day are totally fine. But when you’re in a confined space and lots of things are happening, phones can really ruin those one capture shots.
- They might say no confetti, but ask if you can use biodegradable, about 90% of venues allow this.
- You can buy biodegradable confetti off of Amazon by the kilo. Buy bags and bags of it, in different colors.
- Borrow a basket from someone and give it to your wedding party to hand out at the end of the ceremony. It’s the cheapest and easiest way to do confetti.
- No confetti? Fine. What about bubbles? Yep, you’d be surprised by how cute bubbles can look.
- But let’s not skip to that quite yet, how about we do a confetti shot at your reception? Or even at night and have a sparkler shot instead? There’s always ways around it!
Those are a few of the major things to expect from a ceremony.
Which brings me to my last rule, the most important, and the one I respect above all others…Your Rules!
I always ask you what YOU want. If you tell me you want me at the back, you don’t want photos during songs, readings or vows, you want flash, you don’t want flash, whatever it is, I am hear to provide you a service and so I’ll get on-board with your rules, first and foremost.
If you decide you aren’t happy with the registrars rules or the person marrying you then this is good that you’re reading this, now you can have a chat and explain what it is what you’d like and maybe find some balance.
Most of these rules are in place to protect the couple getting married, and I imagine coupled with some bad history of photographers being intrusive and disrespectful, and so it is understandable and we can always attempt to find a happy medium.
And that concludes today’s wedding tip. Thank you for reading, and please do comment any ideas you have that you’d like to know more about and I’ll get right on it!