Has This Happened To You?
You're in your friends wedding. You've been together all day doing hair, makeup, steaming dresses, drinking mimosas, taking selfies... You're finally all dressed and ready for the Ceremony. You laugh, you cry, you drink and...you hopefully remember all of the best parts of the day before 😅
You go back to normal life and then one day... PING! You get a text from your friend and she's sharing her wedding gallery with you!! She's thrilled...truly over the moon about her gallery and she loves everything about it! But then you look and who do you (naturally) look at? You. You notice that your arms looked weird walking down the aisle with the bouquet, you kept your head down when you were walking because you were trying not to trip, or your face was just doing that "thing" that it does and while you're having a great time, your face didn't get the memo.
WE'VE. ALL. BEEN. THERE.
Jenn *Enters* 😁
I've been there, boy, have I been there! I've been the victim of "no directions given" and then hated the way I looked in wedding photos but I couldn't say anything because it wasn't my wedding and the day wasn't about me! Right? Well while I'm 100% there for my couple and celebrating them on their day, I see their Wedding Parties as their families, whether blood or chosen. These are the people that mean the most to you and who you wanted to surround you on your big day. So why wouldn't I give your loved ones some posing advice / direction to help them look and feel their best to?! Everyone that you invite to join you on your wedding is important to me because they're important to you!
Remember These 12 Tips For Getting The BEST Ceremony Photos
1. If holding bouquets, hold them at your belly button and then tilt them outward from your body
Usually florists design bouquet with the flower aren't meant to be seen so holding them this way shows off the beautiful bouquet! If you happen to have long arms, hold your bouquet a little lower. The goal is to have your arms gently and comfortably rest against your body with your shoulder blades back. Think tucking your shoulder blades into your back pockets! This elongates the neck and improves posture. Trust me!
2. If walking down the aisle with partners, hold on to your partner's bicep
Do not slip your hand through their arm and "crank" your wrist. It makes you look like a pterodactyl with a broken wrist and most people ultimately make a fist which is not a wedding vibe. Holding on to your partner's bicep is better for couples matched up with a height difference, it allows you to pull your partner back if they're walking too quickly, and your hand looks much more natural.
3. Walking Down the Aisle: If you cannot look up while walking, you're walking too fast
Walk slowly down the aisle during the processional! I'll be up in the front taking pics of y'all walking down and if you run down the aisle, I won't get the shot of your beautiful faces! Little tip to know if you're walking too fast or not, if you cannot look up while walking, you're walking too fast. Take your time, be sure to look up and at the camera, smile, and do this a few times. If you keep your head down with your eyes on the ground, I won't see your face and what I do see will no doubt be a pretty strong "concentration" face and that's probably not what you're wanting.
4. When the Bride / Person wearing a dress gets to the front, here's what you do
Maid/Person of Honor, hand off your bouquet to the person behind you, fluff/adjust the Bride's dress, take the bride's bouquet, then take your bouquet back. Hold both bouquets for the duration of the ceremony. Better start working out now because bouquets can be heavy!
5. Wedding Party: When standing during the ceremony, keep your eyes on the couple
If your eyes wander during the ceremony, it will be very distracting for the guests and their gaze will follow your gaze. So do your best to stay focused on The Couple! Also, it looks terrible when everyone else is looking towards the couple and smiling and you're off in some lala land 🙃 I have many photos like this and it totally ruins the moment! Don't be that person!
6. The Couple: Hold hands during your ceremony + look at each other too!
When couples don't hold hands, they tend to stand far apart from each other and that loses intimacy in images. So hold hands or lock pinkies so you'll be standing relatively close! And be sure to look at each other. It can be very nerve-wracking when you're up in front of all of your guests with so many eyes on you! Absolutely feel free to look at your officiant and your guests but also remember to look at your partner throughout your ceremony. I've had weddings where the couples got so nervous and don't look at each other AT ALL and so only like 5 of their ceremony photos have them looking at each other and it's weird. It's a thing I shouldn't have to say but when I don't say it, I regret it 😅
7. When putting rings on your partner's finger, hold the ring on the sides so I can see the top of the ring!
You bought that ring because you liked it, so lemme see it! Put the ring halfway on your partner's finger and then say all the words. This gives me / your photographer the opportunity to get the shot of you putting the ring on your partner's finger. When couple's don't do this, they end up slipping the ring on super quickly and I don't have a chance to get the shot. Take your time!!
8. Please make sure your officiant(s) will be moving out of the way before your first kiss
If they don't, feel free to wait until they do move unless you want their creepy smiling face between you two during this very special moment 😂
9. For the KISS! Kiss for 3 seconds. I'm talking 3-Mississippis!
You don't need to get all crazy with tongue (however, you absolutely can 😉). Kissing for 3-Mississippis gives me and my team ample time to get the shot and gets your guests even more excited to cheer you on! If you're not big on PDA and a 3-Mississippi kiss sounds like an eternity, then opt for 2-3 little kisses that last at least a solid second or two.
10. When you're about to walk down the aisle officially for the first time as Married...
Bride, grab your bouquet from your Maid/Person of Honor and then slowly walk down the aisle together towards me, and be super excited! You just got married! Then, halfway down, I'll signal you to stop and kiss. This is going to be a dramatic kiss in the middle of the aisle with all of your friends and family cheering around you! It's super cute. You can dead-arm the bouquet, put your hands all over your partner, make it dramatic! Then continue down the rest of the aisle into the appointed "away" spot so you're hidden from your guests and they can be dismissed to cocktail hour while we prep for post-ceremony portraits.
P.S. If you forget your bouquet, it's not the end of the world 🤷♀️
11. Maid/Person of Honor + Best Man/Person - DO NOT prepare to walk down the aisle at the end of the ceremony until The Couple have fully exited the aisle!
You do not want to be in the background of their photos during this time. You do not want to be the creepy smiling faces behind their dramatic aisle kiss. You do not want to bombard the newlyweds by walking down the aisle too soon. So just wait until they've fully exited the aisle!
12. Whatever you do, DO NOT talk to / greet anyone right after your ceremony!
All of your guests are going to be super pumped to see you (obviously) but if you have Portraits schedules for after your Ceremony, this is going to hold things up and mess with the timeline! My goal as your photographer is to help you celebrate your day, your way. If you want to enjoy Cocktail Hour and spend time with your guests, I can make that happen! I do my absolute best to process through Family Portraits as efficiently as possible so nobody is uncomfortable, standing for too long, getting cold, or being kept from the snacks and drinks! My goal is to get through our shot list ASAP so we can get you both to your reception where you can party with all of your guests and give hugs there!
Every Photographer Is Different
That's one of the most beautiful things about this industry is that there's no one set way to do things. Personally, these are steps I tell each of my couples and their Wedding Parties to make sure we're all on the same page and everyone can look their best! Other photographers might do things differently, so if you didn't hire me, definitely check in with your photographer and hear what their process is and how they do things! But guaranteed, if you follow these 12 tips, you're going to love the way your photos turn out!!
List of Vendors
- Couple: Patrawat + Nick
- Coordinator: Sarah Elizabeth Events
- Venue: Hollins House
- Photography: JeLau Photography
- MUAH: Blush Monterey, Artists Evelyn + Angie
- Dress: Elizabeth Lee
- Bride’s Ring: Jared The Galleria of Jewelry
- Suit: Franco Uomo
- Shoes: Franco Uomo, DSW
- Florals: Sweeleys Design Shop
- DJ / Live Musician: DJ Jeffty
- Cake: In The Mix
- Secondary: Gypsy Tales Photography
- Assistant: Leslie Leach