It was a torrential downpour. Not like a mid-day summer Florida storm, more like a tropical storm that somehow escaped radar calculations. Palm trees swayed, the coastline roared and swelled. Not an ideal day to go house shopping. But, we didn’t have a choice.
We toured three beautiful homes in the sweet coastal town of Ormond Beach. We needed to decide on a house today. For many reasons, we were on a tight timeline.
We weighed pros and cons over lunch at a little Mexican restaurant. Because every big decision needs a little queso.
“But, where will the band practice?” he asks seriously. I stare back, blinking, mid chip-dip. “What band?” I ask genuinely confused. “You know, the band.” he says with emphasis.
He went on to tell me his dream of all of our children learning instruments and creating a band someday. “They need a place to practice.” My heart melted. He’s always loved music and how he wanted to pass that love down to our growing family.
The house? Well, we chose the house with “the music room”.
Needless to say, ceremony music was important to my musically-inclined Ben. We have crazy talented friends who generously arranged and played the most beautiful live music for our ceremony. Piano, strings, trumpet, and gorgeous vocals all created a special kind of magic.
Ben's main request was, "No Canon in D". He felt it was too cliché. Instead, my bridesmaids and I came down the aisle to "Say You'll Love Me" from Phantom of the Opera. Ahhh, you guys, this is still my favorite ceremony detail.
Let’s chat wedding ceremony. You know, that time of the day where you actually get married. Really, the only part of the day that has to happen to say your wedding day was a success.
For ceremony images that embody the beauty of your day, a little extra planning goes a long way.
Choosing a ceremony location is very personal. Choose from your heart and what best honors your values, heritage, and couple style. Your ceremony location will greatly determine the type of images you receive on your wedding day. But, lighting is of lesser importance than what is most meaningful to both of you.
This type of ceremony is usually very formal and the photographer and cinema team is very limited with equipment use and placement. There may not be as many varying angles and the shots may not be quite as tight as other locations. But, most of the time, these churches are absolutely stunning.
Lighting plays a huge roll with indoor ceremony images. Most churches have side windows which offer enough ambient light. However, if there is no window lighting and harsh overhead lighting, there will be shadows and high contrast in your images. I try to stay away from using flash during a ceremony as it is so distracting.
Below is an image from a recent wedding where the lighting was less than ideal. However, this couple grew up in this church and attended private school at the church academy. Within these walls are memories of their first crush, halls where they got lost in conversation. It is where they grew up and where their love blossomed. This ceremony location takes on far greater meaning than any other perfectly lit aesthetic.
Outdoor ceremonies can be the most beautiful of all. They too, however, can be tricky. Lighting is everything. Consider marrying in a shaded area, your guests will thank you. You can also plan your ceremony at a time of day when the sun will offer soft, beautiful light.
Just before the ceremony begins, I try to talk with your officiant to discuss any rules or regulations for my placement and equipment use. I always do my very best to honor the sacredness of a wedding ceremony while also documenting these pivotal moments.
Special Angles or Shots
If you have a special request, ensure you have the permission of your officiant in order for me to capture the moment. Things like, first kiss captured with guests in the background. If it comes from you, the officiant will know that it’s not just a photographer attempting a fun angle for the portfolio.
An unplugged ceremony is when guests are asked to put away cell phones, iPads, and cameras so they can be present during the ceremony. The hired photographer and cinematographers capture everything.
There are many creative limitations during a ceremony. We strive for stealthy movement, to blend in so that everyone can focus on the most important event – your marriage.
When guests lean into the aisle with a big iPad or their camera flash goes off, we have no way of shooting around that. It compromises the images of your collection.
Most importantly, in an unplugged ceremony the guests focus on the experience, not a screen.
There are a lot of fun ways to ask your guests to "unplug", simply do a Pinterest search and you'll find super cute ideas. Often the officiant will also request this of the guests when he or she arrives with the groom at the front.
Whether it's "Canon in D" or a dramatic score, time to get back to planning that processional.
And when you buy your house, fill it with music. I have a soft spot for that little band playing every night upstairs in our music room.