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  • Writer's pictureleyrephotography


Updated: Aug 24, 2023

newly weds kissing

THE LIGHTING! Ceremony lighting is really important. If you get married outdoors at 12pm, the lighting will be extremely harsh and not only will there be harsh lines of light on your faces, you will also be squinting. I suggest planning an outdoor ceremony 2 hours before sunset if you are NOT having a FIRST LOOK. If you are interested in sharing a first look, then I would suggest having your ceremony 1.5 hours before sunset to ensure that you will have plenty of time for all of your portraits afterwards. The lower the sun, the more romantic the lighting. If you are having an indoor ceremony, it is always best to have EVEN lighting at the altar. If there are two spotlights on the bride and groom, I will not be able to expose the rest of the bridal party. It is better to have soft, even light across the whole altar.

THE ORDER OF SERVICE! I have seen so many couples do so many AMAZING things during their ceremony. I’ve photographed couples washing each other’s feet, symbolizing that they want to serve each other for the rest of their lives. Some couples share in communion while some light a unity candle. I’ve seen sand ceremonies, rope ceremonies and the signing of the family Bible. The options are limit- less!! As you plan your ceremony, make sure you design it to be exactly what the two of you envision it to be. This is your day!! If you have the freedom to be creative, then by all means, be creative!! Josh and I had more of a traditional wedding. We had our brother in law officiate the service and our pastor do the unity. My father made me a custom rope unity with a cross. It is so special to us!

YOUR PROGRAMS & DETAILS! The BEST advice I have for the program-making process is to remember that not EVERY guest needs a program! We have seen brides print a program for everyone attending their wedding but quickly realized that most families only took one. They would end up with over 200 extra programs! Oof! Also, before ordering your programs, have SEVERAL people check it for spelling and grammatical errors. Programs and the ceremony decor are things that the bride can plan in advance but then delegate the actual job of setting it up to a friend or coordinator. The last thing a bride needs to be doing the morning of her wedding is running around setting up floral arrangements! This leads me into my next column!

YOUR COORDINATION! Hiring either a full event planner or just a day of coordinator is SO important! Brides realize very quickly that if they do not have someone in charge of the coordination of the day, that responsibility will automatically fall on the mother of the bride, the photographer or the BRIDE herself! When a photographer is in charge of the timeline and the coordination of the day, the images will suffer. All of my stressful wedding situations were caused by a lack of organization and coordination. It’s so important to make this a priority. If you need any recommendations on wedding coordination services I would love to share some of my favorite vendors with you!

AND DESTINATION WEDDINGS! If you are planning a destination wedding, your details, your timeline and even your preparation for the big day will be much simpler than a regular wedding. However, it is a good idea to start thinking about a few key components of the day such as: your ceremony time and your ceremony/portrait locations (some destination weddings require some planning to find portrait locations without tourists in the background). Be sure to check the sunset time at your wedding location before settling on your ceremony time. As your wedding day draws closer, we’ll begin to chat about the timeline of the day and the travel arrangements. Start getting excited! This is going to be amazing!

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