You may think a photographer would mostly care about how things look but in truth so many would say they really put importance on how things FEEL. It’s because the feels affect the looks. If a person is really “feeling” this correlates to real, emotional photographs that will forever trigger your memories and have the emotions flooding back.
Here are my top ten tips for getting your feels flowing on your wedding day. The day goes so fast you can’t afford to miss a beat.
MY TOP TEN TIPS
– Before the Day –
1. PERSONALISE YOUR READINGS
Find your most creative friends and ask them to create some readings for you. Readings can either be super meaningful and tune you into the significance of binding your lives together OR they can be entertaining and tell more of a story about you two. The first option is to find existing words – but in a non-typical place such as a meaningful novel, spiritual text, poem, hip hop song or children’s book. Then you can read as is or personalise by replacing some words. The most creative option is to get someone to write an actual story or poem about you that enhances the introduction by your celebrant. It can be extra cool if the readings are a surprise to you and contributed by friends or family you would like to play a special role in your day.
2. CHECK SUN ANGLES
Go to your ceremony spot at the same time of day (ideally same time of year or adjust for change in sunset) and see what the sun is doing. If you stand in your position what light is on your face? The ideal is that your faces are shaded from it. That may mean that the sun is behind you or hidden well behind trees or a building. The second best option is having full sun on you, in your faces (meaning the guests have the sun behind them). It may be bright but at least the light is consistent. The least ideal light is coming from the side so one of you is squinting and the other shaded. This makes it hard to get a good photo of you both facing each other. The light to avoid entirely is patchy light where you have leaf shadow or part shade / part sun. This comes looking quite patchy! Hard to get a flattering photo!
Side note: While you are there also take note of which side you are on and if your hair will be styled in a way to suit that side (eg not hanging down in your face).
3. GO UNPLUGGED
Look at the idea of an unplugged ceremony. This is where you kindly ask guests to put their phones away and to instead be present with you. It enhances everyone’s enjoyment, eye contact with you and naturally makes for better photos of people. This is such a special occasion and therefore a wonderful opportunity to encourage people to be IN the moment. You can encourage them by promising copies of professional photos later!
Side note: You can tell people with signage but getting the celebrant to mention it will ensure your request is noted.
– On the day –
4. GO SLOWER THAN FEELS SLOW
Your celebrant will tell you to walk slow but even then I notice that everyone bolts down the aisle so my advice is to walk even slow than feels slow. Be conscious of every step you take. This not only helps me focus my camera on moving bodies but it sets the mood for the ceremony as each bridesmaid builds the anticipation in their steps.
Being slow is a good tip for the entire day. Slow your speech, slow your movements and slow your mind. By slowing our gaze (not darting your eyes around) and breathing deeper we are better able to soak up the moments.
5. MAKE EYES AT EVERYONE
From the moment you arrive, LOOK. That means as you walk down the aisle, make eye contact with your guests and that magic person waiting for you down the end. It seems kind of obvious but fairly often people feel overwhelmed and look at the ground.
This rule applies through out the ceremony. Look deeply into your partner’s eyes and look at your beautiful guests. All the familiar faces in your life that are a part of this occasion.
The other common occurance is the couple looking at the celebrant most of the time. It can be a bit of a ‘safe space’ and you may feel it’s polite. But instead I reckon just hearing the words and feeling them with your partner’s gaze makes more sense and keeps you feeling connected throughout.
Also don’t look at the photographer unless asked or you break the fourth wall! The documentary feel is lost when you look into the lens.
Sight is one of your senses and the more you become aware of them the more IN your body you get.
6. TUNE INTO THE SENSES
By focusing on our senses we feel the moment. We engage in all that makes a moment memorable, we remember how it looked, sounded, smelt, tasted and really FELT. The benefit also is that it brings you into your body and out of your head, helping to reduce anxiety.
Look: at the light, at the smiles and the colours around you.
Listen: to the wind, the music, the words and the birds.
Smell: the fresh air, the perfume, your flowers.
Touch: wiggle your toes, squeeze your hands and the hands of your lover.
Taste: champagne lingering in your mouth, the kiss.
7. MAKE SURE YOUR RING CAN BE SEEN
This is a very practical tip. It’s about the significance of the ring exchange. The handing over of the ring can be more of a ‘thing’. It can be done by anyone, animal or human. Not just the best man. Whoever it is though should be aware of the way in which they hand it over. Ideally in a way that the photographer and the guests can see (not their back to the crowd).
Then when you put on the rings be try angling your hands so it can be seen by guests and photographer as well. It’s nice to show everyone that shiny goodness going on!
8. MAKE THE KISS LAST (OR REPEAT)
Sometimes the kiss is a bit quick and then you hug and maybe you know you didn’t kinda kill it so just go back and have another kiss, go on!
It isn’t “too much” to let a kiss linger… say for about 3 seconds. But people don’t mind it if you go on for longer! Enjoy ending your vows on this note!
9. GET YOUR CONFETTI FACE READY
Don’t overact the thing but be prepared to remain calm in the face of a rose petal attack. Truly, I have so many photos of one gleeful person and the other looking like they are being pelted with eggs. It’s funny but just remember to enjoy the shower! And feel free to high 5 guests on route.
Side note: Make sure your celebrant prompts the guests to “get your confetti ready” as often people forget to throw it!
10. START THE PARTY IMMEDIATELY
There is nothing less ‘party’ than a long line of people waiting to hug you after the awesome walk back down the aisle. It can kill the vibe a bit if you have a dry mouth, an arm breaking from holding your bouquet and saw jaws from smiling at everyone saying how beautiful you look.
What can you bring to your congratulations that will keep the fun going? Helping the line be more of a mingle?
I absolutely love the congratulations photos because I get beautiful moments with you and guests so please don’t skip it, instead enhance you and your guests enjoyment of this part of the celebrations!
There is no time like NOW to get your into the spirit of your party and in the mood for some photos as well whilst you chat with your guests.
CREATIVE CEREMONY INSPIRATION
HOW TO GET THAT PARTY STARTED
- Make sure the tunes are playing. On the ipod or musicans. Choose a killer song to start with.
- Pop the champagne, get the drinks flowing so it’s more of a milling between hugs and the bar. Make sure you are getting a sip!
- Have canapes roaming. People can munch as they wait.
- Any other entertainment you can throw in will set the vibe. For example: a gelato cart, an icecream stand, a glitter station, a llama to pat, dogs on the loose, a surprise brass band, a magician, bar staff on rollerskates (this is genuinely what I want for my own wedding).
DESIGNING YOUR CEREMONY SPACE
The design of your space is about setting the mood of your event and saying ‘This, here, is the ceremony!’ It creates excitement and beauty around your vows as well as literally makes your photos prettier.
The use of an arbour is very popular and is enhanced with florals or fabric. But here are some other ideas…
Side note: It looks best if you stand really central under an arbour. Ask your celebrant to move you if you aren’t.
The best man is the most common person chosen to hold and hand over the rings. It’s worth considering sharing this part of your ceremony with another significant person or making it an entertaining aspect to the day.
The biggest thing I’ve noticed from the exit walk is how many factors there are in making confetti work it’s magic. From the amount, the timing or the type. Here are some tips to give yourself ultimate confetti success.
- Make sure people near aisle actually have plenty of confetti in hand. If not just hand it around during signing.
- Ensure celebrant says ‘get your confetti ready’ so no ones forgets.
- Confetti works best when thrown high and when there is a lot being thrown.
Types of Confetti
Rose petals are beautiful but they do have their downside and you need A LOT to make that stuff effective. Downside is they don’t get much air and often they can block the face and expression cause they are quite chunky.
You can try smaller petals or small dried flowers that will float more and be more subtle over your faces
Trying alternative flora like leaves can be more environmentally friendly and unique in colour scheme. Just see how it floats. And not too chunky.
Or think beyond the flora and go to the food department. Popcorn, Coconut, Rice, Fruitloops… just be wary of colour and a white dress.
What catches the air really well is paper based confetti
Other unique ideas…
Or if you just aren’t allowed or not interested in being decorated in any of these ways.. just dance on out with high fives and an excellent song!!
And there you have it. A massive dose of ceremony inspiration! Feel free to contribute any thoughts / feedback and ideas in the comments.