Photos courtesy of Jules @ Italian Wedding Photographer
As a professional photographer I am naturally concerned with photographing your entire day including the ceremony. Appearance is fundamental to the successful result and the person who presides over the proceedings should be presentable and respectfully dressed for the occasion. Ideally they will be able to manage an audience and those unpredictable things that can happen as a result of weather, behaviour or logistics.
It is important for me to have sufficient space and access to move around freely whilst being unobtrusive during your ceremony. A Celebrant who can sense when it is time to move out of shot is a rare thing. There are some moments which are difficult to capture on a second take with the same atmosphere, such as reading of your vows, exchanging of rings and lighting of Unity Candles… and of course your first kiss as a newly married couple and subsequent happy stroll down the aisle together hand in hand.
Unfortunately some Celebrants are immovable during these key moments and resent being asked to step out of frame. There is also nothing more frustrating than to have others in shot when I wish to concentrate entirely on couples during unforgettable moments. A sensitive Celebrant will understand that your photos are paramount and will do their best to help me ensure that I capture the many individual moments that create the core focus of your day.
Ceremonies are opportunities to express yourselves freely and a Celebrant who helps your feelings to run free is important in creating and enhancing the ceremonial mood.
Smiles and tears are an essential ingredient of a wedding and nowhere more so than during those minutes you are standing before your guests. Feeling moved because of a touching word or memory that is cleverly evoked by a personalised ceremony means that I can effectively record your expressions.. and the feelings you experienced will come racing back when you look back over the images in later years.
The duration of your ceremony should be around 30-40 minutes, which is enough time to include music, poetry, vows and rings.. all photo opportunities, which will make you feel incredibly special throughout, as all are dedicated to you. It’s an obvious point but the way these are handled and the voice and demeanour of your Celebrant makes a huge difference to your responses and how your audience will interact.
I will always remember a wedding ceremony held on a famous panoramic terrace that concluded only five minutes before it began, with a curtly expressed ‘That’s it!’ Needless to say the couple and guests were left open mouthed in horror and disbelief.. You can imagine how disappointing the images were of the few that I managed to take!
I have said before that the most important vendors you will hire are your photographer, hair and make-up artist/s. In addition I would also recommend researching your Celebrant very carefully and as I prefer to do, invite them to talk to you virtually or in person before you make the commitment. There are a few who know what they are doing and many who clearly don’t.
The set up and time of day are crucial to the overall effect. These features combined are the stage on which the ceremony will be held. Therefore beautifully arranged fresh flowers, tasteful decoration and also clothes worn by all are key. It only takes one factor to be incongruous and spoil an overall impression.
If a picturesque garden, olive grove, historic castle or villa grounds are your choice then remember that Italy can be scorching during the summer. It is virtually impossible to feel relaxed and look glamorous if you have been roasting under an unforgiving sun for half an hour during an outdoor ceremony.
Be cool and choose a time which will enhance your appearance and not discredit it. After all red faces and beads of perspiration are unattractive, as are objects that should never be in shot such as plastic bags, bottles and other non wedding paraphernalia.
As a final note about the appearance of your ceremony, do not be shy about insisting upon a dress code and to remind guests of wedding etiquette to ensure they don’t intercede too much with social media devices. This is the number one pet peeve of most photographers at the moment. Quite simply phones and i pads in the aisle are a real nuisance.
Successful wedding ceremony photos are all about the emotional texture and of course the intricate and pretty details that create the desired look. The person in charge of the actual ceremony should ideally have a handle on all aspects of their role too and as a photographer it is very gratifying when they do.