Your wedding ceremony is one of the more important and emotional parts of your wedding day. It’s the part of the day you become husband and wife. The build up can be a bit stressful and make you feel a bit nervous as you fear tripping down the aisle in front of everyone. Just remember that all your family and friends are there to support you, and your favourite person in the whole world is waiting at the top of the aisle. You’re not alone.
My aim is to document all the big moments during the ceremony and all the little moments that you might not see in the most natural way possible. Below I have outlined some helpful tips on how to get the most from your ceremony and enjoy every bit of it.
How long does it all last?
This will depend on whether you have chosen a church ceremony or a civil ceremony. A church ceremony usually lasts about 1 hour and a civil ceremony lasts about half an hour.
What time should I arrive?
My advice here would be try to arrive about 5 minutes late (please don’t tell the priest I told you this!). If you arrive too early many of your guests will be still entering the ceremony. You don’t want to be left sitting in the car with all your guests waving at you. Give everyone time to settle in before making your entrance and avoid having to drive around the block a few times.
Consider an outdoor ceremony:
If you have decided to have a civil ceremony during the summer, you really should consider chatting to your venue about some options for having an outdoor ceremony. Outdoor ceremonies are my absolute favourite. You can get really creative with the decor and the natural light is amazing for photos. Outdoor ceremonies always seem to have a much more relaxed and chilled out vibe.
Walk, don’t run:
Try to remember to walk slowly down the aisle. I understand that this is probably the most nervous part of the day for most brides. Let your bridesmaids take the lead and when they are all seated take a deep breath and walk ( Sloooowwwwleey ). Enjoy the moment and take it all in. It is one for the more emotional parts of the day so expect a few tears. Once you get past this bit the rest of the day is a breeze.
Having an unplugged ceremony means that you’re asking all your guest to kindly put away their phones, not to take any photos and just experience the moment with you. If this is what you want you can always ask the priest or celebrant to announce it to your guests before the ceremony.
Lighting of the candles:
Usually during your ceremony you will both be asked up to the altar on two occasions to light three different candles. First you will both light the two smaller outside candles that represent you both as two separate individuals. Later on in the ceremony you will both be asked to light the larger middle candle using the two already light outside candles. This is to represent your new life together. This is a special moment in the ceremony so take your time and enjoy it.
Here is a list of candle suppliers in Ireland you can use:
I know it’s a bit nerve wrecking but when saying your vows try to remember to take your time and to face each other. You also have the option to get a bit personal and write your own vows. Chat to your priest or celebrant before the ceremony for more advice on this. For some help check out this really useful guide from The Knot on how to write your own wedding vows : https://www.theknot.com/content/tips-for-writing-your-own-wedding-vows
The music you have during your ceremony really comes down to personal taste. However, if you are looking for a wedding singer the list I have made below is a great place to start.
Laura Colgan https://www.facebook.com/lauracolganmusic
Sinead Nic Gabhann http://sineadthesinger.ie/index.html
Clare Malone https://www.clairemalone.ie/
Michelle Delmar http://www.michelledelmar.com/Home
Jacinta McIntyre https://www.facebook.com/jacintamcintyreweddingmusic
Enjoy the moment with each other:
I totally understand the nerves a couple go through during their wedding ceremony. I’m married myself and to be honest during my wedding ceremony I was a bit of a mess. Remember you’re allowed to interact and chat with each other. Relax together, hold hands and live in the moment. As a wedding photographer it’s a real privilege to be invited into people’s lives to capture these beautiful moments they will never forget.
Say after me, I must not forget:
Two things not to forget to bring to the ceremony. The wedding rings and the all important green folder. I witnessed a ceremony being delayed for 30 minutes while the father of the bride had to go back to the house for the green folder (true story). Delegate someone from the bridal party or a family member with this job.
If you want, practice kissing before the ceremony:
I don’t have any tips on how to kiss but just try make it last longer then half a second. You can even kiss a few times if you like. The more the merrier.
An exit to remember:
When the ceremony is over you will both hold hands and skip down the aisle to one of your favourite songs as a married couple. Again, take your time and enjoy the moment. As a wedding photographer this is one of my favourite parts of the day as I can capture some amazing natural photos of the both of you. All your guests will be on their feet wishing you well. The pressure is off and it’s time to party!
I always encourage couples to meet and greet their guests after the ceremony. It’s a great opportunity to say hello to everyone and it gives me a chance to get awesome photos of you and your guests. You can check out my blog post about The Importance Of The Meet And Greet. https://aidanbeattyphotography.com/the-importance-of-the-meet-and-greet/
Throw some confetti:
I love the idea of your guests showering you both with confetti as you leave the ceremony. ( Again, don’t tell the priest I told you this ). I would however recommend going biodegradable or using real flower petals. I would seek permission from the venue or church before making my decision just to be on the safe side. If they have no problem then go for it. Your photos will look awesome.
I hope you found this helpful. Wishing you the very best in planning your wedding. For more tips on how to have a stress free wedding morning click here.