For Brides – Tips for Your Wedding Ceremony & Portraits

January 17, 2018

I’m Manali
Coach, editor & brand photographer based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. When I'm not behind a camera or teaching about systems, you'll find me at a vineyard or cuddled with my cat Keegan on our cozy couch!
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Coming back at you with the second part of this mini blog series for tips for a bride during her wedding day! So you’ve made it past the Getting Ready portion of your day! You managed to get your dress on, your mom shed a tear helping you lace up the back, your bridesmaids couldn’t believe how beautiful you looked and maybe you even had an emotional, teary-eyed, and laughing filled First Look with your soon to be husband!!! Now it’s time to get to your ceremony, take pictures with your best friends (!!!) and with your family that means so much to you so you can remember having them surround you and support you as you get married and start a new portion of your life together. So let’s dive right in with all the tips that can make sure that this part of the day goes by smoothly & quickly so you guys can get right on to partying and celebrating it up at your reception!!

CEREMONY  Liz&Luis-BirkbyHouseLeesburgVA-ManaliPhotography-Faves-097

First and foremost, talk to your venue coordinator about any restrictions that your ceremony site has. If they have any restrictions on photography so I can account for it beforehand! Having to stand a certain distance back or not being able to use flash will limit how these pictures will look, so please be aware of this beforehand! I will do my best with any restrictions and the given circumstances. Additionally, if you are including any special traditions within your ceremony, be sure to let me know so I can be ready for them on the day of (if you’re going to be jumping the broom) and be sure to capture details (for example if you’re doing a sand ceremony to capture the sand before & after it’s mixed or the candle you’ll be lighting as a special memorial).

My biggest piece of advice is to cherish the moments during your ceremony and try to soak them all in. Your ceremony will pass by so quickly, you’ll blink your eyes and shed a tear and share a kiss and before you know it, you’re walking back up the aisle!!! I recommend taking your time walking down the aisle both when you’re entering your ceremony and when you’re FINALLY MARRIED (!!!!) because you want to be able to remember this moment for years and years to come 🙂 This will also give me plenty of time to capture both of your expressions as well as those of the people in the audience during your ceremony! I also recommend having someone make an announcement at the beginning or including a sign letting your guests know to stay out of the aisle during the ceremony so they are not in me and my second photographers’ shots or making it difficult for my camera to focus on you and the most important people at your day up at the altar and within the first rows of seats!

Timing: Really up to you, most ceremonies are anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour usually!



Now onto bridal party portraits! If you have a bridal party for your wedding day I will be sure to photograph the girls together, the guys together, and the whole party as one! These are meant to be one of the most fun parts of the day! I always buffer in some extra time throughout the day just in case we have some unexpected things that hold us up. Something that will help this portion of the day go smoothly is to make sure all the bridesmaids and groomsmen have their bouquets and boutonnieres ready to go by the time we get started with these pictures. Have either your maid of honor or your best man take point on this!

One way to make sure we stay on schedule for bridal party portraits is to have someone put the boutonnieres on the guys BEFORE they arrive for portraits and make sure that the girls have their bouquets. During Bridal Party portraits, I will make sure to take some great shots of the guys and girls both separately AND together! If we have enough time, I usually like to get a shot of each bridesmaid with the bride and each groomsmen with the groom as well! I’ll take one simple one and a fun one as well 🙂

Timing: 30 minutes



I like to save all of the family portraits until after the ceremony just to make sure that the entire family is there and that no one will be missing during these! I recommend photographing these portraits outdoors in order to have natural light, especially if the ceremony location is dark! It’s super important to let your family that will be in these photos know the day before and remind them on the day of the wedding that they’ll have to stick around the ceremony space right after so we can get these pictures done! It’s hard to find Uncle Bob once he’s wandered off to cocktail hour and we don’t want to waste precious time on your wedding day trying to track people down!

I use the list you give me in the questionnaire that I send out about 2 months before your wedding day. I have a sample list that I share with all of my brides of combinations that are as follow:

  • B&G with Bride’s Immediate Family (Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Nieces, Nephews)
  • B&G with Bride’s Grandparents
  • B&G with Bride’s Siblings
  • Bride with Siblings
  • B&G with Bride’s Parents
  • Bride with her Parents
  • Bride with Mom, Bride with Dad
  • B&G with both sets of Parents
  • B&G with Groom’s Immediate Family (Parents, Siblings, Grandparents, Nieces, Nephews)
  • B&G with Groom’s Grandparents
  • B&G with Groom’s Siblings
  • Groom with Siblings
  • B&G with Groom’s Parents
  • Groom with his Parents
  • Groom with Mom, Groom with Dad
  • B&G with all family members if time allows

Timing: 30 – 45 minutes

I recommend only adding 3-5 additional combinations if needed. It gets pretty tiring having to take all of these combinations of photos in a row and there is PLENTY of time during the reception to get larger group shots with your aunts & uncles, other relatives, your friends from college, etc. You’re free to grab me at any point during the reception to take these!

This just about does it for this week’s longer form educational blog post for brides! Next week I’ll be covering some great tips for your reception!

Part 1 : Tips for Getting Ready on Your Wedding Day


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