Chapter 9: Documenting the Ceremony


The ceremony is not only the pinnacle of the entire wedding day, but it is also the pinnacle of the months of preparation and planning it took to put together all the little details leading up to this one moment. And yet, when the ceremony actually happens, it seems to go by so fast that I often find myself standing there thinking, “Is that it? Is that all of it?” As a photographer, you may very well be the only one in the audience wishing it would last longer. Thankfully, in the United States, most weddings follow a predictable sequence of events. Granted, various religions have a few specific traditions, but for the most part, an experienced wedding photographer can easily manage to be standing in exactly the right spot at exactly the right time to catch the most important events. The predictability of the event is a blessing that enables an experienced photographer to walk slowly from one key spot to the next, just in time to be ready for each of the big events in the story. In this chapter I share some of the insight and the thought process that goes into choreographing every movement a professional photographer makes during those fleeting moments of the wedding ceremony.

Must-Have Shots

Most photographers have a list of shots that are considered the “must-have” shots of the ceremony. My “Top 10” list of the main events is as follows:

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