You no doubt have spent many months planning your perfect wedding day, from the stamps on the wedding invitations down to the perfect dress. And while every moment may be perfect in your head, it takes some preparation and planning to get it all down in reality. We’ve all seen the iconic walks down the aisle in the movies, but how do you achieve that same wow-factor for your wedding ceremony? With our helpful tips, of course.

Plan Everything Out

To achieve perfect ceremony pictures, you need to consider the venue, lighting, and time of day. To be truly prepared, it is incredibly helpful to visit your ceremony location one year before your selected date to get a feel for what it will be like on your wedding day. It’s also the time to consider any elements you don’t want caught on camera at your ceremony, like any exit signs or other signage that can be temporarily removed.

Timing, Timing, Timing

You know how location is everything for your wedding ceremony and reception? Well, timing is everything for the pictures. Mother nature is constantly changing and even a difference of 15 minutes can create wow-worthy sunsets when just a bit ago the sun was glaring in your eyes. And it still applies if you’re in an indoor venue because the light can either be too low or too bright depending on the time of day. Do you want sunset pictures after the ceremony? Make sure you consider these types of details to ensure that the start and end times of your ceremony allow for those opportunities.

Step Into the Light

Yes, we mean that figuratively, and for your ceremony pictures, you’ll want to take some time to think about the lighting. If you’re having an indoor ceremony, see if there will be natural light illuminating you and your partner up at the alter as opposed to having to use artificial light which can cast a certain tone and weird shadows. This will be something the photographer will want to know about so they can be prepared.

Practice Makes Perfect

When you’re at the rehearsal with your bridal party and officiant, be sure to invite the photographer and practice the position you will all be in during the ceremony so the photographer can plan where they will need to stand to get the best shots, without being in the way of any guests.

Take Care of Any Eyesores

Also, while you’re at the rehearsal, but preferably before this time, you will want to take a good look around your ceremony venue to locate any eyesores you know you won’t want in the pictures with you. Eyesores may include any sound equipment from the microphones being used, as well as any equipment from the videographer if you’re having one at the ceremony. It may be possible to hide these in a more discreet position without affecting the sound quality and ensuring your pictures aren’t ruined by any ugly details. Besides the equipment itself, sound pieces and other technicalities can cast odd shadows on those using them so see if the officiant can wear a mic instead of holding a microphone.

Get Rid of Bulk

When we say bulk we mean to get rid of any accessories in and under clothing that can cause unflattering bulges and angles. Ask your bridal party and immediate family who will be in plenty of pictures to keep phones, wallets, sunglasses, and flasks out of their pockets and somewhere else safe.

Demand Attention

Professional photographers suggest asking the officiant to announce at the ceremony for everyone to put away (and turn off) their phones for the duration of the ceremony. Photographers explain that when everyone is sitting gazing at the couple with their full attention, you can truly see the emotion in their faces, rather than capturing images of guests looking through their phones and cameras.

Don’t Stress About Emotions

It is perfectly okay to get emotional on your wedding day. The ceremony is a beautiful experience and it will make for the most heartfelt pictures if you are captured in your true emotions, including tears. And if you find yourself breaking into a gigantic smile or in a quirky face, don’t hold back. The best pictures are when you are being yourself.

Remember the Audience

You will no doubt be gazing in your partner’s eyes during the ceremony, especially during the exchange of the vows, but it also makes for super sweet photos when you remember to glance at your guests every once in a while during the ceremony so the photographer can capture your face. And if the photographer happens to catch you locking eyes with a special audience member, like your mom or dad, it will make for a special, emotional shot you will always treasure.

You May Kiss the Bride

When the ceremony is coming to a close, ask your officiant to step slightly to the side right before he announces your first kiss as husband and wife so the photographer can get a great shot of just the two of you in that moment.

Take Your Time

Everyone is clapping as you make your way down the aisle as the new Mr. and Mrs., but it’s important to remember not to rush this part even though you’ll be excited. You’ll be so happy, and chances are you’ll have the greatest look on your face and your photographer wants to capture it.

Follow these photography tips when planning out the details of your ceremony and you’ll end up with the wedding pictures of your dreams that you will treasure for a lifetime.