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Our advice for a beautiful ceremony begins with your vision.

Your wedding ceremony—the moment everyone’s been waiting for!

Imagine this: the music is playing and the guests have been seated.

The coordinator is lining up the wedding party while giving the DJ, musicians etc a five-minute warning.

You’re about to walk down the aisle and see the love of your life at the alter. You’ve probably dreamed about this moment for a long time.

Vows will be shared and promises will be made—this is what it’s all about!

Getting the most out of your ceremony

As the Officiant, officiating over your ceremony my goal is to make each couple’s wedding ceremony individually unique.

Throughout, I often give tips and guidance to ensure variables of this moment are composed in the manner you want.

Working with your photographer on the ceremony details is as important as the First Look or After Ceremony photo list. Since your wedding ceremony is more of a photojournalistic event (as in, your photographer will be documenting it as it’s happening, rather than giving you direction), to get the best photographs possible (and to just have a beautiful ceremony in general) proper preparation is a must.

Here are a few tips for creating a beautiful ceremony—and getting the best wedding photographs possible.

Capturing the purist joys of this wedding. Everyone is happy

1. Find the right officiant

Finding the right officiant is so important to ensure you have a true-to-you wedding ceremony.

I recommend hiring an officiant you connect with and who has a sense of humor. A few jokes here and there can help you relax and really be present.

An added benefit of this are pictures where you and your guests look happy!

Although everyone may feel over the moon, without a few smiles and laughs here and there it can be hard to convey those emotions in your wedding pictures.

"Picture Perfect Example Above"

2. Great lighting is important

The way your ceremony is lit is one of the most important factors, especially if it’s going to be outdoors. This is our advice for a beautiful ceremony:

As a general rule, the lower the sun is in the sky, the more romantic the lighting.

For example, The "Best" feedback from a professional photographer is ... "If you’re thinking about getting married outside at noon, the light will create harsh lines on your faces, and you’ll also be squinting!" And lets not forget the casting of shadows.

Because of this, I’d try to plan the ceremony later in the day, if possible.

Your Officiant will thank you as well in this manner as it will be easier for the Officiant to read your ceremony without having to fight the light of the suns rays casting those bright glares.

If that doesn’t work with your schedule, talk to your wedding planner (or day-of coordinator) to ensure the area is set up so the sun is behind you during the ceremony.

This is the best way to reduce the harsh lines and prevent you from squinting.

Outdoor ceremony lighting

The best lighting Outdoors

The ideal time to schedule your ceremony is about two hours before sunset if you are in a fully uncovered area for your ceremony.

This gives you plenty of time for a beautiful ceremony—and to still enjoy the soft, romantic sunlight afterward (and possibly grab a few photographs with that gorgeous sunset light!).

We give this advice for a beautiful ceremony.

If you don’t plan on doing a first look, I would recommend having your ceremony three hours before sunset.

If the first time you see each other is during the ceremony, you’ll be taking most of your photographs after the ceremony, so you want to make sure you have plenty of time afterward.


If you’re having an indoor ceremony, the number one tip is to avoid vibrant-colored up lighting because it’ll make your skin look unnatural.

Another thing to think about is If there are only two spotlights (on you and your fiancé) you two will be very bright and everyone else will be dark. 

Even though the focus of the day is on you, it’ll look so much better in your wedding pictures if the lighting is soft and evenly spread out.

Perfection of indoor ceremony lighting

3. Consider an unplugged ceremony? Maybe...

An unplugged wedding is when you kindly ask your guests to put away their phones, iPads, cameras and other devices for the duration of the ceremony. Don't worry, your Officiant has a very tasteful and kind hearted way of announcing this to your beloved guest. Well I do... If I am not your Officiant I would discuss this with your Officiant to make sure you know exactly what their approach is to this.

Your Photographer usually always recommend unplugged ceremonies advice for a beautiful ceremony, for a few reasons:

For one, your guests will be more present during the ceremony, rather than focused on taking pictures. Which I agree with this 100 %. You want everyone to be connected to this moment.

Guests holding their iPhones and sometimes even iPads (it happens more often than you’d think!) can be very distracting.

As an example, imagine it’s your wedding day, and you’re beginning your walk down the aisle. What would you rather see—your guests beaming with happiness as they watch, or a bunch of phones and iPads blocking their faces and this too is all your photographer captures in those perspective shots of your elegant entrance.

Your photos will look better

Distractions aside, your ceremony photographs will look more professional without the clutter of electronic devices in the audience.

Though they mean well, eager guests might not realize the position of your photographer during the ceremony and might accidentally block them from getting the photo during key moments.

But there is a Down Side of it to...

What could possibly be the down side of not having anyone beside your photographer capturing your ceremony? Well the answer to this is... you have no one else's perspective of your ceremony but your photographers. Let's all agree to disagree ... sometimes its your lovingly stalking aunts skills with her phone that capture some of the best moments. But ultimately the main reason I say the down side of the unplugged ceremony is that you have nothing until your hired photographer provides you with their work and this can at times be 30+ days or even more depending on what your contract states. ( Always make this a focus of information dorn your contracting period. ) A couples day goes by so fast and honestly the bride is missing out on every part of the begin because she's not sitting in the crowd or standing up there at the altar having a bullseye view of it all until she has officially positioned at the altar. Most couples' both want to be able to see what this moment looked like as soon as possible and look forward to all the family and friends captured moments. Sometimes this may be the only way to look back at your wedding ceremony in depth because sometimes.. and not always... but sometimes the photographers aren't highly focused on the ceremony. Again, this read is about your wedding ceremony so we want you to have all the details good and bad and how to prepare you for your ceremony planning and capturing it.

How to make it work if you do

If an unplugged ceremony sounds like it’s for you, here’s how to make it work:

  • Tell your guests in advance

Let your guests know ahead of time that you’ll be having an unplugged ceremony with a sign at the entrance or a message on your wedding website.

  • Have your officiant make an announcement

  • Plan a moment in your ceremony for guests to take photos

Being part of your ceremony together

4. Face each other!

One of the easiest changes that has the biggest impact is facing each other during your ceremony.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a ceremony mistake I see way too often.

Talk to your officiant and ask them to make sure you face each other instead of the alter.

Your officiant can switch between having you face each other and face your guests (but never toward the officiant! This is always advice for a beautiful ceremony. You want to make sure your guests can see your lovely faces, and not just the back of your heads).

This also makes for better ceremony pictures, so it’s a win-win.

5. Consider hiring a wedding planner or

day-of coordinator

If you want to enjoy planning your wedding as much as possible, yet you don’t want to get too caught up in the details or overwhelmed with decisions, a wedding planner makes total sense.

Having an expert there to take some of the pressure off of you and be a guide throughout your planning can totally change the vibe of the whole process.

They’ll help you stay organized and work with you to bring your unique wedding vision to life.

Taking pressure off of you

When it comes to the ceremony without at least a day-of coordinator, there’s a really good chance the responsibility of solving any dilemmas will automatically fall on your maid of honor, your mom, the officiant or you because this is ultimately the beginning of your wedding day and all the plans need to go as planned. Our advice for a beautiful ceremony, don't leave the orchestration of your wedding ceremony and party on yourself, your photographer, family or your Officiant the day of.

When yourself or those others listed above are left in charge of all of the coordination, it tends to pull us away from our main focus of the beginning of your wedding ceremony.

Many of the most stressful wedding situations I’ve seen could have been avoided if there was a wedding planner or day-of coordinator present.

It’s your day and you deserve the space to be able to focus on your special love and commitment to each other, rather than worrying about details of the day! And this goes the same for your hired professionals. Your DJ, photographer, officiant are there to perform their best at their titles. Leave the coordination to your professional coordinator.

Now you may be asking, but isn't that part of the officiant detail. Well actually Yes & No. Your rehearsal if one is scheduled, is not about your ceremony readings (the officiants sole purpose.) It is about your family, wedding party and the Bride & Groom and their duties of entrance and position. Yes this is a detail that should be planned with your Officiant.

This should be part of the planning process dorn in which your Officiant is working with you prior to your wedding day to help you along with creating your wedding day processional and recessional. I work with my couples to give them guidance in this direction because no, not everyone knows the traditional duties and positioning. So it is important to find the right Officiant who will guide you through this process and prepare you and everyone involved in your ceremony procession and recession before the rehearsal. You are better prepared over all if this isn't left as a "Last Minute, Cram It Into A One-Hour Period, The Day Before The Wedding" thing. Can you say PRESSURE! Who honestly remembers it all.

So having this incorporated into your planning period is essential with your Officiant. On top of the proper way of preparing your family, wedding party and yourselves for this, it is also getting it all done under the same price of hiring your Officiant. Most Officiants will charge extra for an onsite rehearsal and to be honest your paying your Officiant to come and tell you all how to "When & Where" like an elementary school fire drill so if you already have a DOC or you feel confident in your planning process, why pay the extra to have your officiant come to the rehearsal?

wedding day duties

Final thoughts

Proper planning before your wedding ceremony will ensure everything goes well and of course it all looks incredible and your guests are having a great time.

Here’s one final thought: In a world full of wedding blogs, Pinterest and bridal magazines, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and consumed by the “prettiness” of the event.

While details do matter and planning is necessary, it’s important to never lose sight of the real purpose of this amazing day—the connection and love you share with your partner!

We enjoy providing you with feedback and advice and we hope you enjoy reading our blog post.

C.E.B Ministry Wedding Officiants

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