I did a little math and I have shot over 150 weddings in my career. As the photographer and trusted advisor for my bride and groom, I am often privy to the best and worst moments of my couple's wedding experience. I get to hear all the dirt leading up to the day of the wedding; the family drama, the vendor drama, the double bookings, the broken deals, the difficulty finding the right undergarments, the awesome cake tastings and the weird DJs they met before finding the perfect fit. I have unparalleled access to what can go right and wrong on a wedding day. On this blog I will offer one photographer's perspective on the wedding industry, wedding day and wedding dream.
Choosing a Church
There are so many options now for ceremony sights - backyards, lakeside patios, museums, state parks, the family yacht (lucky you). With so many options, we tend to forget the classic standard - the church wedding. As with any choice, a church wedding has it's positives and negatives. Below I detail my thoughts on the subject from my experience as a photographer.
1.) As a general rule churches are air conditioned and climate controlled. This shelter is a huge plus on steamy summer days when backyard wedding guests would normally be melting through their glamorous attire.
2.) Not all churches are aesthetically created equal but a strong pro is the stunning architectural backdrop a church can provide to a wedding day. The older the better. Some churches really light my artist eye on fire but others look like a board room with a few additional seats. So let me be clear - when I say I like churches - I mean I like GORGEOUS, amazing churches. But even simple churches usually have amazing elements of stained glass and authentic elegance.
3.) There is plenty of space and your guests know the drill. Most of your guests have practiced walking down a similar aisle every Sunday of their lives, so they are comfortable and know where to sit. It's all very orderly and easy to navigate - a huge plus in my book.
4.) My favorite moment is when the doors open at the end of the aisle and the light streams in behind the bride. For a second you're blinded while your eyes adjust to the light, and then she comes into focus. Yeah - it's pretty perfect. Even though I'm lucky enough to have seen the bride and I know how wonderful she looks, I still get chills when she walks down the aisle, seeing her groom for the first time.
1.) There are rules, and sometimes there are a lot of them. Most frequently there is a "no flash" rule. If you are in the process of booking a church and they say flash photography is strictly prohibited - run. Your photographer is going to be mighty upset when they hear about this condition. While I don't always use flash during a ceremony - and certainly try to get away with not using it, you are running a huge risk not having it at all. Most churches are caves of stained glass and stone and if it's cloudy out, you're going to want to give your photographer the opportunity to use their flash light.
2.) What is classic is also standard. Most church ceremonies are going to look fairly similar. The angles a photographer has access to are limited by the previously mentioned rules and there are only so many places we can stand without interrupting guests. So we do our best. We move around, get both sides and the balcony, but the boundaries set by the church must be respected.
While I love a good cry during the vows and a passionate first kiss, it's after the ceremony, when it's just me, the bride and the groom when the church fun really begins.