All You Need To Know – Church Weddings and Civil Ceremonies
We love weddings of all sizes and styles. If it’s your wedding then we’re sure to care about it. We’re passionate about capturing all the details that you’ve decided on and all the things that make your wedding yours. Whatever you choose to do will make us smile. That said, there are a few differences between church weddings and civil ceremonies that it’s important to be aware of from a photography perspective so in this blog feature, that’s exactly what we’re going to look at…
We know that we talk a lot about ‘your wedding timings’ on the blog and a solid schedule for the day really is the key to a smooth and stress-free wedding. We know that deciding how long to allow for the cutting of the cake or the time of your evening buffet doesn’t sound exciting but trust us when we tell you it’s super important. So, when the ceremony itself really is the highlight of the day, the timings for this need to be spot on.
Firstly, a church service usually takes longer than a civil ceremony. As a rule, civil ceremonies are over in less than half and hour whilst church services can take an hour or more, depending on your religion and the format of the ceremony itself. So, if you’re planning a church ceremony followed by a drive to another venue for your reception, earlier in the afternoon is better for your vows than later. These timings become even more important for winter weddings when the sun sets much earlier and opportunities for natural light outdoors photography are pretty much over by 4pm.
Another point to consider with church weddings is whether another couple is having their wedding before/after you. This could affect the amount of time available for photography at the church not to mention the need for guests to leave/arrive in a shorter time frame.
In our experience, churches are also much stricter regarding photography in general. Because there are no set rules, each vicar or priest can basically set their own guidelines so while some will be happy for the photographer to move about during the ceremony, others won’t be. Some will allow us to be close to the couple and others don’t want us anywhere near ‘the action’. It’s really important for any restrictions to be clarified before the day so you know what to expect and your photographer can bring the right equipment!
When it comes to civil ceremonies, don’t forget to allow extra time beforehand to speak to the registrar in private. They need you to confirm your details ahead of the big event so aim to be ready at least fifteen minutes ahead of your ceremony to allow time for this. This then has a knock-on effect on timings for hair, makeup and those all-important getting ready and pre-wedding photos. Leave yourself plenty of time to avoid any stress!
There’s scope with both forms of ceremony to make things personal. You might like to arrange a choir for your church or musicians for your civil ceremony. You can choose special people to deliver special readings and you can write your own vows/promises to make your new spouse. If you’re planning on doing something special in your ceremony, do let your photographer know in advance so that they’re prepared to capture everything you’ve worked so hard to organise.
Whether you decide on a religious ceremony or opt for a civil wedding, we’ll make sure that you have a fantastic photographic record of one of this life-changing moment.
Until next time,