CHOOSING A CEREMONY VENUE FOR YOUR WEDDING

Before you decide on having your wedding ceremony outdoors or indoors, in a garden, on the beach, in a chapel or church there are a few things to consider.

 

OUTDOOR WEDDING CEREMONIES

 
Mount Warning wedding of Chloe & Anthony at Mavis's Kitchen & Cabins in Uki - captured by Brisbane wedding photographer Deb Boots love stories. Mount Warning wedding of Chloe & Anthony at Mavis's Kitchen & Cabins in Uki - captured by Brisbane wedding photographer Deb Boots love stories.
 
If you are having a garden or beach ceremony which is outdoors you need to have a wet weather backup plan because weather is unpredictable. Often your wedding reception venue can backup as your wet weather alternative ceremony venue, but it’s best to speak with the venue manager and ask them for wet weather options they recommend or offer.

In warm/hot weather conditions you might also like to supply for your guests rice paper umbrellas for shade and bottles of water while they sit waiting for the brides arrival or refreshing non-alcoholic punch for after the ceremony. Just remember if people are drinking alcoholic beverages on hot days, alcohol does dehydrate the body, so its best to mix it up with some water to stay hydrated and headache-free on a wedding day.

Making sure your guests are comfortable while they wait for the bride is a reasonable request considering they are family and friends, while you might think it’s just 15 minutes plus a 20-30 minute ceremony, I think we all know time feels like it triples when you are waiting, means they won’t be irritable and fidgety, and enjoy being present at your ceremony.

One advantage of an outdoor wedding over indoor venues like smaller churches, it usually gives photographers more room to move around the bride and groom – both in front of the couple, the sides and even behind to get an interesting perspective with the guests in the background.

Time of Day / Lighting { outdoor ceremonies }

Selecting the right time of day for your ceremony is probably more important than you think. Allowing time for congratulations, family portraits and the bridal party portraits in daylight to sunset. A sufficient amount of time to allow would be 2+ hours before sunset (15-20 min for congratulations, another 15-30 min for family portraits and 1.5-2 hours for location photos plus any travel between locations).

Wherever you choose for your outdoor ceremony, it’s best to check what that location is like at the same time you are having your ceremony and at the same time of year to get the best idea of what the conditions could be like, remembering if it’s sunny, overcast or raining this will change the lighting conditions.

Another point to consider is the time of day to have your outdoor ceremony, remembering the sun is higher and stronger in the middle of the day to the softer light in the afternoon, whether the ceremony is out in the direct sunlight or if it’s shaded or under a tree of dappled light will all affect your photos and give you different effects and looks.

 

INDOOR WEDDING CEREMONIES

 
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While most people probably think the only indoor ceremony venue is a church or registry office, but for those with non-religious views find they don’t want to step in a church as it’s against there belief system. Naturally chapels can be an option as they have less of a religious feel and you can also have a civil marriage celebrant perform the vows. Over the last few years, non-traditional weddings have been booming, opening up all sorts of alternative options, like community halls, barns, country estates, surf clubs, racing clubs, your local funky café/restaurant and one of my favourites industrial warehouses.

With a funky indoor option it means you are covered if it rains, hail or shine. Plus you have the freedom to style the venue to your taste. The bonus of that is while it may be the same venue as 100 brides and grooms before you, your styling can make it unique and individual as you. Nothing like a blank canvas to create from!

Time of Day / Lighting { indoor ceremonies }

While time of day isn’t as relevant for indoor ceremonies, just so long as there is sufficient natural light entering the building or there is artificial lighting, and lighting that creates atmosphere is better than just flooding the room with fluorescent lights. If there isn’t sufficient ambient lighting, the photographer will have to use there flash which gives a whole different effect to natural light photography.

Where time of the ceremony is relevant for indoor ceremonies is to allow time for congratulations, family portraits and the bridal party portraits and consideration if you want those photographs taken in daylight to sunset timeframe.

Churches and Photography

Many of the big cathedrals in the city have strict rules about photography, so its important you speak with the priest about their rules for photography and ensure you are satisfied with some of the limitations that church might have on your wedding photos.

Rules typically include the photographer not being allowed in the alter area, limitations on using flash inside the church, and how close you can approach the alter from the front pew and at the side aisles. These rules may impact on the number of different angles we as photographers can obtain. These rules may also inhibit us of getting certain images, for example photos of guests in the front rows or close up photos of the bride and groom’s faces during the ceremony etc.  There are a couple of Brisbane churches where the photographer must not go past a particular pew, for example the photographer cant go past the fourth pew from the front or the photographer can’t go past the pew of the last row of guests.

 

GENERAL LIGHTING

Even if you aren’t a photographer, because most people have some form of a camera these days, that most people are aware that photographing on overcast days isn’t a bad thing.  The clouds diffuse the sun creating a nice soft and even light so you don’t get those dreaded dark shadows under people’s eyes. Basically overcast weather makes our job as photographers easy. But as a professional wedding photographer, you aren’t always given the ideal lighting conditions, so you have to know how to work around all conditions of lighting, from full midday sun to dark overcast raining days.

On really dark days we have to let more light into the camera’s sensor to expose the image correctly, and this means pushing the ISO up and depending upon the camera equipment, as to how much it degrades the image with digital noise { or often known as grain in the film days } which affects the image by losing quality and not being as sharper image.

There are advantage of using a professional photographer over your friend/amateur photographer, and usually that is the investment in professional quality equipment. As a professional wedding photographer I have invested thousands and thousands of dollars in professional equipment to give me the best possible results when increasing my ISO to minimise digital noise, but the darker the environment, it does change the look of the photo and can affect the quality too, and can result in how big you can print an image before it starts to fall apart.

I personally prefer sunny days for photographing, because I love the look of natural light photography and the colours you can achieve with bright sun if used correctly.

 

STYLING YOUR CEREMONY

To style or not to style is the question. As amazing as pretty styled decor can be, I sometimes get to a ceremony and wish they hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong as I love pretty details probably more than the next person, but too often i see where the alter isn’t inline with the aisle so the couple are off centre and for a visual person who likes symmetry, I look at the photo and these things what might seem like small details, stand out as glaringly big unstructured messy images.

One styling feature I have found rarely works is the four poster arbour. The reason being that when the bride and groom stand under it, sometimes of thermis fabric draped around the poles, if there is a slight wind blowing the fabric can blow in front of the couple blocking the view or simply making it hard to get different angles giving limited photo opportunities. If your having a bridal party the four post arbour can completely block the view of the bridal party.

I’m certainly not saying don’t style your aisle, but just be mindful that what you choose doesn’t obscure the view of the couple or bridal party from the guests. And also make sure any structures behind the couple are in symmetry with the aisle, which sets an automatic centre position for the couple to stand.

When the ceremony is set up to get a symmetrical photo of the couple, bridal party, aisle and rows of the guests. It actually can be one of the most striking wedding ceremony images and a popular requested images.

 

WORKING WITH VIDEOGRAPHERS

Boots Photography understands some clients like to have their wedding captured on video also.  It is our belief and standard practice to work along side videographers and cinematographers, as with any other wedding supplier, as a team to ensure the couple gets the best of everything. We do highly recommend the use of professional videography companies over your friend with their camera, for a few simple reasons.

Your friend with the video camera usually only has a small zoom on their camera meaning they need to get in closer to capture the action, which typically results in them getting in the way of the photographer and obscuring views.  We have had situations where the friend with the video camera has thought they were doing the right thing by placing it on a tripod in the middle of the aisle or just to the side at the front, but the camera and tripod appeared in many of the photos, one particular incident the couple had invested a fair chunk of change in styling the ceremony and the camera appeared in every photo of the entire scene. We have also had the situation in a church where their were two camera men in the alter area close to the bridal party so the majority of my ceremony photos and two camera men in them. We have even had a camera man climbing all over the alter in one of the prestigious churches in Brisbane city where they have strict rules against such behaviour.  This behaviour is unprofessional and then ruins it for the professionals who do the right thing.

We do understand budget constraints may inhibit you from using a professional, but you still want your wedding captured on video and use a friend or amateur, and in that case, I am more than happy to have a chat to them about wedding day etiquette.

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