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  • Writer's pictureMadison Neumann

Tips for Your Wedding Ceremony

Your wedding ceremony is the pinnacle of your wedding day. It's when your guests first arrive, where you'll exchange rings, say your vows, and make it official. Like every part of a wedding day, quite a bit of logistics are involved in making your wedding ceremony move smoothly. Follow these tips to make your wedding ceremony the absolutely best it could be!

Bride and groom stand at the alter at their outdoor wedding ceremony at Bartrams Garden in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Taken by Philly Photographer Madison Neumann Photography.

1. Have an unplugged ceremony

Walking down the aisle is going to be one of the most memorable parts of your wedding day - don't let your view of your adoring guests and spouse to be get blocked by cell phone cameras! If you have a professional photo and video team, they'll be there to capture the moment. Encourage your guests to fully enjoy it by turning those phones off and putting them away.

*Bonus tip: have your officiant announce your unplugged ceremony just before it starts! Unplugged ceremony signs are popular but often get missed as guests are walking through. Making the announcement ensures they'll be in the know.

2. Put the accurate start time on your invitations

The theory makes sense: your wedding ceremony starts at 4:30, so you put 4:00 on your invitations to "trick" your guests into arriving on time. The problem is, this theory doesn't always play out so well when put into practice. Guests see 4:00 and think "I better plan to get there early - so 3:30" and before you know it you have guests standing around for over an hour before your ceremony starts. This can cause logistic issues if your venue isn't prepared for guests with seating and refreshments, and if you'e talking photos around your venue prior to your ceremony and don't want guests to see. My tip? Include words like "ceremony will begin promptly at 4:30" and "the wedding couple requests that guests do not arrive any earlier than 4:00". If you know your guests are notoriously late and want to plan ahead for a buffer work on it internally with your venue. Maybe you quietly plan for a 4:40 or 4:45 start. This has guests waiting for just a few moments as opposed to over an hour.

Bride and groom stand together in front of the arbor at their outdoor wedding ceremony at White Manor Country Club in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Taken by philly wedding photographer Madison Neumann Photography

3. Practice adjusting your train and veil ahead of time

If you're wearing a train or a veil you'll want to make sure it's looking great for your ceremony - this is their time to shine before the veil is removed and train is bustled for your reception! Typically this is adjusted by whoever is standing or sitting closest to you, right after you walk down the aisle. Practice ahead of time if this person is with you at your fittings, or during the wedding day right before you go down.

Bride and groom kiss in front of their DIY wedding arbor at their wedding ceremony at Terrain in Glen Mills Pennsylvania. Taken by Philly area wedding photographer Madison Neumann.

4. Have your officiant move out of the way for your first kiss

Asking your officiant to move out of the way for your first kiss is a great way to make sure the moment is truly your own when looking back at your photographs! So many officiants have this as part of their practice now, but it never hurts to mention a reminder. Especially if the person officiating your wedding is someone who doesn't regularly officiate weddings: a family member, friend, etc.

5. Hold your kiss!

You've been waiting for this moment, make it last! Hold your kiss for at least a few seconds not only to make sure you get a good photo, it also gives your guests more time to get the cheers going and get excited!

Bride and groom stop for a kiss at the end of their aisle as their guests watch on. Wedding ceremony at Normandy Farms in Blue Bell Pennsylvania. Taken by philly area wedding photographer Madison Neumann

6. Go in for another kiss as you walk back up your aisle

Similar to my last tip: this one is all about getting a great photo and getting your guests excited. This one is particular is my favorite because unlike most of your ceremony photos, you'll be able to see yourselves and your guests in the same photo.

7. Be intentional about your post-wedding ceremony celebrations.

After you come back up your aisle, energy and emotions are high. Who do you want to share those emotions with? Just you and your partner? Your closest family and friends? Your wedding party? Your entire guest list (receiving line)? Venues will have their typical methods of having your exit your ceremony, but if you have a specific vision you may have to be intentional about making it happen. When I got married in May 2023, our venue typically took their wedding couples up through a separate exit so they could avoid being crowded by guests and could celebrate together. My husband and I really wanted to celebrate not just the two of us, but with our siblings (wedding party) and parents. So, we changed the plan and had our wedding party and parents follow us through the separate exit before guests were motioned in the other direction to cocktail hour. It was one of my most favorite parts of our wedding day and I'm so happy we made it happen exactly how we envisioned it!

Bride and groom walk away from their wedding ceremony at Bartrams Garden in Philadelphia  hand in hand, leaning on one another. Taken by philly area photographer Madison Neumann.

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