How to Plan Your Ceremony

Julie and Taylor ~ Emerald Isle, NC Wedding Photographer

Emerald Isle Wedding Photographer

This is it – the main event!

As you have been following our blog series about How to Plan the Perfect Wedding, you will know that we want to help couples have the best, most stress-free wedding possible. For many, the ceremony can be high pressure and there can be so many expectations on couples. As photographers, we value all the details and aesthetics of the wedding day, but as a married couple ourselves we understand the significance of this milestone. The goal of a Pinterest-perfect wedding can be overwhelming, but don’t let that overshadow the importance of this moment. Two becoming one. It is special and sacred. Savor every drop, because it will pass so quickly!

In our faith, marriage is very important and God ordained. For us, this adds another level of meaning to the wedding day. As the Scriptures say:

‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’

Ephesians 5:31
Emerald Isle North Carolina Wedding Photographer

Ceremony Lighting

Lighting is key to great photos. Nice, even lighting indoors at the altar that covers the bride and groom as well as wedding party is very important. If your ceremony is outdoors, 2-3 hours before sunset will provide the best light. A ceremony in the middle of the day will cast harsh shadows and cause lots of squinting. You can see a bit of this in Julie and Taylor’s photos at their Emerald Isle Wedding, but this is not something you can avoid on the beach during midday! During our family portraits we used flash to fill in the shadows on the face, and then waited for sunset for more intimate couple’s portraits. Ultimately, trust your photographer – we are happy to help give you advice on locations (think shade) and timing for great lighting! We are also experts in flash and knowing when to use it to create beautiful portraits!

Emerald Isle North Carolina Wedding Photographer

Ceremony Details

Don’t forget – this is YOUR day. There is no end to what you can include in your ceremony that is special to YOU! Make it your own. So if you want to light unity candles, jump the broom, perform a foot washing, or play a rock ballad, DO IT! Or, don’t do any of it! Keep the traditions that are important to you and don’t be afraid to throw out the rest. Consider the cultures of you and your future spouse. What are religious or cultural practices do you want to include? Are there family members you wish to honor or military customs to incorporate? Are there new traditions you want to start as you begin your new family? Talk with your partner and make a list of things you want to include (and not include!) and then sit down with your officiant to create a beautiful ceremony that celebrates your relationship and marriage.

Emerald Isle North Carolina Wedding Photographer

Ceremony Planning

We can’t emphasize enough – have the right people in the right place. Even better, hire a planner or day-of coordinator to make sure everything runs smoothly! You have put too much effort and invested too much money to leave things to chance. Rally a support team to carry out every last detail! Know who will usher relatives to their seats and greet guests when they arrive. Know who will coral the littlest members of the wedding party. Consider who will cue the music and make sure the lighting is perfect. Have several conversations with your officiant about your desires (you really can’t over communicate on this!) Create a detailed timeline of the ceremony and have your planner or coordinator carry it out. Like we said before, this is the main event and you want to make sure everything goes smoothly.

More from Julie and Taylor’s Emerald Isle Wedding

Julie and Taylor have known each other for a long time. Their parents have been best friends since they were young, and so they were thrilled when the two announced their relationship! I have known Julie since she was part of our youth group and I had even had the honor of taking her senior portraits! Their wedding plans started with a big farm wedding, but soon after, things changed. As Covid continued to rattle our country and state, Julie and Taylor realized they didn’t want a huge party, but a getaway with their closest friends and family. They decided to rent a beautiful beach home and hold their very informal wedding right on the beach! They incorporated a few very important traditions and Julie’s father, an ordained minister, was their officiant. After, a local restaurant served a delicious outdoor dinner and at sunset we returned to the beach house for some gorgeous sunset portraits. This wedding was one of my favorite from 2020 and I hope you love them as much as I do!

If you want to see more of this amazing couple, check out their Engagement Session at Hanging Rock State Park!


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