1. How much space do you have?
With lots of weddings taking place at holiday homes and Air BnB’s there is often limited space for your ceremony. If you are just getting married on a small balcony you need to decide if you want any decoration or if the view itself is enough.
Donna & Jeremy were married on a small balcony. Guests stood around and just inside the kitchen was a drink station set up with Pina Coladas for cocktail hour! With the reception in the kitchen, they decided to use the ceremony hoop as a backdrop for the reception too.
The balcony space was also used for cutting the cake and the first dance.
Kelsey & Brodie were married at Mitchells Cottage, a historic site with natural rock formations. They used this to their advantage and had the guests sitting in an area below one of the big rocks and used the rock as a platform for the ceremony.
Sometimes there is a lot of space so you can do quite an elaborate ceremony set up with space for everyone to be seated. Hayden & Brittany were married on a family property in front of the pond. It was a big space with room for a wide aisle and decorations.
One tip to remember is that if you want as many diverse angles as possible of your ceremony captured by your photographer/videographer, try to keep space clear for them to move around both sides and even the back of the ceremony space.
Here is an example of a first kiss taken from the back of the ceremony – this can be quite a cool photo as it has all your guests’ reactions too!
Some locations such as small churches have very limited space, therefore you can only get very limited angles of the ceremony without disturbing you and the guests.
2. How do you want to enter the ceremony?
Depending on what kind of space you are working with, there are multiple options for how to enter the ceremony. Do you want to come in via a vehicle? A horse? A different entrance to the guests?
Stacey opted to have all her guests sitting together with no aisle. Her ceremony space had a natural tree lane, so she walked down there facing the guests and it kept her husband’s reaction private for her to see.
Alice rode her horse into the ceremony space and dismounted before walking down the aisle with her dad.
Nikita & William had a bunch of cars they wanted to make an entrance in before walking through to the ceremony space.
3. How do you want the space to reflect your personalities?
The ceremony can be a great place to add touches of your unique personalities. Whether it be a custom sign, a vehicle or creative décor.
Dan and Emma both love riding their motorbikes together so they had them framing the ceremony space.
4. What is the lighting like?
Great for photos as your faces will be in shadow and you won’t be squinting!
It can sometimes be distracting for guests if they are facing directly towards the sun (which is fine if they have sunglasses).
If you are having your ceremony in the late afternoon, when the sun will still be shining down on your ceremony location, I recommend angling your set up a bit to the side of where the sun will set so that it is comfortable for the guests’ eyes.
Remember that if you are checking out a ceremony site at a different season (winter) to when you are getting married, the sun will set in a different spot on the horizon (summer). There is a good app called Sunseeker that I can recommend finding exactly where the sun will be at the time of your ceremony.
I would say this is the most unideal lighting for photos, always resulting in bright blow out patches of the photos and dark faces. This causes us to lose a lot of the details in faces, colour and details.
If you can avoid the uneven light no matter what, angle your ceremony so it will be backlit to help the quality of your photos!
Shade or Overcast
The best scenario for photos and comfort! Shaded means there will be even light from start to finish and preserves all the details in your photos, like colours, gown and it makes your skin look great!
Natural light coming from a window is ideal for indoor ceremonies. Avoid mixed lighting, if possible, by turning off indoor lighting so the ceremony won’t have a mix of blue and yellow light. If you can’t use only natural light, make sure the indoor lights are as bright so they photos can be the best quality possible!
5. Is your ceremony in a public place?
If you are having your ceremony in a park or by a lake these are often on public reserves and will need to be moved once the ceremony is finished.
O’Leah and Mike were married on the lakefront at Glenorchy. They had a simple seating set up that could be moved afterwards. And sign welcoming guests and letting the public know a wedding was happening. This was all easy to pack down and move once the ceremony was over.
6. How will you create a space to walk down?
Rachael & Phil were married in the forest at Borland Lodge. This area is just a big forest space so they needed to create a plan for how they would make an aisle & entrance.
They had a sign welcoming everyone at the tree line and little further on a drinks station. They used logs on the forest floor to create a path which guests could walk down that lead them to the ceremony spot.
Two large floral pillars framed the space the two were saying their vows!
7. Is there something specific you would like as your backdrop?
Elle & Dan wanted to get married with this mountain range behind them, so set the ceremony up so it would be framed nicely in the background.
At the end of the day choosing how to set your ceremony up depends on what is the most important factor for you. Is it the location? Is it the scenery in the background? Do you want the most flattering light? Do you want lots of space for your guests to all be seated or are you happy for people to stand?
I hope this gives you a little more insight into what to look out for as you are making all these decisions 😊
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