Wedding Ceremony

In a world full of wedding blogs, Pinterest and bridal magazines, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and consumed by the “prettiness” of the event. While details do matter and planning is necessary, it’s important to never lose sight of the real purpose of this amazing day.

God has called you into marriage together for your own holiness and as part of a divine mission you share together.

The music is playing, the room is filled with the people you love, the bridal party is lining up, and you’re about to walk down the aisle to the love of your life where you will freely and wholeheartedly join your lives to one another before God.

Pope Francis summed it up when he said, “Marriage is the most beautiful thing that God has created. The Bible tells us that God created man and woman, created them in his own image (cfr Gen1:27). That is to say, the man and woman who become one flesh, are the image of God.” This is as true for YOUR marriage as it is for marriage as a whole.

It’s here! The moment everyone has been waiting for. 

  • Most churches require that you be on-site and finished with all photos 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. (inside and outside)
  • It offers you a break to go to the bathroom, touch up makeup, drink water, gather items you may need before the ceremony begins, and prepare mentally for the liturgy to begin.
  • We use this time to focus on capturing details such as an overview photo of the church, wedding programs, florals, decorations, greeters, ushers, etc. We also need the time to get our camera settings reset for the ceremony, take bathroom break too, and talk through guidelines with the priest or parish coordinator!

This is one of our non-negotiables on a wedding day because of the time we need to prepare for mass and because of common guidelines for photography at churches.

Plan in 30 minutes of “out of sight” time into the timeline that is a break from pictures with you prior to the ceremony.

We do this for several reasons:

out of sight

take a break

Our first objective is to capture your wedding ceremony with the utmost reverence for the liturgy! Each church as their own unique set of restrictions that they ask photographers and videographers to follow, and we happily oblige! Please obtain a copy of these and send it for us to review!

If there are certain pictures that you’ve seen and hope to recreate on your own day, they may or may not be possible during the mass based on the church’s guidelines. While we always want to honor your requests, be sure to read through the list of restrictions for your specific church and ask us about any concerns you have so we can explain what kind of impact it might have on your wedding images. 

Following church guidelines

Full Catholic nuptial wedding masses are upwards of 75 minutes. These ceremonies always run longer than a traditional Sunday mass due to the addition of the vows, the length of the homily, the number of guests receiving communion, and other elements that take place during the service.

The Rite of Marriage (without a mass) often lasts closer to 30-45 minutes since it takes place outside of the mass and is composed of the procession, readings and gospel, homily, vows, prayers of the faithful, nuptial blessing, first kiss, and recessional.

Extraordinary Form weddings (traditional latin mass) can run upwards of 90 minutes with the vows happening outside of the mass. Confirm with your celebrant and wedding coordinator to get a more updated estimate based on the form you’re choosing.

Ceremony length of time

This tradition, most common among Hispanic and Filipino cultures, pledge themselves together using a small cask of thirteen coins which symbolize prosperity. The couple exchange a series of words that highlights their commitment to share all the goods they receive during their married life. (Source: USCCB)

Blessing and Giving of the Arras (Coins)


The lazo is a type of lasso or yoke to symbolize the marriage union. Its most usual form is a double-looped rosary; one loop goes over the groom’s shoulders and the other over the bride’s with the cross hanging between them. The two are now tied together for life, so to speak. To use the biblical expression, they become “one flesh.” (Source: USCCB)

Blessing and Placing of the Lazo


The bride and groom hold a crucifix in their hands while they say their wedding vows, literally placing Christ at the center of their marriage. It is gaining more traction and is rumored to originate back to the town of Siroki-Brijeg where couples there view marriage as "a cross indissolubly united to the Cross of Christ." The remarkable thing about this town is that it is one of the only cities in the world that (within its collective memory) has never had a divorce among the Croatian Catholics of the city. It’s a simple addition to the ceremony yet profoundly beautiful!

Holding a Crucifix During Vows


If you’d like some text to use in your wedding program, here is some sample language to use:

Through Scripture we know that Mary is united to the Holy Spirit and is a perfect model of faith and trust in God's will. The bride and groom pray beside Mary asking her to present these petitions to her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Mary's intercession, we pray that her example guides each of us to build holy families of our own and to be faithful in always doing what Christ tells us.
There is a beautiful devotion where couples bring a bouquet of flowers to Mary, typically roses, and place them beside her at a side altar or at a statue that the parish brings out into the sanctuary. Since the year of St. Joseph in 2021 we’ve seen an increase in bringing flowers to him as well. While the couple places the flowers, a Marian hymn is often sung such as the Ave Maria or Salve Regina.

If you’d like to include this tradition, ask your parish if they have a preference for when this happens. It most commonly happens either:

  • After the vows
  • After communion

Flowers to Mary (and Joseph)



These optional traditions are a way to infuse additional elements of your faith or culture into the liturgy.

cultural & religious

When the celebrant introduces you as husband and wife and you go in for your first kiss as newlyweds, our advice is to go BIG with it!!

Savor that sweet moment as the claps and cheers from your loved ones fill the church in their excitement for you.

Our favorite first kiss moments include:

The First Kiss & Recessional

  • Stand nice and close together so that your belly buttons are touching
  • Hold the kiss for 5 seconds 
  • Throw your hands in the air, if that feels within your personality
  • Pause and look out all of those smiling faces, especially if your church has you seated with your backs to the congregation during the whole ceremony
  • As you’re walking back up the aisle for the recessional, do a 2nd kiss! Or go fancy with a dip kiss! It’s another fun way to capture the overflowing joy that you and your guests are feeling in the moment and gives us a better view of some of your guests faces because they’re turned towards you as you’re walking past.
  • Tell your maid of honor and best man to wait until you've completed your recessional before they begin theirs.

Remember that your first kiss should feel sweet and romantic. The last thing anyone wants is to feel awkward and have that captured forever. It can help to practice in front of a mirror and decide where your hands will go on each other.

Don’t stress if you do not want to do a receiving line or if you don’t have the time for one!! Your guests won’t attend your wedding without saying at least hello or goodbye!

The biggest benefit of a receiving line is that you get a chance to briefly greet each guests who attended your wedding. However, they always take longer than you expect - oftentimes up to 45 minutes for an average size wedding. Especially when you greet a guest you haven’t seen in a long time!

If you want to do a receiving line we ask that you:

  • Complete all family formals before the ceremony begins. It can be difficult to wrangle everyone together again for pictures after a receiving line. Other liturgical events at the church may require everyone to leave quickly after mass which won’t leave time for doing any family pictures inside afterwards.

  • Consider dismissing guests from their pews instead of standing at the back of the church or on the steps. This often makes the process go faster than a traditional receiving line by minimizing lengthy conversations.

  • Designate a personal attendant to help keep the guest line moving.

Receiving Lines

Your photogaLlery


Emergency Kit
Vendor recommendations
Sample timelines

catholic wedding tips
hair + Makeup trials
dress fitting 


tips + tricks
feeding vendor team
cocktail hour
cake cutting
special exits


Out of sight time
timing & logistics
Nuptial blessing
receiving lines
aisle Reveals


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