How To

How to Avoid an Angry Wedding Officiant


This video was posted on The Knot yesterday and although I have never had an experience quite this terrifying, I have dealt with a some difficult officiants, wedding coordinators and churches. I've found a couple of simple steps can help avoid these wedding day mishaps.

1. Find Out The Photography Policy of the Church

Many churches have established photography policies, it's important for you (and your photographer) to know and understand these policies.  When choosing a wedding venue, ask if they have specific wedding photography policies.

Many common photography policies include things like: 

  • Photographs in the sanctuary must be finished one hour before the ceremony begins
  • Photographers must refrain from using the flash during the ceremony, except during the processional and recessional
  • Photographers must stay two rows behind the last seated guest

It's a great idea to sit down with your photographer and talk through the policy, some of the guidelines may interfere with the shooting style of your photographer, it's important to understand these things before your wedding day!  These policies can also effect your wedding day schedule, so make sure to keep that in mind as well!

2. Add Photography to the List of Things to Ask Your Officiant

Understanding your officiant's style is key to the tone of your wedding day—check out this great list of 10 Questions to Ask Your Officiant.  In addition to these questions, it's a great idea to ask about your officiant's photography policies as well. Some officiants are very flexible and are not bothered by the photographers, other officiants want to preserve the significance of the wedding ceremony and avoid distractions such as flashes and moving photographers.

3. Communicate Your Preferences with Your Photographer

It's important for your photographer to know what your photography preferences are as well.  

If you would like your ceremony photos to have a more intimate and close feel, your photographer will need to be very close to the front of the sanctuary, this usually means sitting among your wedding guests, while this creates beautiful photos, it can also be somewhat distracting to your guests to have the clicking of the camera in their ears.

As a photographer, I strive to always be professional and respectful of the bride and groom, the guests of the wedding and the officiant.  A wedding day is definitely not about me as a photographer—it is my job to help make your day be as beautiful as it can be!  Having a clear idea of the photography policy of your venue and the preferences of the officiant and most importantly you as the couple can help you avoid a wedding day mishap like the couple from this video!

How to Create a Rockstar Wedding Schedule

One of the keys to having a low-stress wedding is to create a solid, concrete and achievable wedding day schedule.  After several years of wedding photography and getting married myself, I think I have finally learned a few of the secrets to creating a rockstar wedding schedule.

  • Start with the Concrete - When you begin mapping out your schedule, start by writing out the times that cannot be changed. Write down your wedding time, travel time, when your dinner will be served or the time that everything has to be cleaned up at the reception location. Once you have all the concrete times filled out, then move to the more flexible details.
  • Talk to the Experts - Rely on the knowledge and expertise of your vendors.  All of your vendors (caters, hair stylist, wedding coordinators and photographers) should have a very good idea of how long each step in the process should take. Talk to them, get their feedback, make sure that they feel comfortable with the time allotted to complete their job. Don't forget to send them a copy of the final schedule for review before the wedding day!
  • Start Early, Revise Often - Your wedding day schedule should NOT be an afterthought, it should be something considered every step of the way.  If you are set on going to specific destination to take photos, be sure that you start planning that into your day early. If you start putting your schedule together early, you will ensure that you have the flexibility to change your mind or your plans.
  • Put Someone in Charge - Assign one of your personal attendants, friends or family members to be official schedule keeper. Make sure they will be someone who knows how to take charge. It can also be helpful to choose someone who is familiar with the wedding party and key members of each of your families. This person is going to make sure that you stick to the schedule!
  • Schedule Breaks - Your wedding day is wonderful day, but it's also a long day, full of standing and smiling. Make sure to schedule breaks for meals, snacks, and bathroom visits. Remember that in your big white dress, going to the bathroom can be no small task!
  • Add Extra Time! - While creating your wedding day schedule with hopefully help you avoid crazy scheduling problems, there are still so many factors at play when it comes to your big day, so just do yourself a favor and schedule lots of time, extra time if possible. It is so much nicer to be able to sit back and relax for a few extra minutes than it will be to be running around like crazy trying to fit everything in!

These are just a few tips to help you get a head start in creating a wedding day schedule that works for you! If you have any other brilliant wedding scheduling tips, be sure to leave a comment or send us an email!