Wedding Ceremonies

Everything you Need to know about Wedding Ceremonies


“I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust
I wanna be your Ford cortina
I will never rust
If you like your coffee hot
Let me be your coffee pot
You call the Shots
I wanna be Yours”

outdoor wedding yorkshire photography

Quite frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of hearing John Cooper Clarke’s I Wanna be Yours at wedding ceremonies. It makes me smile every single time.


Wedding ceremonies come in all shapes and sizes – big traditional church affairs with hymns, choirs and prayers, laid back woodland ceremonies officiated by best friends while guests huddle under umbrellas from the rain, intimate little town hall weddings that are over in a flash and simple ceremonies in stately homes with drinks on the patio afterwards. Whatever your choice of wedding ceremony, there are a few choice bits of wisdom to consider.


1: Music… From classic string quartet’s to full on choirs, music on your phone or guests singing Take That songs, music is a must at weddings. If you do opt for playing tracks from your phone, please make sure that you can actually hear it at the end of the church and give the job of queuing the music to someone who won’t mess it up, or if you’re planning a singalong, don’t pick anything obscure and make sure you give guests the lyrics so they can join in.

documentary wedding photographer dewslake farm

2. Walk, don’t run – Do not run down the aisle. If you’re having bridesmaids, let them get to the top of the aisle and in position before you start the short journey otherwise, your partner’s first look will be obscured by confused flower girls who don’t know where they should sit. Once they’re in position, then make your grand entrance… and don’t be jogging down the aisle… milk it for all it’s worth!

Bride walking down the aisle. healey barn wedding ceremony photographer

3. Hankies – do not forget the tissues (unless you’ve a heart of stone of course). Most wedding gowns don’t have pockets (more is the pity!), so ensure your bridesmaid, mum, or dad has a lovely hankie to wipe your tears/snot. You can opt for tissues of course, but a hankie looks so much better on the photographs.

groom crying during ceremony yorkshire wedding photographer

4. Readings – there are lots of amazing readings out there, just don’t go for the over done Lovely Other Dinosaur poem (if you haven’t heard of it, please don’t google it… a kitten dies every time this is read out at a wedding). Try not to opt for the obvious either… do something that really means something to you and if that means using the lyrics from your favourite Nick Cave or Elbow song, then fantastic.

dewslake farm outdoor wedding ceremony

5. Saying I do – do not, I repeat, do not stare at the registrar, celebrant or vicar whilst exchanging vows and rings… look at each other. Stare into each others eyes, even if that means you start laughing uncontrollably or you start crying! We want to see the emotion so go the whole hog and soak it all up. It doesn’t matter if you get the words mixed up or the ring needs a little help to get over his knuckles, it all makes for beautiful memories.

manchester town hall photographer wedding ceremony

6. Feel free to have your ring bearers be adorable… fluffy dogs or cute kids are great… just don’t expect it to go exactly to plan.

ring bearer leeds town hall wedding photography

7. Signing the register – Signing the register is the legal bit.. it requires you to actually stare at paperwork, when we all know you just want to stare at each other! But it’s five minutes, usually in bad light (I can count on one hand the times where the register has been signed in amazing light with a beautiful backdrop). If it’s in a church, it could be in a vestry surrounded by the accoutrements of clergy life including a filing cabinet and the fire extinguisher. If it’s in a country house, it’s usually on a nondescript table with a white table cloth. I try not to make a big thing of the signing shot so we can go outside as soon as possible for confetti and drinks – yay!

Groom signing register. Yorkshire wedding photographer

8. the Way out – don’t forget to pick up your bouquet on the way out. Give your newly signed marriage certificate to your mum to place in her handbag where it will be safe – don’t give it to the best man who will stick it in his inside pocket and then lose it whilst break dancing after 8 tequilas and 4 Jagers later that night.

documentary wedding photographer bowcliffe hall yorkshire

9. Confetti – bring your own confetti… and lots of it. Try and get flower petals as opposed to paper confetti and check with your church or venue first beforehand to ensure they’re ok about it – some churches have restrictions on whether or not you can throw confetti in the church yard. Or opt for confetti canons – i love those things! They’re also great on the dance floor during the first dance!

victoria warehouse documentary wedding photographer first dance

10. Cameras – lots of my couples now opt to have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony. This means that you get to see everyone’s smiling face as you walk down the aisle rather than them being hidden behind phones and iPads. It also means that they are present in the moment as you say your I Do’s and there are no distractions. There are some great ideas for Unplugged Wedding signs on Pinterest and you can check out my board here for some inspiration.

Outdoor ceremony in Masham. Yorkshire wedding photography

Finally… remember to relax. This is your big day.. all the planning, the diy, the decisions, it’s all over. It’s finally here. Remember to enjoy every single second.


documentary wedding photographer dewslake farm

Yorkshire wedding photographer, Shelly Mantovani at Toast of Leeds.  If you’re getting married in the future at Dewslake Barn, Healey Barn, Manchester City Hall,  or elsewhere in the UK or Europe, get in touch by visiting my photography website at or you can find me on TwitterFacebook Instagram or Pinterest.  I photograph weddings across the UK in tipis, barns, country houses , iconic hotels, Industrial warehouses, town halls and cool city boozers . For more information and to check availability, contact me now.