Tips for Unique Ceremonies – For Brides

I know this might be shocking to you, but I’ve been to a lot of weddings.  In fact, at this point, I have a list of stories a mile long that I could tell you about them.  In some regards, they feel the same.  I mean, if you’re looking at a series of wedding days objectively, then they pretty much follow the same rhythm.

Getting Ready – First Look / Ceremony – Wedding Party Pictures – Family Formals – Bride & Groom Portraits – Cocktail Hour – Reception

What I love about weddings though, is that each of these sections of the day, can be so unique to the couple!  That’s what makes each celebration so fun and exciting! I could never get sick of my job, because I’m getting to do something new each time.

Because of my aforementioned experience, brides and grooms often ask me for advice on planning.  I think it might be one of my favorite parts of my job!

One of the biggest areas of advice-seeking is definitely the ceremony!  As far as I’m concerned, it’s the most important part of the wedding day.  It’s also the one that should have the most meaning attributed to it.  It’s the whole point!  When you strip away the gorgeous flowers, the chairs lined up perfectly, or the pews awaiting your guests, what you have left is the bride and groom, saying “I do!” forever.

In my experience, these are the three things you should keep in mind when trying to add meaning to your ceremony —


This is one of the easiest ways to invite your guests into something meaningful to you. Whether you’re getting married in the church you grew up in, at the place where you met (like we did!), at a space that reminds you of how you like to spend your days, or in your parent’s backyard, the backdrop for your ceremony can serve as an easy way to personalize your day.

Preppy St. Mary's Church Annapolis Wedding by Fine Art Maryland Photographer Lauren R Swann



Some people prefer to write their own vows and some love the tradition of repeating the same ones that their parents, grandparents, and family before them stated.  The vows aren’t your only chance to make your wedding day feel unique to you!  Whether it’s the song you walk down the aisle to, the readings that you choose, a unique unity piece, the content of your ceremony is a good place to personalize things to you.

I’ve watched couples walk up the aisle to “their song,” tied ropes together in union, and had their siblings read some of their favorite poems.  Each component was like giving their guests a peek into what matters most to them.



The people that are a part of your wedding ceremony are important.  Whether it’s the person who’s marrying you (like your brother or your grandfather!), inviting a godmother or aunt to do a reading, or picking out your wedding party (pups included!) — these are the things that help make your ceremony unique.  It matters that you include the people who mean the most to you!

Southern Inspired Chesapeake Bay Beach Club wedding by Fine Art Photographer Lauren R Swann

Southern Inspired Chesapeake Bay Beach Club wedding by Fine Art Photographer Lauren R Swann

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Wedding by Fine Art Annapolis & St. Michael's Photographer Lauren R Swann photo
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Wedding by Fine Art Annapolis & St. Michael's Photographer Lauren R Swann photo

Of course, on the photography side of things, I’m also a big fan of including a great centering piece or florals as a backdrop.  Wearing my photography hat, I also like to recommend nice even lighting across wherever you’re standing so that I can capture all of the bridal party, without having weird shadows on their face. Though that might be a discussion for another day ;)

At any rate, I’m grateful to keep getting to capture wedding ceremonies that are as unique as the couple they celebrate!

I want to hear from you — if you’re already married, what was one unique thing that you did during your ceremony?  If you’re engaged and wedding planning, did you already have these things covered? I want to know!!


April 25, 2019

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Wife, mama, wielder of light & joy, and capturer of moments.  I thrive off of conversation and genuine connection.  In between wrangling our kiddos, and hanging my husband, you'll find me dreaming up my next idea or creative endeavour.  It's these things that culminate to give my imagery a warmth and joy to them - the greatest compliment I could receive.







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