Wedding Videos: 6 Tips for Your Ceremony from a Wedding Cinematographer

Discover expert ceremony-focused tips for wedding videos from Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films!

The best wedding videos are beautifully edited, but they also have excellent raw footage to work with. Love stories and the magic of the big day are shown in wedding videos, so be sure to prepare for stunning wedding videography by following these simple ceremony tips for wedding videos.

real wedding photo still from wedding video by casey lomax of lomax wedding films las vegas videographer
Photo: Lomax Wedding Films

When you get engaged, there is so much to think about during the wedding-planning process. One of the most important elements of the day is, of course, when you say "I do" during the ceremony.

As a Las Vegas wedding videographer (Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films), I’ve shot and edited thousands of hours of raw footage capturing my clients’ special days, and I’ve learned how to avoid some of the common pitfalls that can be really distracting throughout your wedding ceremonyRead on for tips to keep in mind to ensure you have the very best wedding video!

Ceremony Tips & Advice for the Very Best Wedding Videos

If you've hired a cinematographer to capture your wedding day on film, make sure you take the right steps for your wedding film to be the best it can be. Discover helpful tips for a seamless vow exchange – that will also ensure these special moments look great in your wedding video!

Wedding Video Advice for Outdoor Ceremonies

If you are having an outdoor vow exchange, you might have some flexibility regarding the exact placement of that special spot where you'll say your vows. Keeping your wedding video in mind, you should ideally be standing so that the sun is behind you, facing your guests, and ever so slightly positioned between the bride and the officiant. This placement will ensure that you have the best lighting captured on camera.

Example of Good Placement for Wedding Ceremony Lighting:

Perfect Lighting for Wedding Ceremony Video

Courtesy of Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films

Try to think about the time of day as well, as that will affect the way shadows show up on your wedding film. If you don’t watch where the sun will be throughout the service, you might end up with shadows in really awkward places (as you can see in the example below). I highly suggest your vow exchange take place one hour before sunset to achieve that “golden hour” look – or in a consistently shaded area to avoid these types of shadows.

Example of Poor Placement for Wedding Ceremony Lighting:

Example of Shadows in Wedding Video

Courtesy of Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films

Wedding Videos: How to Achieve an Unplugged Ceremony

We all know how wedding guests and their cell phones can disrupt the official photography and videography of a vow exchange – not to mention be distracting during the important moments as you say "I do!" To combat this, many couples place a sign at the front of the wedding venue as attendees enter, asking them to keep their phones put away.

However, this isn’t usually enough, and it can be incredibly helpful to have your wedding officiant or the DJ make an announcement over the speakers to remind loved ones to put away their cell phones. This will allow the trained professionals – photographers and videographers – to do their job, and ensure the couple gets the very best photos and videos of their event!

Outdoor Wedding Ceremony - Lomax Wedding Films

Courtesy of Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films

It can even be helpful to send out an email to the wedding attendees ahead of the celebration, explaining what an unplugged ceremony entails, so they have a heads up on what is expected, and even more important, the why. Often if your friends and family understand how their phone can ruin the official photos or be distracting for the bride and groom, they are more likely to keep them put away, out of love and respect for the couple.

Get on The Same Page with Your Officiant for the Best Wedding Videos

It’s 2022: we are beyond the days of the officiant awkwardly standing behind the couple during intimate moments in the vow exchange where they are not needed – such as personal vows, and the pronouncement kiss.

Example of Officiant Stepping Away During Vow Exchange:

Officiant Steps Aside for Wedding Vows

Courtesy of Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films

Example of Officiant Stepping Away During Pronouncement Kiss:

Example of No Officiant Behind Bride & Groom Kiss

Courtesy of Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films

During both of these moments, the officiant can move from the center and step to the side, so that they're closer to the wedding party. Even better: if you mark their center spot ahead of time, this will not only allow your officiant to easily find the center again, but it can also help the bride and groom get re-centered under the arch or decoration if they’ve drifted at all during the vow exchange.

It’s especially important for the officiant to move as they are saying the words “you may kiss your spouse,” so that nothing distracts from the moment in the images in your wedding video.

Look at Your Partner Instead of Your Officiant for the Best Wedding Videos

As you say your vows, it is easy to look at the officiant as he or she is guiding you through your ceremony. However, this gives the photographer and cinematographer a lot of great views of the back of your head! This is not what you want for your wedding video or photos... An easy trick to avoid this is to make sure you’re looking at each other throughout the vow exchange. This will also make for a more personal, intimate moment between the two of you (which is what the whole day is about anyway).

If you notice your about-to-be-spouse looking at the officiant, give their hand a little squeeze and use that as a secret code between the two of you to draw their attention back to your face. It works every time and ensures a great wedding video!

Wedding Video Tip: Nail Your Recessional

When you’ve said your vows and are walking back up the aisle, consider getting your loved ones involved by preparing to have them launch a bubble attack or shower you with flower petals. This can add a lot of depth and excitement to these recessional photos and videos, and it doubles as avoiding having attendees visible in the background with their arms folded awkwardly.

Fun Wedding Recessional - Lomax Wedding Films

Courtesy of Casey Lomax of Lomax Wedding Films

It’s also a really good idea to rehearse a “stop and kiss” at the last row during the recessional. This is a really popular photo op for your photographer and a great moment in your wedding video; however, sometimes in the excitement, the bride and groom can forget that it’s coming. It’s a little startling to have the photographer yell “stop and kiss!” and the photos and wedding video will come off as way more natural if it’s been rehearsed and planned for beforehand.

Stage a Mock Exit for Wedding Videos

This tip is all about the reception! A good wedding exit can make for awesome photos and wedding videos; however, sometimes waiting until the “real” exit isn’t the best idea, so a mock exit can be a great option for a seamless wedding video! This "mock" exit will allow you to get all of your guests on board with the plan before they’ve enjoyed the beverages too much and spent too much time dancing, and it will also allow you to avoid paying for extra hours of coverage from your media team.

As a cinematographer for luxury weddings in Las Vegas, I’ve seen days go off without a hitch – and then some stumbles along the way too! Following these tips for your wedding video from a cinematographer who has seen it all can help you avoid these common pitfalls that can often happen during a wedding.

You'll also set your photographers and videographers up for success to capture the very best moments of your day – and deliver the most amazing photos and videos that you can cherish for the rest of your life!