Whether you have already chosen the date and location for your wedding ceremony or still deciding, there are plenty of questions that you need to ask the person conducting your ceremony including a few about wedding photography. I asked friends, family and my past couples what questions they asked when planning their own wedding ceremonies. Everyone was very generous in sharing questions and experiences, so much so that I had a tough time narrowing down a top ten. Instead I settled on the top twenty questions to ask whoever is presiding over your service!
1. Can you talk me through what to expect before and during the ceremony?
2. What do we need to provide before the wedding (for example, birth certificate)?
3. Are we required to take any premarital or religious classes prior to the ceremony?
4. How much does the ceremony cost?
5. How long does the service take? The average length of a church wedding ceremony is 45 minutes, however, ceremonies in a registry office can be just 20 minutes long.
6. How many guests can the church/venue accommodate during the service?
7. Where will everyone stand/sit during the ceremony…bridal party, readers, etc?
8. What are the legalities? A friend explained how her ceremony took place in a 700 year old chapel which was bound by ancient rules and customs. Written permission was required from all members of the choir/organist in order to have a videographer. Fortunately, this didn’t cause a problem. Always check about copyright of any music needed, ask if venues have legal permission and relevant licenses to play the songs that you would like.
9. Can guests park at the ceremony location? “It may sound a bit practical but it’s handy to know about parking as the church we used had people to direct parking and they kept areas clear for us to arrive and leave.”
10. How can we personalise the ceremony? There are often opportunities for you to make your service personal to you from customising your order of service to writing your own wedding vows. Remember to ask for ideas and examples.
11. Is there another ceremony booked immediately before or after ours?
12. For an outdoor ceremony, what is the backup plan in case it rains?
13. Are there musical instruments available for use such as a piano or organ? Are there any bylaws or restrictions on when the church bells can be rung?
14. Can we have a rehearsal and who should attend?
15. Are there any photography or videography restrictions? Do you allow the use of flash photography? Some registrars or vicars object to the use of flash photography and have strict rules about when photos cannot be taken such as during the vows or at the signing of the register. Always check beforehand so that you and others can be prepared.
16. Where and when can photos be taken?
17. What is the cancellation policy?
18. What time before the ceremony can we have access to decorate?
19. Can we take our flowers from the ceremony venue to the reception venue?
20. Are we allowed to throw confetti?
21. And one more for luck and my personal favourite, which came up more than once…can you have tissues at the ready? “We had someone leave a bottle of water and some tissues in the front pew of the bride’s side of the church as bridemaids don’t have pockets or handbags!”