Mormon wedding ceremonies are one of the few ceremonies that do not allow photographs or video during the actual ceremony. In fact, only practicing “temple-worthy” members that are invited by the couple are even allowed to attend the ceremony. It is considered a sacred moment between the bride, groom, and their Heavenly Father to be witnessed only by practicing members of the church.
Instead of thinking about this as a limitation, we can use this to our advantage by looking for the right expressions and moments during their exit from the temple. This is the couple’s first step into the world as a married couple after an emotional and spiritual ceremony; and this is evident in their facial expressions and body language. Furthermore, if a close family member was not able to attend the ceremony, this could be an great opportunity to capture an emotional moment.
You might think that such a moving event would need very little directing as a photographer, but there are a few things to keep in mind. On any given Saturday at a popular temple, there are up to a hundred couples getting married; so you can imagine how many family members will be around waiting for exits. Although the temples have waiting rooms; and they announce upcoming temple exits, not all family members are always staying aware of the timing. As the photographer, it’s important to be aware so that, if needed, you can be the one to gather everyone around the door when the time comes. You can imagine the moments you would miss if the couple exited the temple to find their families and friends dispersed around the temple grounds.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, if undirected, these family members and friends will crowd around the exit in no particular order and with no organization. It’s important that you make sure the immediate family is in the front, and that they leave room for the bride and groom to walk. Lastly, don’t be afraid to be creative and fun. The couple might appreciate a creative exit like the one orchestrated in the image above (shot at the Salt Lake City Temple with a Canon 40D with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM at ISO 100 f/5.6 1/1000).
Another wonderful aspect of Mormon weddings is the beautiful structures we as photographers have to “play” with for our couples and group shots.