Cultural Case Studies: Catholic Weddings

Catholic weddings generally take place in churches, but there’s a lot of detail to cover for this type of wedding.

Typical Structure

  1. Processional
  2. Greeting/Opening Prayer
  3. First Reading
  4. Second Reading
  5. Priest Gospel
  6. Statement of Intentions/Consent
  7. Blessing of Rings
  8. Profession of Faith
  9. Universal Prayer
  10. Preparation of the Gifts/Sacrament
  11. Eucharistic Prayer
  12. Communion Rite
  13. Lord’s Prayer
  14. Nuptial Blessing
  15. Sign of Peace (Usually a Kiss)
  16. Communion
  17. Blessing
  18. Dismissal/Recessional


Before the Day

  • Ask bride and groom during talk-through for any special events/moments.
  • Encourage the bride and groom during the talk through to take a photograph at the end of the aisle (avoid cheering/loudness in church)

On the Day

  • Discuss pre-first kiss line with officiant
  • Is flash allowed in the church?
  • Where are you allowed to walk during the ceremony?
  • Respect the sanctity of the chapel.

Let There Be Light

If you’re unable to use flashes during the ceremony in a dimly lit church, we recommend using a wide-aperture prime lens to cover the action, at least whenever possible. If you can use a flash, which is rare, it can still be difficult to create adequate light. The ceilings are often too high for bouncing light; however, you can increase the flash power and zoom in the focus of the flash to get more light. The downside to using a higher flash power is a slower recycle time, which increases the time you have to wait between each shot. To help with this, consider using an external battery pack to shorten recycle times. Regardless, when using a flash, make sure the angle (if not pointed at the ceiling to bounce light) is top-down and high enough to avoid casting shadows across the guests/bridal party/etc.

Let Thy Limits Be Known

Make sure the bride and groom are aware of the church’s limitations so that they know what to expect in terms of the coverage you can provide for the ceremony. For example, regarding the center aisle, many churches limit photographers from getting closer than the last pew in which guests are seated. In other words, if guests are seated all the way back to the last pew, you will not be able to use the center aisle to get close-up shots of the bride and groom, at least not without a strong telephoto lens.