Framing wedding memories…. When should one step out of frame?
A celebrant should be right there for you during your ceremony. But sometimes your celebrant needs to be out of frame too. As a celebrant myself I always want to appear appropriate for your wedding. Elegantly dressed, well presented… and in some of your photos so you can remember your ceremony.
However, I realise you don’t want me in ALL your wedding photos from the ceremony. I like to step out of the frame sometimes. There are moments when a celebrant needs to step aside, and allow you to be the only ones in the frame.
When are these moments? Why does a celebrant need to be mindful of the moment? Being mindful of your memories is part of the role of celebrant.
Shireen and Aaron’s Wedding
Previously I wrote about this gorgeous Spicers Clovelly Estate wedding. Read the back story here.
With the focus on a couple and two children, it was definitely appropriate for me to step out of the frame at several opportune moments. The question that a celebrant juggles is how can I be supportive and yet not always right in the centre of frame?
When should a celebrant disappear from the wedding photos? Consider these very personal memories in your wedding ceremony, 7 moments when a celebrant should be out of the frame:
1. Groomsmen only
In my celebrant role, I often hang around with the fellas before the ceremony. The groomsmen and I work out things like
- Where to stand, in relation to the arbour, altar or floral decor.
- What order they are arranged
- Are their button hole flowers fixed on right… in a way that is firm, and will not cause a stray pin to spike someone later when hugs are happening.
- Where to put their hands
- Are the rings safe
- When and how to present the rings
Then it is time for me to step aside and allow the photographer to get some shots of the fellas.
2. When the bride arrives
Chatting with the groom before the ceremony keeps things casual and relaxed. It gives me time to relay some last minute tips, and have a few laughs to break the seriousness of the occasion. There is that poignant moment when a groom sees his bride for the first time. Suddenly I am not there, as he steps forward to greet her and those accompanying her down the aisle. Time for hand shakes with Dad or Mum, brother or son. Time for hugs and delight in seeing the bride for the first time in all her splendour. Time for taking in the emotion of the moment. Time to invite the bride into the wedding space.
I allow time.
3. While you say your vows
These words are gifts. Standing to the side or gently holding your microphone, I slide into the background. Of course there is a supporting role needed here, and I am right there…..but I make sure to be aware of where the photographer is standing, and adjust myself behind or out of the way.
Need I say more… this is that moment everyone looks forward to, the seal of a kiss. Step away celebrant!
5. Special rituals
In the story of Shireen and Aaron, we had designed a special vow to the children. So of course this was a photo opportunity for a family moment; united in one name at last.
6. Signing the wedding certificates
The signing is an official aspect of the wedding ceremony. So of course the celebrant needs to witness every signature. 5 people need to sign; the couple, two witnesses and of course the marriage celebrant too. And there are three certificates to sign. So that makes 15 signatures all up…..
Don’t worry, you don’t need to know beforehand who goes where. I will indicate to all where they need to place their squiggle. We want to keep it legal after all.
However after the last signature is in the bag…. I step aside for your group photo, and help arrange flowers, certificates, rings etc for the closeups. I always work in with the photographer.
7. Finally back down the aisle
Assisting with timing at this point can help you get the best photos. My celebrant role is not done yet. I help couple and attendants know when is the best moment to walk down the rows of chairs… creating the perfect photo opportunities along the way.
But there are of course times when the celebrant needs to be in the picture….not out of frame!!
When to be in the Frame
Thanks to Taylah of Tay and Francis for the stunning images in this story