Planning a wedding ceremony - something that you don't get to do everyday! Good planning here will create such a vibe and great experience for your guests.

From my years of experience, I’ve gathered a few thoughts as to what details make up some important planning notes to think about when planning your wedding ceremony location, so with that said I thought it was time to share some here.

1. The location.

Firstly, I think the most important thing is picking a location that you and your partner both connect with as a place. Having that sense of connection is so important to feeling present on the day - and your guests will totally pick up on that. So, find a location that speaks to the both of you as a place, and you're one step closer. One of the more unique weddings I shot last year was Hayley and Rory's celebration at Willie the Boatman - a small brewery in St Peters. It was totally their vibe as a couple and you could feel it in the air.

2. The Sun.

If you're planning an outdoor wedding ceremony, the main factor which I think is worth considering here is;

The time of year you’re getting married and the sun/temperature at the time your planning on having your ceremony.

A sunny ceremony is great - but let’s not forget the harsh heat that the sun provides in those summer months. If you’re getting married in winter/shoulder seasons, there’s much more room to move here as the sun is a bit lower in the sky and not as intense as in those summer months. If you are getting married in summer - I’d be looking for a ceremony location that has some partial shade/dappled light in order to keep it cool for your guests and yourselves. For those wearing suits, these hot summer ceremonies can be like an unwanted trip to the sauna.

Another way to manage this is to think about what time of the day you're scheduling your ceremony for. In summer, the hottest part of the day is often around 2pm, so a full sun ceremony around then will be hot. Moving things a little later on in the day can help mitigate the heat and also has the additional benefit of improving the light for photos.

One last thing to consider is who will be facing into the sun depending on what side you choose to stand on. This is an important one to think about, and often gets over looked! The best light to shoot into as a photographer is the person who's face is in shadow (or backlit).

Gemma and Peter held their ceremony in the full sun at the Rose Gardens, however with their wedding being in early September, the sun provided some welcome warmth and some beautiful lighting. All about the timing!

3. Guest comfort.

Seats, or no seats? Shade or no?

Put yourselves in the shoes of the guests here - and try and picture yourself in the location either standing or sitting for 20-40 minutes. Often, elderly guests will really appreciate a seat and a seat which is close to the action - which means they can hear what is going on in the ceremony. Have a good think about the number of guests you’ll want seated vs standing - I like a good mixture of both and as a rough guide would probably go somewhere between 20-40 seats available at a ceremony location depending on the size of the wedding.

If it isn’t possible at your ceremony location to have dappled/shade over where the guests are, other options are available like small fans, parasols and fresh cold drinking water to keep your guests cool.

Trust me, they’ll appreciate the thought!

4. Wet weather alternatives.

We’re through La Nina, so hopefully this will be less of a thought coming up. With our wild and unpredictable weather though, it’s definitely worth considering how your chosen ceremony location will deal with wet weather. Locations like the Palm House in the botanic gardens have the best of both worlds - an indoor option in rain and a beautiful outdoor option if it’s sunny.

If there is no alternate spot in the ceremony location, think outside the box! Some reception venues can accomodate a wet weather backup plan if it needs to be called at the last minute.

5. Drinks for your guests.

In my eyes, nothing gets the mood going like a fresh glass of champagne for you and your guests immediately after (or even before) the ceremony. There’s nothing that makes the guests feel more included then thinking of the little things like this - not having to wait until the canapés or reception for a refreshment really sets a great tone for the evening to come.

With that, we conclude this blog post. If you have any more thoughts or questions about my ideas above, head on over to my inquiry page and let me know!