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Wedding Photography for Your Catholic Wedding Vows


A collage of wedding images at a Catholic church wedding venue; image overlaid with text that reads A Complete Guide: Wedding Photography for your Catholic Wedding Vows

The Catholic wedding ceremony is such a beautiful and sacred event – I said my own Catholic wedding vows several years ago, and since then I’ve had the honor of photographing other Catholic weddings. It awes and moves me every time! 

As powerful as the Catholic wedding vows are, sometimes the ceremony itself can be confusing for people who’ve never attended a Catholic wedding before, and this includes your wedding photographer! Ideally, you’d work with a photographer who has experience in capturing Catholic wedding vows, because the ceremony has a different rhythm and different high points from the typical Protestant wedding. But no matter what experience your wedding photographer has, this guide is designed to help you communicate crucial information to them. They’ll absolutely appreciate having you talk through these points, and you’ll see the difference in the end result of your photos!

What Makes Catholic Wedding Vows Unique?

Unlike Protestant wedding vows, Catholic wedding vows begin with a declaration of Consent, where the celebrant (the officiating Priest) asks the couple these questions:

“(Name) and (name), have you come here to enter into marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?”

“Are you prepared, as you follow the path of marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?”

“Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”

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After the couple answers these questions, they move on to the exchange of rings and the vows. There are several different Catholic wedding vows you can choose from, and you may decide to have the Priest recite them and reply with an ‘I do’, or to say them yourself. Here are two of the most popular Catholic wedding vows:

“I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband, I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”


“I, ______, take you, ______, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

Talk to Your Wedding Photographer about These Points

To get the most out of your wedding photography, make sure that your photographer is fully informed of your plans! Meet with them in the days leading up to the ceremony and make sure they have all the information they need to get you the best photos possible.

Restrictions in the church

Every church and every priest has different restrictions about photography. If you know their restrictions, be sure to communicate them, but also put your wedding photographer in touch with the Priest so that they can ask any questions directly.

Will there be a first look?

For couples who are getting married with Catholic wedding vows, I always suggest a first look. This is partially because the opportunity to take posed photos in a Catholic church is usually very limited, so it’s amazing to have time before the ceremony to get some of those group shots. It doesn’t hurt that first looks are always incredibly tender and romantic!

When is the kiss?

Unlike most of the weddings that your wedding photographer may have worked on before, which will typically have the kiss at the end of the ceremony, Catholic wedding vows have several opportunities for a kiss to happen.

Your celebrant might invite you to kiss right after the exchange of rings, or you might kiss at the end of the ceremony when the Priest announces you as a married couple for the first time. The kiss is such a big moment – the last thing you want is for it to take your photographer by surprise! Let them know ahead of time when in the ceremony to expect it.

Moments in the ceremony to capture your guests during the Catholic wedding vows

During your Catholic wedding vows, your photographer’s attention is going to be focused on you – as it should be. But are there moments in the ceremony where you are looking for photos that aren’t of you? Wedding photographers will usually snap some shots of your parents at some point during the ceremony. However, do you have loved ones who are bringing the Gifts for Mass? Doing readings? Acting as altar servers? It’s a good idea to communicate these moments to your wedding photographer; so they know to zoom out from the two of you!

Extra elements in the Catholic wedding ceremony

Planning to light a Unity Candle or present flowers to Mary after your Catholic wedding vows? Let your wedding photographer know. This is so that they can position themselves at the best angle in the church to get these shots.

Where will you be at the sign of the peace

When the celebrant announces the sign of the peace, who are you planning to greet? Are you going to greet the Priest, or are you headed to talk to your parents?

Photos at the end of the Catholic wedding ceremony

Usually, you aren’t permitted to spend too much time taking photos in the church after the ceremony. Often they only allow one posed photo of the wedding party at the end of the ceremony, before the recessional. Sometimes the celebrant will announce it, but not always. So, make sure that the wedding photographer is ready and expecting it.

Figure out how much time you have for photos after the ceremony before you have to leave for the reception. Should time be limited, talk to your photographer about how important different shots are to you. If you can’t have pictures with everyone at the church, which groupings are the most important? 

What if there’s no time or space to take photos before or just after the Catholic wedding vows? Think about creating a time dedicated to photographs with your family and wedding party before the reception begins. Definitely ask your photographer how much time to expect for group photos. You’ll be surprised at how much time it takes!

Remember Your Catholic Wedding Vows Forever

There you have it! My top tips for getting the most out of your wedding photography for your Catholic wedding vows. You can see that setting your photos up for success really does come down to one thing: communication. Make sure your photographer is fully prepared during and before and after your Catholic wedding vows. This will ensure that you receive incredible images that you’ll cherish forever!

If you’d like to talk more about how to elevate a Catholic wedding, or about wedding photography in general, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.