The first LDS temple wedding I’ve ever been to was my own. I was the first cousin, daughter and friend to get married. The second Latter-day Saint temple wedding I went to was one I was photographing. And it was kinda scary the first time. Mormon Temple Weddings are quite different than traditional ceremony weddings.
But as a full-time Utah wedding photographer for eight years and Latter-Day Saint temple-goer, it has become second nature to shoot these types of weddings. I forget that there are so many people that have never been to or shot a temple wedding.
How to Take Pictures at a LDS Temple Wedding
During the Ceremony
Unlike a traditional wedding, a LDS temple ceremony is not photographed. In fact, the photographer is not invited inside at all. Cameras are not allowed. “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have a current temple recommend may be invited as guests to a sealing ceremony in the temple. Wedding couples are asked to keep those guests to a relatively small number, primarily immediate family and a few close friends; this allows the service to remain reverent and sacred.” (source)
I always plan to get to the temple a little after the ceremony starts. Sometimes the exit can be as early as 15 minutes after the sealing starts, but it’s typically 40 minutes to an hour later. During the ceremony, there are many guests waiting outside. First, make sure they are there for your wedding. On busy days, there are usually many wedding parties. I take this time during the ceremony to photograph the waiting guests and the temple grounds. Even though photographers aren’t allowed to photograph the sealing, the special photos of the temple grounds will be the next best thing!
- Be there early
- Find YOUR wedding party
- Take pictures of the waiting guests
- Take pictures of the temple grounds (signs, temple, flowers, etc)
Be prepared for the temple exit. First, find out where the bride and groom will be exiting. Many temples have a separate bride and groom exit to remove the chaos from the entrance. Make sure the friends and family are there and your settings are correct. This will be the first time many of their friends and family will see them as a married couple. It’s as crucial as the first dip or ring exchange in a traditional wedding. After they exit, allow them a few minutes to hug their friends and family before gathering them up for photos.
- Find the exit
- Prepare the family and camera for it
- Capture the exit, first kiss & hugging all the family
After everyone has said their congratulations, it’s time for the group photos. The key to group photos is to stay organized. It’s a chaotic time. People everywhere. Everyone dreading photos. A few complaints, a few weird requests.There are steps at every temple. Find them. This is where you do all the HUGE group photos. Then, find the shade for the rest of the family pictures.
Luckily, Mormon Temple Weddings are almost always the same groups in the same order. Start with everyone, then the bride’s side, then the groom’s side, and finish with the wedding party or friends.
Working with Others
Photographers EVERYWHERE. Other wedding parties everywhere. People going to the temple everywhere. This is not YOUR venue. You have to share it with everyone who is there. There WILL be people in the background. There will be other photographers in the prime locations. Mentally prepare and create back up plans.
Bride and Groom
In ideal situations, I plan my bridal session at the temple before the weddings so we can have a more controlled situation. Better light, less people and enough time. This isn’t always possible. Plan to take bride and groom photos after the group photos. Bring a wide angle lens to make sure you can get the full temple shots in the background. Do a little googling or Pinterest-ing in to find the best spots at the temple you are shooting. Every temple has the go-to spot.
The temple is a peaceful, sacred place. Be respectful to the members of the LDS church that hold this place so special. Try not to yell, or be too loud. Dress appropriately. Share the space.
Kylee Ann Studios specializes in Temple Weddings in Utah and all around the United States!
With over 300+ weddings and 13+ years of experience all together, we have seen and problem-solved everything you can imagine. We have team, a system and an expert dedicated to every part of the process (emails, editing, shooting, social media, scheduling etc). Because we work as a team instead of overwhelmed individuals trying to do too much at once, we promise quality work and efficiency every step of the way. We also promise various price points with same level of quality.
At Kylee Ann Studios we have experience shooting at every Latter Day Saint Temple in Utah, and LDS temples all over the United States. We have traveled to the Seattle Washington Temple, Portland Oregon Temple, Kona Hawaii Temple, Dallas Texas Temple, Los Angelos Temple, San Diego Temple, Newport Beach Temple, Alaska Temple and more!
photographer | educator + speaker | community builder
Kylee started Kylee Ann Photography 8 years ago, and has since grown from a one woman amateur show to a full associate team. We shoot 50-75 weddings a year, and thrive on kindness and service. After a year of teaching Intro to Photography at the local technical college, she discovered that helping other entrepreneurs create thriving businesses is what fires her up! She hosts semi-annual Kylee Ann Sleepovers all over the US, speak at conferences and teach online courses about running a small business and marketing.