The wedding recessional


“Walking back down the aisle, with my new husband – that’s what being married means to me”

I love this quote from one of my Brides a couple of years ago.

That moment when the couple walk down the aisle, arm in arm, as husband and wife, is a very emotional part of the wedding day – the wedding recessional.

It’s the first time their family and friends get to see them close up.

It’s a mixture of emotions. Happiness, excitement, relief (that the ceremony’s over!) and possibly more.

It’s a time that I try and get the couple to savour. To slow down. Not rush down the aisle to get it out of the way. To look at each other, look at the faces of their family and friends and see how much they’re enjoying this special moment.

Although it sounds simple, it can prove to be quite a challenging shot to get for a photographer. It’s not unknown for couples to have an unusually strong desire to look at their feet, as though they’ve suddenly sprouted on the ends of their legs! I have to remind couples that they’ve walked with no problem for many years, so just relax, take in the atmosphere and enjoy the moment.

On more than one occasion I’ve had an iPad wielding guest step out into the aisle blocking my view of the couple! At one wedding I had just one photograph where the Bride and Groom were looking up and smiling – unfortunately at that precise moment one of the guests in an aisle seat decided he’d take a selfie with the couple in the frame and pulled a stupid face. But there’s nothing I can do about things like that.

Sometimes the couple will spot someone’s face amongst the throng and react. That’s the sort of thing that I watch out for and try to anticipate.

As well as focusing (sorry, no pun intended!) on the couple sometimes I’ll also be able to include a wider shot as well. To show the context of the recessional, the Church or the venue. The architecture. The decorations.

When couples relax, take the time to enjoy those first steps as husband and wife, that’s perfect. The smiles on couples faces are natural, not contrived. The emotion’s genuine – that’s why I love these moments.

Here are just a few examples from some of the hundreds of weddings I’ve photographed ….

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Documentary wedding photography

If you like the idea of documentary wedding photography then please get in touch to discuss your requirements. I’m delighted to be a recommended photographer for a number of leading Dorset wedding venues and would love to hear about the plans for your special day. Get in touch with me now for a no-obligation chat.

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About Ian

Ian is one of Dorset’s leading wedding photographers. Based in Bournemouth and with over 20 years of experience photographing weddings across Dorset and Hampshire, Ian’s the perfect choice for couples who want unobtrusive, discreet wedding photography that captures the emotions of their special day. Read more about his own personal style of documentary wedding photography on this website.

Proud to be a recommended photographer for a number of leading Dorset wedding venues. 


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Blog post: The wedding recessional

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Documentary wedding photography across Dorset and Hampshire

Ian Hamilton - ianH photography - 07575 567408