THE CATHOLIC WEDDING (Toughus Spirit-tu Sanctus)
Can be very tough to shoot.  And rightfully so!  Not in a condescending way but they are an old school liturgical church and have rules. In modern terms, you are trying to deal with the TEA PARTY.  And it’s not the churches fault since there were a few photographers who showed severe ignorance and disrespect during several Weddings causing many of the parishes to not allow flash and restrict movement of the next photographer.  It spread and most of the Catholic Churches followed suit and adapted no-flash rules during the mass.

Several of your predecessors brought this on and we suffer for it. Fortunately with the newer equipment, better lower light ability and higher ISO cleanliness, more solutions are available with improved techniques. 

My purpose is to tell it like it is and prepare you.  Knowing the customs, traditions and sheer craziness at times about all religions gives you an edge over the other shooters who did not take the time to learn.  This builds confidence in all of your customers.

Often, more so than not, the actual Wedding is encompassed and contained in a FORMAL MASS.  If there was no Wedding and just a MASS, you would not be standing up in your Church popping shots just as the Reverend Bishop or Priest was orationalizing.  

A MASS is a religious function and the rules are deep and structured.  The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The importance of the Roman bishop is largely derived from his role as the traditional successor to Saint Peter, to whom Jesus gave the keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing", naming him as the "rock" upon which the church would be built. 

The current Pope, recently received the highest accolades from his flock and from other religious communities. He is very popular and known as a man of the people.  Pope Francis, was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.  The current head is followed by an endless list of Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Laymen, Altar Staff, Angels, Saints, and a Butler who stole his private papers.  He got 18 months and was forgiven at Christmas but was booted out of the plush Vatican and told to get another job and a place to live.

Adding to that, today because of the economy, many couples handle a lot of their own wedding planning. When one of the individuals is Catholic, this can include making arrangements and there are rules and conditions. In some cases very strict rules. Read on. It's not like just walking in and booking the hall. 

The Catholic Marriage Website recommends the following:   Quote:  Catholic dioceses in the United States have policies that require a preparation period of six months to one year for couples who want to be married in the Church. The preparation includes a contact with the parish in which they want to have their wedding. It’s a good idea to get your date on the parish calendar as soon as possible. It’s also important to talk with the parish priest or deacon or pastoral minister about what the parish allows and expects in a celebration. It is also possible that the parish can offer specific help and resources, such as a person to help you plan and coordinate the event. Be sure to bring your check book.

We are now adding another layer to the Wedding, the critical Church shots might wind up under new direction.  I booked a shoot once where the Bride and Groom got so fed up with the rules and regulations, they cancelled the Church Wedding and we had a beautiful ceremony in a modern non-denominational Church.  And so much for the liturgical sciences making things clearer and easy, sometimes getting married can be more for others than for oneself.  I recommend offering a City Hall Shoot as an option if they decide to elope.  It's no different from the millions who do it in Vegas.  And it can be a great fill in service with recommendations from City Hall.  

The Catholic Church provides three different forms of celebrating the Rite of Marriage. When two Catholics are marrying, the celebration will normally take place within a Mass. The second form, which does not include a Mass, is used when a Catholic marries another baptized Christian. There is a third form, which also does not include a Mass, for a Catholic marrying someone who is a non-Christian. You should choose one of these forms in conversation with the priest or deacon who will witness your marriage vows.

I figure you have enough sense to sort this one out.  Don't be an obstructionist to the Mass part of the ceremonies, or start moving equipment, make any noise during the Mass, pop a flash, or get too close to the altar and be prepared to get thrown out if you do something stupid.  

Based on today’s headlines, with the Church under legal embarrassing issues because of some wayward Priests don’t even make jokes about it.  On the other hand, at one of the conventions, I repeat the story of a Priest of goodly and Godly proportion literally verbally manhandle a photographer off the dais and out the door when he became public nuisance number one.

A monstrance also known as ostensorium is the vessel used in the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, and Anglican churches to display the consecrated Eucharistic host, during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. 

Created in the medieval period for the public display of relics, the monstrance today is usually restricted for vessels used for hosts. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare, meaning "to show".  In Latin, the monstrance is known as an ostensoriumnce

On Line Availability: Two tone, bright and satin finish Gold plated monstrance with oxidized silver detailing. Stones are red with enamel crosses on face.  All purpose luna.  (Item #*KO-K682) $1,695.00

The most Holy physical part of the Catholic Church is usually the altar so be careful setting up shots so as not to infringe on its space, that’s a NO-NO. 

The ball object is placed in the center of the holder and that states the Host is part of the ceremony.  Don’t climb on the altar to get the Brides and Grooms faces during the ceremony. Stage the shot after from a lesser angle avoiding the altar with fast and long glass.  This is a very sensitive and meaningfull object in the Catholic religion.

If it is a full Mass and Wedding, be prepared with long, fast glass and definitely VR or IS lenses from a distance or from the balcony. Remember to color correct (white balance) before hand if you are digitally inclined. With slower film you’ll need faster glass and fast film. 

Arrange all the formals for before mass time or after the mass and ceremony. That’s when a helper and pre-planning mean the most. Remote triggers for additional flashes, and maybe the helper shooting topside from the balcony. It’s a heck of a lot easier if you want the Alter for the backdrops either before or after with a helper. 

Attitudes can differ amongst Priests. Some are fantastic and easy to work with, showing much patience and once in a while you’ll think you walked into one of the disciples having a bad a day because his Canonization hadn’t been approved. Lately though since the bad publicity, I find they are a little more flexible since congregation numbers and funding is down.  

A meeting at the Church, with the lights lit as it will be, way in advance of the Wedding with the Priest and the couple to familiarize yourself with the ground rules. Ask to shoot a few test shoots, make up a shoot card with the ambient lighting, is  a great idea with some common sense thrown in. The day of the wedding is not a cool idea.  I have with a donation to the poor box received a little leeway during the event.  Make friends , if you do it right and become a friend of the Church it can mean referrals.

Usually but not always, the families of the bride and groom sit on opposite sides of the aisle, which is usually covered by a white runner that extends to the altar. Some do not use the runner but decorate the pews with flowers, some churches do not. 

1- The seating processional if there is one, gets the grandparents, parents and then bride’s mother. 

2- Then the rest appear from the sides, the groom and groomsmen or they might be escorting bridesmaids. 

3- The flower girl and ring bearer follow them.

4- Then the Bride and her Father enter. The music starts. 

5- In some ceremonies the light candles, rings are exchanged, soft word spoken tears flow.

6- Simple enough but most Catholic weddings also have Mass at the same time or morning, usually Saturday and now add an hour to the program. With a MASS specified, some churches will have the MASS processional and then the Wedding.

All the rules in one place.

You have not lived till you attended a small intergalactic Star Trek Wedding theme.  In 50 years in this game I think I might have seen it all, from nude weddings, to mud hole rallies, high Cardinal Mass in a very famous Cathedral to two people, a jeep and a justice of the peace, a thank you and they drove off to go camping.

Aboard the Enterprise 1701A - William Shatner would be proud. It was a blast, well many blasters, and the Ferengi were the bartenders, the Klingon Groom was scary and the Romulon Bride looking radiant in her costume from two pounds of glitter, as were the guests. 

It brought tears to your eyes when they crossed their bat'leth  curved longsword with four points and handholds on the back. It was designed and created by Star Trek: The Next Generation visual effects producer Dan Curry for the Star Trek franchise.

It is mainly used by the Klingons as martial arts-style swords.. Replicas of bat'leths are widely available as collectibles and are used in costuming. 

They have been also used in crimes. Debates on the legality of the weapon differs between countries.  You might invest in “KLINGON for DUMMIES” on Amazon for $15.95.  T

The JP who officiated was in a Star Trek Academy uniform which actually was a pair of pajamas with some sewn on patches.  It well well till the two buttons on the back flap fell off. Not a pretty sight.

Romulon beer (Budweiser with food coloring) and some very strange looking food prepared by the replicators (Micro waves).  The Pterodactyl  (Turkey) wings done to a crisp in a delightful sauce from the Planet Habaneracol near Pente Ruhas was guaranteed to produce some Super Novas the next day.  Timed to coincide with a Star Trek event, I had expected to see Spock, Bones and the "I need more time" guy to pop up.

Klingon Wedding Ceremony Script
Lady Of House -  With fire and steel did the gods form the Klingon Heart.  So fiercely did it beat. So loud was the sound that the Gods cried out... 

"On this day we have brought forth the strongest heart in all the heavens. None can stand before it without trembling at its strength". But then the Klingon heart grew weak, its steady rhythm faltered, and the gods said... "Why have you weakened so? We have made you the strongest in all of creation”.

And the Heart said:  Groom: Walks in and says  “I am Alone”.

Lady of House - And the gods knew that they have erred, so they went Back to their forge and brought forth... A second Heart.

Bride walks in, sword bearer walks towards groom holding swords out and the Bride and Groom take Swords.

Lady of House - But the second heart beat stronger than the first, and the first was jealous of it’s power. OOOps…..
(Groom Strikes center of Brides Blade)(Bride Blocks, and parries to Grooms throat - Gently resting)

Lady of House - Fortunately the second heart was tempered by wisdom.

Bride: "If we join together, no force can stop us” and Swords are given back to sword bearer. 

Lady of House - And when the two heats began to beat together 
Bride and Groom embrace both arms.

Lady of House - They Filled the Heavens with a terrible sound. For the First time the gods knew fear. They tried to flee, but it was too late...  The Klingon Hearts destroyed the gods who created them and turned the heavens to ashes. And to this day No-one can oppose the beating of two Klingon Hearts... Not even me.

Lady of House - (Groom) Son of (father) Does your heart beat only for this woman? 
Groom: “Yes"

Lady of House - And will you swear to join with her and stand with her against All who would oppose you?  
Groom: "I swear”

Lady of House -  (Bride) Daughter of (mother) Does your heart beat only for this man? 
Bride: “Yes"

Lady of House - And will you swear to join with him and stand with him against All who would oppose you? 
Bride: "I swear"

Lady Of House - Then let all present here today know that this man and this woman are married! 
Bride and Groom Kiss, Groom gives an elegant hug to lady of house.Bride: "My Lady" (turning towards the lady of the House - short bow)

Lady of House - And welcome to the house of (family) my Daughter  and Bride gives an elegant hug to lady of house.  The "Groomsmen" Gently beat the couple with ritual maces.

NOTE:  Brought tears to my eyes

Various Guests and attendees at the Ceremony


Cakes by the Borg Bakery



The Bahá'í Faith is the youngest of the world's independent religions. Its founder, Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahá'ís as the most recent in the line of messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

The central theme of Bahá'u'lláh's message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society. God, Bahá'u'lláh said, has set in motion historical forces that are breaking down traditional barriers of race, class, creed, and nation and that will, in time, give birth to a universal civilization. The principal challenge facing the peoples of the earth is to accept the fact of their oneness and to assist the processes of unification.

One of the purposes of the Bahá'í Faith is to help make this possible. A worldwide community of some five million Bahá'ís, representative of most of the nations, races and cultures on earth, is working to give Bahá'u'lláh's teachings practical effect. Their experience will be a source of encouragement to all who share their vision of humanity as one global family and the earth as one homeland.

Basic Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh taught that there is one God whose successive revelations of His will to humanity have been the chief civilizing force in history. The agents of this process have been the Divine Messengers whom people have seen chiefly as the founders of separate religious systems but whose common purpose has been to bring the human race to spiritual and moral maturity.

Humanity is now coming of age. It is this that makes possible the unification of the human family and the building of a peaceful, global society. Among the principles which the Bahá'í Faith promotes as vital to the achievement of this goal are

 the abandonment of all forms of prejudice

√ assurance to women of full equality of opportunity with men

√  recognition of the unity and relativity of religious truth

√ the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth

 the realization of universal education

 the responsibility of each person to independently search for truth

 the establishment of a global commonwealth of nations

Basic Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh

Bahá'u'lláh taught that there is one God whose successive revelations of His will to humanity have been the chief civilizing force in history. The agents of this process have been the Divine Messengers whom people have seen chiefly as the founders of separate religious systems but whose common purpose has been to bring the human race to spiritual and moral maturity.

Humanity is now coming of age. It is this that makes possible the unification of the human family and the building of a peaceful, global society. Among the principles which the Bahá'í Faith promotes as vital to the achievement of this goal are

Baha’i marriage is union and cordial affection between two parties. They must, however, exercise the utmost care and become acquainted with each other’s character. This eternal bond should be to foster harmony, fellowship and unity and to attain everlasting life - Baha’i Writings. 
Wow, pretty heavy, especially the everlasting part...

Rules: The Baha’i House of Worship is reserved for private prayer and meditation, or for public services of worship. Weddings may not be held within the House of Worship itself. However, weddings may be conducted outdoors in the Temple grounds, with bridal couples often arranging to say prayers in the Temple either before or after their wedding ceremony.

Weddings held in the grounds must be Baha’i weddings, whether or not the bridal couple are Baha’i. The marriage must be celebrated by a legally authorized marriage celebrant. Learn the words flash fill, and daylight white balance. You will be shooting lots of white clothing in broad daylight. 

You will most likely find it very serene and generally I have to watch myself or I will fall asleep at them, the softness, ease, spirituality, the gardens and a warm sun…..serene divineness….snore….