How to Shoot a Mormon Temple Wedding
If you’re a wedding photographer in Utah, you’re going to find yourself invited to the Salt Lake City Temple. Which you will enthusiastic about every. single. time. because no matter the season, the temple is always incredibly gorgeous. Still, it’s more than a photoshoot location. It’s important to keep in mind how important a temple wedding is in the Mormon religion. Be sure to dress conservatively, speak appropriately, and overall be respectful.
My very second wedding ever started at the Salt Lake Temple. Not being LDS myself, I didn’t know the routine. I shadowed other weddings at the temple beforehand to get an idea of what’s customary. But even if you can’t take the time out to do that, the process is outlined here 🙂
The majority of the bride and groom’s family and friends will gather outside a certain set of doors and wait for the couple to exit the building. Since you’ve hopefully met the couple through planning and engagement photos, look for people who look like they’re related to the bride and groom 😉 And then ask if they’re here for “___ & ___’s wedding.”
I recommend getting the number of a bridesmaid/groomsman from the couple in advance. That way, if you experience a hiccup, you have someone to call for help. The bride and groom themselves will likely be too busy to respond to you.
Use this time of waiting to meet the couple’s family and friends and take pictures of their excitement. And take a few photos of the temple itself if you don’t suspect you’ll have time to do so after family & bride and groom photos.
The cheapest and most convenient parking is through City Creek mall to the South. It’s free for the first two hours and then only $2 for every hour following.
Unlike traditional wedding ceremonies, LDS ceremonies are not photographed. The photographer is not invited inside the temple at all – even if the photographer is LDS, too. The photographer waits outside the temple and pictures are taken outside the building.
Wedding photography starts with the bride and groom exiting the temple. The Salt Lake Temple has completely separate doors for brides and grooms to exit. These are located toward the north-east corner of the Temple building.
You need to be ready to photograph this.
Pro tip: If you have a second shooter for the temple exit, have them capture the reactions of their waiting friends and family while you capture the bride and groom.
Once the bride and groom come outside, give everyone time to greet and congratulate each other before you begin formal group photos. It’s a joyful part of the time… Let everyone enjoy it!
Most temples have stairs on the exterior of the temple. Since families will be all present outside the temple, using these stairs is a great way to take group photos and have everyone’s face be seen.
Large groups are disorganized, and it’s your job to organize them. Speak kindly, but speak loudly and speak with confidence. I recommend starting with big groups and then going into smaller groups.
Many brides and grooms plan to do all family and wedding party photos at the temple. Confirm with your specific couple in advance about this.
After group photos, take advantage of the temple’s gorgeous grounds for couple portraits. No matter the weather, the Salt Lake Temple is always absolutely stunning.
There are a few locations in particular that you don’t want to miss:
a. The podium overlooking the front of the temple
b. Stair pictures
c. Inside stalls on top of the stairs
d. The temple doors
e. Olive tree bench (south west corner of the temple)
And there you have it! From there, many couples will leave the temple to either eat or prepare for their reception. You did it!