Readers share their greatest sudden wedding ceremony pictures

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Readers share their best unexpected wedding photos

Inspired by Alix Strauss’ article in which wedding photographers shared their favorite wedding photos, we asked readers to submit their own candid, unscripted photos of their special day. Here is a selection of her cherished moments (all from weddings long before social distancing hit us). From an explosion of laughter at the altar to an unexpected session with the dress (and tuxedo), these photos prove that the best moments are sometimes unplanned.

Uncle Jack was more than a surrogate grandfather, he was an amazing friend to me too. He and Aunt Joan married when they were both 20 or younger – they fell in love while he was undergoing basic training en route to European theater during World War II, and she was a teenager who lived in Beloit, Wisconsin. They were married for over 60 years and really in love all the time. Our wedding in 2013 was their last trip together when Aunt Joan died about a year later. And this could have been the last photo of the two that was taken together. It shows them sharing an intimate moment none other than tens of thousands of times before. The closeness and love of their relationship is ambitious and was beautifully documented at our wedding.

Matthew Meyer, North Garden, Va.

We were married to a dear family friend. When we were pronounced husband and wife, she stated that she was taken over by the American Management Ministries instead of the American Marriage Ministries. An explosion of laughter followed.

Molly Jo Scott, Raleigh, NC

We visited our sheep on our farm shortly after our wedding ceremony. It is impossible for me not to greet our sheep when I see them, so I bent down for a moment to be on their level. One of our month old lambs quickly became interested in my flowers. I didn’t expect that, but who can blame her – it was a beautiful bouquet!

Carrie Water, Gardiner, NY

Jesse and I had just had our first look near the top of Vail Mountain, Colorado. We had already got some nice photos with the mountains in the background. As we climbed to the top of the gondola that was taking us down the mountain to our ceremony, we noticed a small, old chair lift that happened to be running. The elevator operator was happy to let us ride. It was a wonderful opportunity to just sit together, look at the beauty around us and take in this special moment. Our photographers sat in the chair in front of us and, without our knowledge, snapped this sincere shot – which ended up becoming one of our favorites of the day.

Stephanie Margulies, Vail, Colo.

Recognition…Kate Thompson, Betty Clicker Photography

Our photographer took this photo after taking some formal family group pictures before our ceremony. As the only grandparent from both sides to attend our wedding, Buba was a guest of honor, and I think it’s great that this picture captures a private moment between grandchildren and grandmother.

We had just taken our portraits and headed back to the huts to prepare for our ceremony. The wind was blowing in the right direction at just the right time to result in this dramatic, romantic photo. My veil blew off my head about 10 seconds later.

Kaia Mattioli, Somerville, Mass.

Grandma Alice is not a shrinking violet. This photo perfectly captures her irrepressible, playful spirit. It was taken shortly after the bouquet was thrown. Grandma threw herself, grabbed the bouquet and fell over. The crowd gasped audibly. Luckily, a bridesmaid caught grandma before going all the way down. This is the winning round.

Emily Billings, Takoma, Washington, DC

My maid of honor and I held hands and enjoyed the moment of my wedding celebration together. Except that none of us have a memory of that moment and would never have known about it if this picture hadn’t been taken. We did what was so natural to us in our friendship that our brain never thought of cataloging it as salvable on a day full of remarkable moments. And yet it is one of our favorite pictures of the day.

Oyin Hansmeyer, Memphis

We were saddened to learn that my husband’s sister, Sara, would be sent to Afghanistan weeks before our wedding, and we worked to include her in our celebration even though she could not physically be with us. Ultimately, my husband and I had a life-size clipping of Sara in her Air Force suits so we could include her in family photos. Sara also wrote a lovely letter that our priest shared during our ceremony. Due to the time difference and insecure internet service in Afghanistan, we weren’t sure if we could speak to Sara on the day of the wedding. She happened to call on FaceTime when the rest of the bridal party started taking photos with Flat Sara. Our photographer took a picture of my mother-in-law with Sara showing her doppelganger via video call. It remains one of my most precious memories of our wedding.

Samantha Winter McAlpin, Tempe, Ariz.

I love this picture of us on our wedding day because it perfectly captures what our relationship was and will be: full of hard work and lots of laughter. We were exhausted after a long day but had the best time of our lives. When you are blessed enough to marry your best friend, every moment is a special gift.

Niksha Davis, Union, NJ

Our spring wedding on May 13, 2017 was a cold, uninterrupted downpour from morning to evening. My husband and I went to the photo booth in our outdoor tent reception where the grass was already an unrecognizable mud pit thanks to the rain. When our photographer snapped away, I thought my husband wanted to romantically immerse me only to find that we were both actually sliding uncontrollably on the mud. And yes, the dress was irretrievably ruined. Best memory of the night.

My husband and I had two weddings – a Hindu ceremony in India and a backyard wedding in California. A Hindu wedding celebrates not only the meeting of two people but also two families, and our Hindu wedding involved many rituals that our families were involved in. My husband and I often notice that our mothers must be distantly related because they seemed to instantly bond, even though they came from two very different cultures. At our wedding in California, our amazing photographers captured that sweet, sincere moment our mothers held hands as they left our ceremony. For my husband and me it is an image that not only represents our love and union, but also that of our families so perfectly.

Molly Doctors Rajashekhar, Orinda, California,

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After getting married at Tuileries Garden, we wandered around Paris in our wedding attire for fun. It felt like the whole city was celebrating our anniversary with us. Everywhere we were greeted with curiosity, smiles and good wishes. And to top it off, the Google Street View car passed us on the way to Montmartre. We found the images on Google Maps after arriving home a few weeks later.

Donn Denniston, Brooklyn

My husband and I take my great-aunt to dinner for our weekly family dinner with the extended family. One of the things I love most is chatting to her about how we both miss my grandmother, who passed away far too early. I didn’t know when this happened, but I’m so glad our photographer took my great-aunt admiring the photo of one of her dear friends (my grandmother) that we both wished we’d been there that day would.

Connie Wong, London

My veil took up the entire bridal suite. As my bridesmaids helped unfold it, I turned and saw all six lift it over their heads and laugh like it was one of those elementary school parachute games. This was right before the ceremony so we were pepped up and a little silly. After a round of “Super Bass” a few minutes later, we could get started.

Georgia M. Brodsky, Milton, Mass.

My 4 year old nephew spent my entire wedding day asking me, “When do people get crazy?” every 20 minutes. The party was all he cared about. I promised him it would happen at the reception after dinner. He was so excited. Then, in the middle of dinner, we turned and saw this. In the middle of the noisy ballroom. Unfortunately, he was put back to bed in his hotel room and missed the “madman”. It still makes me laugh … poor child!

Erin Frey, Cincinnati

We were married in a redwood grove just outside of Yosemite and I let my lined train pull on the bare forest floor as I walked down the aisle. When our parents greeted us at the end of the ceremony, the verge had gone up and down the aisle, gathering plenty of pine cones and small branches! I’m kind of a New Yorker who doesn’t need any help from anyone, but our parents, stepparents, and my husband grabbed my dress and together began to bring the woods back from my train to the woods. This photo with all hands on my dress shows a level of spontaneous cooperative support from our families that I never knew I wanted, at a time when I needed it most, when we were together.

Sosia Bert Graham, Brooklyn

The families of the bride and groom perform a series of rituals on the way to the Hindu wedding ceremony. In a playful, fun tradition, the mother of the bride greets the groom by trying to grab his nose. The gesture is a reminder to keep the groom humble to avoid “having your nose in the air”. In our case, my overzealous mother Loretta Chiavetta let her competitiveness get the most out of her by grabbing groom Sagar Parikh’s nose a little too quickly. This photo captures the shock of the groom’s mother, Rina Parikh. She was very impressed with her son’s new mother-in-law!

Diana Adele Chiavetta, New York

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