Most of my clients like the idea of having photos of themselves with their parents and wedding party together on the morning on their wedding, in the time between the end of them getting ready and the moment they need to leave for the wedding service (or time to be interviewed by the registrars if they're getting ready at the same location that the civil ceremony is happening.) The trouble is though, weddings can be so frenetic at times and with so much to do, no matter how well planned the morning of a wedding is, a lot of people actually use up this time for further bride prep.
For Rebecca and Ryan's wedding however, this wasn't the case, and Rebecca was ready with a good 20 minutes to spare. We walked to the end of the garden in the blazing sun, and used a large area of open shade for these photos. I had visited the bride's parent's house before the wedding, so I knew that the option was there for us if the sun was too bright otherwise. It's often overlooked from the perspective of the bride and groom, but a really bright and sunny day doesn't make for the best wedding photos. It's doesn't mean you can't still get stunning wedding photos, but it does limit your options slightly. In very bright direct sunlight, you need to position yourself as a photographer, that the sun is behind the bride and groom. Placing the sun to either side of your subject leads to long shadows being drawn out over their face, which is very unflattering as it heightens the perception of facial features. Having the sun directly to the front of a person leads to long shadows again this time under their eyes, nose and chin which isn't a look anyone wants! Furthermore, having the subject of your wedding photos facing into the sun means that they're going to be squinting and seeing stars for some time! The other downside to really bright and direct sunlight is the amount of contrast it generates between a white wedding gown and a black wedding suit, especially when the groomsmen are wearing black tuxedos with silk accenting as you see here on the father of the bride.
The easiest answer to the problem of overbearing, direct sunlight is placing people in areas of open shade. For a start it's cooler than standing in direct sunlight, but aside from that, open shade is perfect for all sorts of portrait photography. The light is warm and even, picking out subtle detail that you'd lose in sunlight and not bleaching anything out.
For the back ground of this page, I used a photo of the tops of the trees that I took before these main photos were taken. Before committing to taking anything really important on a wedding day, I usually take a test photo, to make sure that the camera settings are correct. These photos used to end up in the recycling bin of my computer or wouldn't make it out of the camera, but more and more they end up providing themselves as background images in my wedding albums.