Wedding receptions may be rife with fun and excitement, but it’s the ceremony that serves as the heartbeat of the big day. The first kiss, the reading of the vows, the exchanging of the wedding rings, the confetti toss—there’s nothing like these tender moments to evoke all the feels. A wedding may spill with emotion from beginning to end, but the feelings reach peak levels in a wedding ceremony—it doesn’t get more real than when you’re literally promising to spend the rest of your life with someone. And when those emotions are captured unfiltered on camera, what could be more priceless?
We’ve scoured the wedding ceremony universe to find some of the best captures of these swoon-worthy, tear-inducing, and heartfelt moments. Scroll down to see true love at its finest—we promise each one will hit you straight in the heart as much as they’ll excite you and heighten your anticipation for your own turn at the altar.
Seriously, what melts your heart more than a crying groom? Not much, we think, but there are a few close seconds—a bride’s emotional reading of her vows or her reaction to hearing her partner’s vows, the significance of slipping the wedding rings on each finger, the timeless beauty of religious ceremonies, and those intimate touches, coveted looks, and in between moments you just can’t put into words.
And while we love the sweet and tender moments, we also love the joyful—like a burst of laughter at the altar, the elation of the newlyweds following the first kiss, or that “just married” look they have etched across their faces as they exit the aisle hand-in-hand.
We’ve gathered it all—from excitement and joy to the heartfelt and compassionate, there’s some serious wedding ceremony magic right here that promises to tug on your heartstrings.
See more: 37 Romantic First Look Wedding Photos
When you both just can’t hold back your tears...
That feeling when you just tied the knot! These two show that it doesn’t get any better than this.
Sam and David just can’t let go of each other—and we adore every bit of their sweet embrace.
We love a bride and groom who know how to have a good time. This elated pair is basking in that just-married glow.
Serious couple goals right here: a romantic kiss while being swept off your feet.
Presenting the newlyweds—this couple is seriously ready for their happily ever after.
From tears to laughter, this vow reading in an intimate elopement is full of all the feels.
This couple used their best friend as their officiant; he collected letters from their loved ones and read them during their elopement as a sweet surprise, and the tears started to fall.
How sweet is love’s first newlywed kiss? A warm embrace by both bride and groom make it all the more passionate.
Double hand-holding topped with a tender kiss? This groom doesn’t want to let his bride go.
That heartfelt moment when you’re trying to find the words to express your love...
Nothing makes our hearts melt like a groom shedding a few tears.
A bride’s tears are equally moving. When captured in black and white, the emotion is immediately made timeless.
Religious ceremonies never fail to create the most intimate and sacred of moments.
The minute it becomes real: when you exchange rings. And a gorgeous cliff background doesn’t hurt when it comes to making the moment all the more magical, either!
We’re all about the fist pump when it says, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world for getting married to this girl.”
Did you know rain on your wedding day is supposed to bring good luck? It looks like chivalry isn’t dead—this bride certainly has one dashing gent!
A second kiss for good measure on the way out the door is always the right call—at least everyone but the adorable flower girl on the right thinks so!
There’s something magically romantic about a rose petal toss as bride and groom make their exit down the aisle.
That moment when dad gives away his little girl to one sweet groom...all the feels right here.
That feeling when you literally become connected...
We can’t get enough of the palpable joy and smiles behind this first kiss, making for such a beautifully raw moment.
Ceremonies aren’t always serious—infectious laughter epitomizes the love between this couple.
Find someone who looks at you the way this handsome groom looks at his beautiful new wife.
When you high-five your best friend because you’ve got the girl...
How fun is this couple and their ceremony exit? A human tunnel creates a sense of togetherness between newlyweds and guests.
Raining confetti, passionate embrace, stunning Greek isle backdrop—has anyone seen a first kiss as grand as this one?
This is a picture of paradise—both in the tropical beach setting and the pure happiness and excitement etched across the bride and groom’s faces.
That sole tear says it all—vows that tug at the heartstrings and will never be forgotten.
How adorable are these two? This high-five over (literally) tying the knot evokes elation that is more than contagious.
Post-vow tears at their finest. Emotional grooms get us every time.
With hands held high and happy faces, this makes for the perfect just-married shot!
We’re all for an epic first kiss, but there’s something so sweet about this couple's intimate moment.
Gold confetti showers and euphoric expressions make for the ultimate exit after a heartwarming ceremony.