35 Heartwarming Wedding Ceremony Moments That Will Give You All the Feels

These emotional photos will melt your heart.

Bride and groom crying at the altar

Photo by Safeena Noah

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 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 peak during the 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 by a great photographer, what could be more priceless?

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. While we love a good posed photo, these natural shots are must-haves that will be cherished forever.

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.

Sentimental Vows

ceremony

Photo by Chi-Chi Ari Love

Marleni couldn't help shedding a few tears as she read her vows to Ezinne. Unplanned, in each of their vows they talked about the day they first met and the major impact it had on them.

Contagious Happiness

Grooms holding hands at the altar smiling

PHOTO BY LOGAN COLE WEDDINGS

The look of pure joy on Derek and Jake's faces during their Palm Springs ceremony is infectious. There was not a dry eye during their vow exchange, and it's easy to see why.

Help From a Handkerchief

crying

Photo by For Love & Light Photography

This pair made ample use of their handkerchief, which was passed back and forth between the two of them during their ceremony. They just couldn't keep a dry eye!

Heartfelt Hug

couple

Photo by Elizabeth Wells Photography

Marvin and Serena held each other in a warm embrace after exchanging rings and sharing their first kiss as newlyweds. The stunning view of Moab that backdropped their ceremony creates a scene straight out of a movie.

Holding Hands

Grooms hold hands and embrace during wedding ceremony
Photo by Cloud Catcher Studio


These two holding hands and snuggling up close during their ceremonial reading is the epitome of love. Sam and David just can’t let go of each other—and we adore every bit of their sweet embrace.

Recessional Dance

Bride and groom walking back up the aisle after ceremony

Photo by Sarah Joy Photo

Alix and Anwar's ceremony concluded with a cheerful song as they recessed back up the aisle. These two were all grins as they made their way under falling flower petals to the tune of Kerwin Du Bois’s “Too Real.”

One More Kiss

first kiss

Photo by Ashlyn Cathey Photography

When the couple just has to stop in the middle of the aisle for another kiss. There wasn't one bit of Pichon and Marcelle's wedding that was short on the romance.

Celebratory Laughter

Photo by Bastian Najich

We love a bride and groom who know how to have a good time. This elated pair is basking in that just-married glow.

A Glimpse of the Bride

groom crying

Photo by Alixann Loosle

Sometimes the first look is best kept for this very moment. The blissful sight of his soon-to-be-wife, Christina, heading down the aisle had Corey in tears.

Hands to the Sky

Photo by Braden Young Photo

Presenting the newlyweds—this couple is seriously ready for their happily ever after. We love the energy and excitement in this photo.

Laughing and Crying

Photo by Adventure Instead - Elopement Photographers & Guides

From tears to laughter, this vow reading is the best kind there is. Safe to say this intimate elopement is full of all the feels.

Tears of Joy

bride crying

Photo by Porterhouse Los Angeles

We love the juxtaposition of a smiling groom and officiant with a tear-dabbing bride. Though it was only a two-person wedding, there was definitely no shortage of emotion during Candice and Matthew's hilltop nuptials.

Letters From Loved Ones

Photo by Lauren Nicole Photography

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. As anyone might imagine, the tears started to fall.

Second Cry of the Day

Groom wiping tears at wedding ceremony altar

PHOTO BY JAMI LAREE JESKEY 

Danielle and Rodney had an incredibly emotional first look earlier in the day, which had both parties crying on sight. We just love the fact that Rodney teared up again for his lovely bride during the ceremony.

Readings From the Soul

Groom wiping tears at wedding altar with bride

PHOTO BY KAMI OLAVARRIA

There wasn't a dry eye in sight while Brogen and David professed their love for one another. A combination of personally written vows and the groom's recital of a Plato passage on soulmates did these two in at the altar.

Groom Catches Bride's Tears

Groom wipes away bride's tear while she reads wedding vows

Photo by Safeena Noah

This bride got a little emotional while reading her vows, leading to this pure moment when her sweet groom reached across to wipe her tears. Talk about goals!

Crying During the Recessional

Photo by Seth and Kaiti

The love in this photo speaks volumes. Nothing makes our hearts melt like a groom shedding a few tears—and all the way back up the aisle, no less.

Timeless Moment

Photo by Levi Tijerna

A bride’s tears are equally moving. When captured in black and white, the emotion is immediately made timeless.

Divine Love

Photo by Lev Kuperman Photography

Religious ceremonies never fail to create the most intimate and sacred of moments. These two are wrapped into one as they join in matrimony and spirit.

Absolutely Elated

Bride and groom excitedly look at each other before putting on rings

PHOTO BY STEPAN VRZALA

These smiles tell the story of pure happiness and a giddy kind of love. Alice and Armin just can't put those wedding rings on fast enough!

Like a Movie

Bride and groom walk back up aisle as people throw flower petals

PHOTO BY PAULINA WEDDINGS

There’s something magically romantic about a rose petal toss as the couple makes their exit down the aisle. While it looks like the immaculately executed closing scene of a romantic film, this cinematic moment is just the beginning of Celia and Michael's happy ever after.

Giving Away the Bride

Photo by Jonathan Gipaya

We love a good father-of-the-bride moment, and we love a good bride-and-groom moment. But everything all in one? Goosebumps.

Joined Together

Phil Chester

That feeling when you literally become connected. The cheery bubbles top off this pair's merry moment.

Putting on the Rings

Bride putting gold ring on groom's finger

Photo by

This groom could not be more ecstatic to marry his bride. After tearing up through the vows and ceremonial readings, Luis is more than ready for Noeme to put that ring on his finger.

First Kiss as Newlyweds

Photo by Cody & Allison Photography

We can’t get enough of the palpable joy and smiles behind this first kiss, making for such a beautifully raw moment. And bonus points to the groom for this adorable face grab.

Caress of the Cheek

Groom reaching across during wedding ceremony to wipe bride's tears

Photo by Bokeh Photography

Is it a hair tuck? Is he wiping her tears? Either way, when a groom is reaching across the altar to touch his bride's face, our hearts melt a little.

Loving Looks

Photo by Maddy Shoots Photography

Find someone who looks at you the way this handsome groom looks at his beautiful new wife. We can't get enough of how happy they look with those thousand-watt smiles.

High Five the Groom

Photo by James Simmons Photography

When you high-five your best friend because you’ve got the girl. This is quite possibly the cutest capture we've ever seen.

Double the Tears

Bride and groom both crying at the wedding altar

Photo by Safeena Noah

You know it's an emotional ceremony when both the bride and groom are wiping away tears at the same time. This one hits us right in the feels.

Blissful Tears

bride wiping tears during wedding ceremony

Photo by Mark Spooner

One of the most adorable parts of this photo is the way the bride is smiling while drying her eyes. A beautiful example of "tears of joy," and we feel it in our souls.

Married by the Bride's Sister

couple with officiant

Photo by Picture Me & U

Having her sister marry her and Sakhe was so special to Upile. But it was actually the groom's idea to have her do it, "Meeting her moved him, and he couldn’t think of anyone better to help us join hands and futures," Upile recalls.

A Single Tear

Photo by Tyler Branch Photography

That sole tear says it all—vows that tug at the heartstrings and will never be forgotten. The way these two are gazing into each other's eyes is also cause for some serious heart-melting.

Tying the Knot

Photo by Eric-Rene Penoy

How adorable are these two? This high five over (literally) tying the knot evokes elation that is more than contagious.

Vows for the Stepdaughters

Groom getting emotional and wiping tears during wedding ceremony as bride reads her vows

Photo by Tony Wodarck

If there was a single tear left unshed after Abe and Rachel exchanged their loving words, that was soon lost when the bride surprised everyone with another set of vows. “Rachel prepared special vows for the girls as well, which were heartfelt, genuine, and there were very few dry eyes afterward," Abe says.

Vulnerable and Sincere Vows

Bride and groom look at each other while reciting wedding vows

PHOTO BY LAURKEN KENDALL

The look of sincerity is so evident between Dulce and Dennis as they recite their handwritten vows. "Our vows included a lot of anecdotes of our journey together, a lot of promises...but mostly, they included heartfelt words that brought us to tears, as they showed our most vulnerable selves, vowing love and respect for each other for the rest of our lives," Dulce says.

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