The wedding pictures that will move you to tears: Photographers reveal their favorite shots of couples tying the knot

  • Photographers reveal the moving, tender and once-in-a-lifetime wedding photos that capture the joy of saying 'I will'
  • Pictures include a gay couple from New York who travelled to London to tie the knot after it was legalised in the UK
  • One bride and groom were captured in a tender embrace high on a rock in a wedding in Iceland
  • The images have captured the emotion of family members, best friends and the newlyweds

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and a group of top wedding photographers have proved just that as they reveal the emotional stories behind the most moving shots of their careers.

The poignant portraits include a gay couple who had travelled all the way to the UK to get hitched before same-sex marriage was legal in the US and a teary bride who walked back down the aisle to say goodbye to her granddad as he was too sick to stay.

Tender images also show a groom sheltering a homeless man outside the wedding venue from the rain, and a bride and groom who scaled a cliff face in Iceland for their perfect shot.

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This photo captures the moment just before Howard and Roly arrived for their ceremony in London, having traveled 3,500 miles from New York as same-sex marriage was yet to be recognised in the US

Capturing the wedding of Howard and Roly has been one of the biggest highlights of photographer Mike Garrard's years behind the camera.

Although Howard was originally from the UK, the couple lived in New York and travelled all the way to London for their big day as same-sex marriage was yet to be officially recognised in the States.

Speaking about his favourite photo of the day, Mike said: 'This moment is just before they arrived together at their ceremony in Marylebone. 

'There was a beautiful sense that they were about to achieve something they had struggled to at home, mixed with the emotions of excitement, friendship and love.

'Spending the time getting to know your clients a little better helps anticipate when moments like this might happen, and gaining trust allows you as a photographer to get access to these quiet moments. The day turned into a flamboyant sense of love, laughter and dancing, a magical day.'

'They are watching over us' - this photo captures the moment a rainbow appeared at the wedding of Wendi and James Pedlow, which the couple felt was 'a sign' the groom's late parents were watching over them

The stand out shot of Andy Wardle's career is an emotional frame from the wedding of Wendi and James Pedlow which captured a poignant moment under a rainbow at beside Lake Windermere in the Lake District 

The groom, who is from Windsor in Berkshire, felt was a sign that his late parents were with them.

Andy said: 'James' parents were no longer with us but he mentioned on the day that they were watching over him.

'The weather was very stormy all day and then after the ceremony we took a boat ride out on the lake. Wendi and James were stood together and just for a few seconds the weather changed and the most amazing rainbow appeared.

'Wendi's own words were: ''I believe and feel so much that James' mum and dad were there with us in those rainbows. Very emotional''.' 

This photo by Michael Foyle shows an usher at one of the weddings he shot in Southampton sheltering a homeless man and his dog from the rain as he invited him into the venue to warm up and get dry

For Michael Foyle, it wasn't a picture of a loved-up bride and groom that formed his highlight - but a touching photo showing an usher at a wedding trying to help a homeless man outside the venue.

The man and his dog had moved out of the way as the wedding party started arriving and the kind-hearted groomsman invited him inside the church to get dry and eat, an offer he declined.

Michael said: 'This homeless man was seeking shelter underneath in the doorway of the church venue where the wedding ceremony was to take place. 

'He had clearly been there overnight and the rain had been relentless. As the usher and first guests arrived at the venue the man, realising that a wedding was taking place, picked up his things and moved further down pavement in the pouring rain. 

'The usher quietly joined the man, sheltered him and his dog with an umbrella and invited him into the venue to dry off and have some food. 

'The man declined the offer and was worried that his presence would not be appreciated. Nothing the usher said seemed to convince him otherwise. It was really sad to me that this man felt that his presence would be unwelcome, despite the fact that he'd been invited inside.' 

Catherine Atkinson says goodbye to her granddad in a poignant moment captured by wedding photographer Jonny Draper, who found it all the more emotional as his own granddad had passed away just a week before

Manchester-based photographer Jonny Draper's most poignant shot was taken at the Cheshire wedding of Catherine and Tom Atkinson, who live in London.

He perfectly captures the moment the bride says goodbye to her sick grandfather who was too ill to attend all of the wedding, but managed to make it through the ceremony.

Jonny said: 'It was a very special moment between the two of them and I was particularly heightened to it as my own granddad had passed away just the week before this wedding. 

'I felt very emotional shooting the wedding - more so because of the relationship that Catherine had with her grandparents which reminded me of mine. 

'It also reminded me that weddings are all about people being together, spending time with their loved ones on the most special day of their lives and that great photography will capture these moments and help to provoke the memories and feelings that can be all too fleeting.'

Spectacular landscape: This bride and groom spent 45 minutes climbing to the top of this cliff in Iceland after tying the knot to capture their treasured wedding photo

It was newlyweds Ada and Samuel Leifsson's efforts to climb to the top of a cliff at the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland for their perfect wedding shot that inspired photographer Chris Giles the most.

He said: 'They climbed for 45 minutes to get to the top of this cliff while I was a quarter mile away ready to shoot the general drama of the landscape. 

'It was windy, birds were swooping down at me but it paid off. I love to shoot on location and this was probably the most memorable photo for me as a result.'

The simplicity of Katie and Douglas Archibald's wedding in Scotland and a 'one in a million' chance light was what made it Roger Brown's favourite photo captured to date.

The photographer said: 'The wedding was so simple without all the bells and whistles of so many weddings nowadays. Lets face it, a wedding at the end of the day is about two people being in love and committing the rest of their lives to each other. I think this image captures that perfectly. 

'The weather that day was typical Scottish weather with grey clouds and a what I call wet rain. It didn’t matter though as everyone was in high spirits and had gathered at the venue which was basically a marquee on the top of a bill overlooking the North Sea.

'I had just finished taking all the standard group shots and everyone was settling down to the wedding breakfast when all of a sudden the sky cleared and the light reflected off the marquee. 

'Perfect light - a one in a million chance! I rushed in and begged the bride and groom to just step out side the marquee for one minute. 

'We walked across the field 10 yards and snapped the image. Not contrived, just natural emotions. I love this picture so much.'

'A one in a million chance light' - this photo shows the touching moment at Katie and Douglas Archibald's Scottish wedding, which photographer Roger Brown felt perfectly captured two people being in love

The emotions of the bride's dad seeing his daughter Lyndsey Gibbons from Staffordshire 'all grown up' was what made Steve Gerrard so fond of this shot, as he met her in military uniform at the bottom of the stairs before the ceremony.

Steve said: 'As wedding photographers our job is to tell a story in the most visually creative way possible. We don't want couples to just remember how things looked on their wedding day, we want people to remember how they felt.

'This photo was taken just before the bride, Lyndsey, left for the church. Her dad was waiting, in uniform, at the bottom of the stairs. His little girl's all grown up. It was an emotional moment, highlighted by the bridesmaids' reaction in the doorway. I love capturing moments like this.' 

This photo shows the emotions of a father giving his daughter away - here, bride Lyndsey Gibbons is greeted at the bottom of the stairs by her dad in military uniform before they head to church together

The power of friendship is displayed in the tears and laughter of photographer Annelie Eddy's most memorable image, taken of the bride and her maid of honour on the morning of her wedding day.

Annelie said: 'For me, this photograph shows the essence of friendship. The bride and her maid of honour have been best friends ever since they were little girls.

'This is the moment where Georgie, the bride, has first slipped on her wedding dress. Her best friend is both crying and laughing, and they both just let the laughter take it's course.'  

Tears of joy and laughter are captured in this stunning image by Annelie Eddy, as the bride puts on her wedding dress in front of her best-friend and maid of honour

Love conquering all is the theme in globetrotting photographer Travis Levius's favourite shot, from a wedding in America.

The bride, Lindsay Miller, had met her future Uruguayan husband Speranza Gianfranco while working in the country teaching English, but travelled back to her home country to get hitched in Atlanta, Georgia.

London-based Travis said: 'This particular wedding was one of my favourites as it had such a great backstory. 

'The American girl travelled to Uruguay to teach English, and would later find the love of her life in the process. 

'The two got married in her home country, in a small ceremony with her supportive family, friends and a Spanish-speaking officiant to deliver a bilingual ceremony. 

'It was a fabulous reminder that true love knows no bounds- or cultural barriers.' 

Photographer Travis Levius said this photo, captured at a wedding in the States, shows that 'love knows no bounds - or cultural barriers'

Most stories are told through close up photographs showing the emotions of the day, but for photographer Elton Mogg it was the midst rising over a lake at the Hampshire venue of Abby and Alex Bizzey's wedding that inspired him the most.

He said: 'There are so many stories to tell from every wedding I shoot and it is often the close ups that can show the emotional impact of the day but when I saw this venue for Abby and Alex's wedding reception I was completely transfixed. 

'Mist was rising from the River Test as the sun began to set and the light created an almost painterly feel to the whole scene. Having the entire wedding party walking down the hill towards what was going to be wonderfully happy celebration was just perfect. 

'This image became a metaphor for me of what weddings are all about. The newlyweds hand in hand walking towards their future happiness together with all those they love by their sides.' 

Photographer Elton Mogg said this scene of Abby and Alex Bizzey walking towards a midst-covered lake with their family became a 'metaphor for what weddings are all about'

'It really was a magical moment' - Iain Gomes said the venue and atmosphere among guests at this wedding makes this his favourite wedding photo ever

It's the prestige of the Painted Hall within the Old Royal Navy College in Greenwich and the atmosphere among guests that forms the standout shot for snapper Iain Gomes.

He said: 'I took this photo as the couple were making their way to the wedding breakfast. With the sounds of their guests cheering them on it really was a magical moment.'

It's the sheer fun and happiness in the eyes of newlyweds Gemma and Joel Armsden's as they take to the stage at their Suffolk wedding for an impromptu performance that proved to be the magic shot for photographer Martin Hobby.

He said: 'Over the years I've photographed weddings, there are many instances where the events in front of my camera have struck a chord with me on an emotional level. 

'Some are tears of sadness or the overcoming of adversity, but many like this one, simply reflect a spontaneous moment of happiness and celebration.

This shot from the wedding of Gemma and Joel Armsden,  from Harlow, Essex, is Martin Hobby's favourite wedding photo of his career

'Joel works in the music industry and in many ways it's what defines him. So when he and his new wife Gemma grabbed the mic for an impromptu rendition of Eighties classic Take On Me by Aha, the crowd went wild.

'Great people photography comes from an understanding of what makes people tick. How they relate to each other, and where their true passions are. It is a privilege of my job to be able to capture these defining moments on camera.'