Before or After the Ceremony?
When To Take Your Formal Photographs

In Medieval times, a bride and groom were not even allowed to meet each other until the actual wedding ceremony. This was so neither one could back out if, when they saw the person, they would not want to be married to them! This ancient custom has carried forth to the present day where now people feel it is bad luck to see each other before the ceremony.

 In fact, there is no basis to the success or longevity of a marriage if the bride and groom wait to see each other until the ceremony. It is important for the couple to decide for themselves which way they would like to go, and inform the photographer about a week before the wedding.

To assist the bride and groom with making an informed decision, there are a few items worth noting: It is a special moment when the couple first sees each other. When it is done before the ceremony, they can talk to each other and express how they like the way the other one looks! This is what each one wants to know anyway, but a ceremony itself is not the place for a bride and groom to talk to each other and tell each other what they are thinking.

The moment you both first see each other also makes a wonderful candid photo!

Many times the couple is grateful that they are seeing each other in advance in case there are any wedding details that they need to discuss. In this case, it is a good thing they were together beforehand to discuss it! It adds to the stress to not see each other and it actually reduces stress when the couple DOES see each other first. When the flowers, hair, make-up and clothes are all new and fresh is the best time to take pictures. This can be especially true for a hot and/or humid day.

The bride and groom can choose any location within a half hour drive of the ceremony to take pictures. There are many beautiful spots that have water, trees, flowers, grass, nice sky, impressive architecture, etc. that would not be practical to visit after a ceremony. It gives the bride and groom something to do before the ceremony and it takes their mind off wondering if the rest of the day is going to go well. The beforehand photo session can actually be a lot of fun!

The only people that would be around before the ceremony would be, if possible, the wedding party, brothers, sisters and parents. Since these are the most important people needed for pictures, the session goes much faster because there are no guests around at that time.

 After your beautiful and moving wedding ceremony, people are sometimes crying and guests all want to congratulate the bride and groom. Especially at a one-location wedding, people don't usually feel like taking all the photos afterwards. There is a cocktail hour usually happening and if this is when the bride and groom prefer to say hello to the many dear friends and relatives who have come from afar.

The entire pace of the wedding goes smoother and quicker if most of the photos have already been taken in advance. This makes the catering manager, DJ or band and guests happier and even reduces the liquor bill at the cocktail hour! After photos are taken beforehand and the bride and groom separate, he still waits at the front and she is escorted down the aisle by her Dad as usual. The couple still gazes at each other and the moment is just as special for them. The fact that photos have been taken in a nice spot before the ceremony does not detract from the magic of the moment when the ceremony begins. Also, the guests have not seen the bride in advance, so they ARE seeing the bride for the first time at the ceremony. This usually elicits many proud and joyful smiles!


Practice for regular shots are not necessary, but there are certain photos you should prepare for. 

 For example, if you wish a photograph of the two of you exchanging rings, practice this.  Quite often the happy couple obscures with their bodies the placing of the rings, thus losing any chance of a quality photograph.


 Other photos that you may want to consider practicing are your first kiss (practice makes perfect) and the cutting of the cake.


 There are traditions, the meaning of some lost in time, others clearly a bonding and a proclamation to all of your love and commitment. The exchange of rings is physical and tangible and outwardly represents your marriage. The circle is a primary and powerful symbol revealing no beginning or end, signifying your unending love. The precious metals are symbolic of the riches that reside in each of you. Made durable with white heat so will your love be purified and strengthened by the many seasons you will share. The sharing of the wedding cake symbolizes your desire to provide and care for one another. Sharing the cake with your family and friends represents the sweetness of life and a hope for prosperity. Each of these moments has special meaning. Your photographs will remind you of these traditions and of the love you share and the promises you made on this special day.


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