Advice for Couples

The First Look | Bride & Groom Portraits Before the Ceremony

It’s the eternal question that modern day brides and grooms are facing.  Should you do your photos before or after your ceremony?  Most couples still choose to do their photos after their ceremony regardless of the ill-effects it can have on their schedule and the shoot itself.  Why are couples making this choice?

Tradition.  One little word can cause so many problems on a wedding day!  When brides are asked “why don’t you want to do your photos before the ceremony?”  They always reply – “I don’t want him to see me before I walk down the aisle… it’s tradition.”

Just to play the devil’s advocate, how many of you readers out there even know the origins of this tradition?  It’s quite un-romantic, actually.  It’s based on the fact that the bride wouldn’t even show her face to the groom before meeting him at the altar, lest he get cold-feet and try to skip out on the whole thing.  Lovely, huh?  So before you start preaching “tradition” – take a moment to understand why that act is tradition and maybe you will read the rest of this short article with an open mind.

Only about a quarter of today’s modern couples choose to do a “first look” and see each other before the ceremony!  These “first look” moments can be as intricate or as simple as you want; you can sneak up on your soon-to-be-spouse or you can simple walk down the stairs and into their open arms.

There are many, many benefits to choosing to do your wedding photos before the ceremony.  First, it gives you the opportunity to then do all of your formal bride & groom formal photos earlier on in the day!  Since many couples now wish to have intricate and artistic photo sessions, it’s good practice to take care of these photos earlier on in the day so that the couple looks fresh still (ie: perfect hair, perfect makeup, etc.).  Second, doing formal bride & groom photos earlier in the day allow for much more time for family photos and mingling with your guests later on in the day.  Afterall, you have had family and friends travel far and wide for your special day – why would you ignore them for several hours pre-reception while you go and do photos?  Finally, many couples feel like doing a “first look” and taking care of photos earlier in the day gives an overall relaxed feel to their day.  Being able to chat, smile, laugh and relax pre-ceremony helps get rid of those last-minute jitters!

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Look at all the benefits of doing a “first look”!  Although I respect the fact that some couples want to keep with tradition (regardless of the origins of said tradition), I think that all couples (especially those who have intricate and complex photographic needs) should consider doing a “first look” which would allow for them to get an early start on photos on their special day.

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