Bridal Tips Wedding Photography

Photos before or after the ceremony – The case for each

Traditionally wedding photos have been taken after the wedding ceremony however in recent years many brides and groom have opted to have their photos taken before the wedding ceremony.

The case for having your wedding first

When photos are taken after the ceremony the first time the groom sees the bride in her dress will be as she walks down the aisle. For many brides and grooms this tradition is a key reason for having the photos after the ceremony. However tradition isn’t the only reason that this can be a good thing. Saving this moment for the ceremony often means that emotions are running higher. Not only will you be seeing each other for the first time, you will also be about to get married in front of your friends and family. The combination of these factors effectively turns up the volume on your emotions. This means that the odds of getting a great photo of the groom, bride, or both can increase dramatically. It also means the chances of having a more intense memory of this one moment, often referred to as flashbulb memories, also go up. Finally it can help draw your guests into the ceremony a little bit more. When they see the emotion on your faces they will feel more connected to you and your ceremony.

Having your photos taken after the ceremony also means that you are more likely to be more relaxed during your photo shoot. With the ceremony out of the way you will be free to enjoy yourselves without worrying about when to say your vows, whether the best man has remembered the rings and so on. This can be particularly beneficial if you have opted for a photographer who focuses on capturing emotions as they occur rather than posing you to convey what they want to see. Often the light is better after the ceremony as well as the best light typically occurs later in the afternoon, even into the evening.

The case for having your photos first

The most commonly cited reason for having photos before the ceremony is that it will reduce time spent away from guests. While having a photo shoot after the ceremony may see you leave your guests for anywhere from 1-3 hours this option is usually the most beneficial for those with photo shoots at the longer end of this scale. However, much like the case for photos after the ceremony, having photos before the ceremony also has a number of hidden benefits.

As the opposite side of the coin to having photos after the ceremony it makes sense that many of the benefits are also in the opposite direction. For those Brides and Grooms concerned about being too nervous to speak during the ceremony, or those who want to avoid (happy) tears separating the first look and the walk down the aisle can be a great way to spread these two emotional high points. In doing so you can create a more level emotional journey through the day and keep things more relaxed. In addition to this seeing your future husband or wife before the ceremony has its own calming effect on many couples. Now that you know you’re both ready you don’t need to worry about how things are going, whether the cars have arrived on time and so on.

For sunset or evening ceremonies it can be beneficial to have photos before hand in order to ensure there is enough natural light available during the photo shoot. A similar point holds true for ceremonies that are close to midday. Having a photo shoot during the morning before the ceremony can help keep you out of the midday sun and lead to easier access to more flattering light provided you are prepared for an early morning wake-up to help you get ready on time.

(Source: Patten Makers Photography)