Portraits Before Your Wedding – Why I wish every bride did this…

First Look Photo at a weddingAhhh yes, now here is a long debated topic in the wedding world.  To take photos before your wedding ceremony, or not to take photos before your wedding ceremony.  Well this evening, while I pump my little ears with some obnoxiously loud house music that has me bouncing on my seat, I’ve decided to share my thoughts on the topic.

So lets think about it… a traditional wedding probably looks a little like this in terms of schedule… wake up (excited!)… friends, family, and wedding party show up (so excited!!)… champaign brunch (even more excited!!)… Hair and Makeup (SUUUUUPER Excited!!!!!)…. Dress (Dizzzannngg I look goooood!)… and then shotgun BANG!!! Off to the races! Ceremony. Family photos. bridal party photos. photos with the pastor. photos with the aunt who flew in from Holland just for your wedding. A few portraits of just you and your hubby (missing cocktail hour). Reception. Dinner. Dancing. Cake (wash your face). Dancing. Garter toss. Dancing. Uncle falls on the floor. Last dance. Done (Wha happen!?!).  So, one can easily go from “SUUUUPER Excited” and “Dizang I look goooood” allll the way to “Wha Happen?!?!”  And out of all this craziness comes the comment, “It all just went so fast.”  Ohh how many times have I heard that!

I think the experience above hinges on one decision, and that is the decision to not see the groom or bride before thePortrait before a weddingactual ceremony.  I know tradition would have it that way… I know superstition would have it that way… I know “the look” on your groom’s face as he sees you for the first time is precious (that I honestly can not object to)… but in terms of creating wedding that leaves you saying, “It was amazing, and beautiful, and everything we hoped and dreamed and planned for!” instead of, “It was a blur! It all happened so fast!” I think re-arranging your photo experience can be a tremendous benefit.

So lets say that, instead of doing brunch, you just jump right into hair and makeup… then the dress goes on… and then, instead of rushing off to a ceremony, you have two hours to look your best, and enjoy yourself.  How about we take 15 minutes to set up a surprise first meeting with your groom… and say there is a photographer (named Colson!) capturing this all unfold.  Okay here we go… Groom sneaks up on the bride. Surprise! (ohh my gosh your beautiful!)… Tears… Laugh… snap snap snap. Then we casually stroll over to a lobby bar where your wedding party is waiting with champaign in hand.  Ahh thats nice.  Everybody just sip away and I’ll take a few take shots while we’re all just casually hanging out.  Okay now, everyone look at meee… snap.  Cool, bridal party photos are done.  Okay now lets have some fun… bride and groom, you’re coming with me.  Lets make some gorgeous portraits of the two of you… Like, I need that in a life sized print in my living room, gorgeous.  We have an hour to burn, why don’t we just take a walk.  snap snap snap.  Hang out with your groom… snap snap snap…  Think about how the next few hours are going to change your lives forever… snap snap snap… Laugh… snap snap snap… Done.  And nowww were off to the ceremony… 1st Corinthians…  I do, I do… Kiss… family photos (for 10 hot minutes)… cocktail hour (wait, you mean I can talk to my Dutch aunt at cocktail hour?)  Dancing… Dinner… you get the idea.

Wedding Portrait - Taken before the ceremonyThe key here is that scheduling your photos before your ceremony actually slllloooowsss  down the pace of your day.  Why rush it?  Why miss out on cocktail hour when people from all over the world flew in to see you?  Why take your portraits after you’ve been tearing up in front of an audience of people?  Why not take 45 minutes to spend alone with your hubby on your wedding day… after all, this day is about the two of you… together.   Once your ceremony starts you are free to do as you please… you are no longer committed to a photographer!  For the rest of the day it’s all about you and your guests.

Maybe I’m just bias because I believe better portraits can be created out of a planned photo experience before a ceremony, but I also am convinced that if every bride chose to take their photos early, not one would regret it, and when the lights are out, they would comment to others that the entire day, not just their photos, turned out just as they hoped and dreamed.

Your thoughts?  Would love to hear ’em!

  • Heather Swerk - February 3, 2011 - 9:39 pm

    Colson … I could not agree more. I was one of those brides who was EXTREMELY hesitant to do photos before hand. I had a wonderful photographer who was willing to snap away either way but showed me the pros/cons as you did above. I was able to have over two hours for pictures and about 30 minutes before the ceremony to re-freshen up and enjoy just hangin’ with my girls! Ben and I do not regret for one second that we did photos early and we were actually able to enjoy seeing each other for the first time just us two (and maybe a strategically placed photographer!). Brides listen to the man, he knows his stuff!ReplyCancel

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