Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wedding Q&A Thursday - Pre-Ceremony Pictures

Q: I can't decide whether or not [the groom] and I should see each other for pictures before the ceremony. I like the idea of him seeing me for the first time when I walk down the aisle, but it would make more sense, practically, for us to do group shots before the ceremony? You see more weddings than I do, what do you think?

A: This is one of those questions that a bride and groom need to answer for themselves. We see it done both ways all of the time, and I can't even begin to calculate whether we see it more one way than the other. If I just think about this month's weddings alone it is 50/50.

If there are practical considerations involved, I don't think there is anything wrong with breaking tradition and allowing the bride and groom to each other before the ceremony for pictures. Practical considerations would be things such as timing or location for group pictures, e.g., you want to have a lot of group pictures taken at a location that is different from your ceremony or reception venue, or even multiple locations, and there is not enough time between your ceremony and reception to accomodate the photo session. It may also just be a preference. If you think that you will be happier to have a lot of your formal pictures - whether they are with the whole wedding party or just the two of you - done with before the ceremony, the option should be considered. We always try to schedule some private time for the bride and groom between the ceremony and the reception so that they can be alone, breathe, and take in the fact that they just got married. It is, of course, harder to find that time in an hour or so that is packed with group pictures.

That said, I do think that the moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day is special. But it doesn't have to happen as the bride is walking down the aisle, in front of all of your guests. Most couples who will see each other before the ceremony arrange a time and place - with or without the wedding photographer present - where they see each other for the first time and share a private moment before all of the formal pictures begin. This can be just as special, if not more special for a couple who prefers the big reveal be something for just them.

With This Ring blogger, Darci, shared pictures of her pre-ceremony encounter with the groom. This one, from Browers Photography, shows that if you put thought into it, the big reveal can be memorable and intimate when done before the ceremony.

So, dear bride, I leave you still with two options to think about. Go with your gut, and if you think that you will regret seeing your groom at all before you walk the white carpet, don't do it...because you can't take it back.

READERS: What do you think, from personal experience or feelings as you are planning a wedding, about the bride and groom seeing one another before the ceremony? Do you have regrets that you didn't do it one way or the other?

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