Pros & Cons of Pre-Ceremony Portraits


An Inside Look at Having
Your Portraits Completed BEFORE Your Ceremony!
 
 
Meeting your beloved before the ceremony and having your wedding portraits done earlier in the day
has become a popular choice.   "Shock, horror", you say!?  No, it's really not!
 
Let me say very clearly here, that this is a personal choice;
there is no one right way of planning the structure and timing of your wedding day
you must do what’s right for you.
But I do encourage you to consider the pros and cons of doing your main photos before your ceremony,
and make an active choice that suits your personality, situation and dreams for your very special day.

And don't miss the slide-show at the bottom of this page
showing some 'reveals' and then their ceremony.


Pros:

1.     If done well, the first moment you lay eyes on one another will be special and significant.
It will not be a “hi, how are ya, hope you slept well, let’s get some photos done”!
Rather, it will be a slow, gentle, romantic and potentially tear-jerking ‘reveal’ of the beautiful bride.
Maybe her dad will lead her to her groom, ‘giving her away’.
Maybe your closest family will be there to share the moment.
Or maybe it will just be the two of you to share this intimate time.
By the way, whereas the groom is often quite staunch at the ceremony,
I've found it's him who's likely to show raw emotion when seeing his bride at this private reveal.


2.     You get to hug one another and linger in the moment
(rather than being told where to stand at the front of the aisle while the celebrant talks on).
This moment is unscripted and very real. You can hold each other, and kiss, and laugh, and talk.
Do you really believe that if you start your day like this that there will be any less emotion at your ceremony later on?


3.     You get to be genuinely present in the moment
– something that’s very often missed when you’re nervous and 100 guests are staring at you
while you try not to trip in your new shoes!


4.     I can get better pictures as I can move around, unrestricted by the protocols required at the ceremony.


5.     When you do walk down the aisle in a few hours time, you’ll be more confident, ready, and feeling gorgeous,
having had the experience of your photo shoot. Plus, you get to have your special moment all over again!
I've never ever had a groom say it was any less special when he saw his bride for the second time,
as she appeared at the beginning of the aisle for their ceremony.


6.     You get to spend the day together!
It’s your wedding day, but really, most of it is spend being host and hostess to your guests.
Having a few hours together before the formalities begin, allows time to build some special memories for just the two of you.


7.     Get away from the stress!
Leave mum and auntie Joan to fret about whether the signing table should go ‘here or 6 inches to the left’!
All the big stuff will have been taken care off so relax and get away from it all!


8.     You’ll look your most fresh for your photos – your hair and makeup will be at their prime.


9.     You have greater options for your location photos.
We can plan to travel further and stop at more places than would be possible between ceremony and reception.


10.     Following the ceremony, you can schedule more family photos,
or allow for more impromptu ones, than if I had to whisk you away for your formal shoot.
Where we need to get you away for your formal portraits after your ceremony,
I strongly advise taking no longer than 30minutes (that's about 10-12 groupings) for your family photos.
However, if your portraits are all already done,
then there's no pressure to get away so if you'd like to spend more time on this segment, you are most welcome to do so.


11.     You’ll be able to spend the maximum time with your guests.
This is the key reason couples have their photos done first.
Rather than going away for 2+ hours after the ceremony, you can stay with your guests and enjoy their company.
After all, you've just created this gorgeous excitement and buzz with your lovely ceremony
– it's wonderful when you get to enjoy that atmosphere along with your special guests.


12.     The party starts when you arrive!  The atmosphere is completely different when you arrive
to reception only 15-30minutes behind your guests (so they can get seated and be welcomed),
than if you arrive two hours after they've begun to drink the bar dry!  
Couples often feel disappointed when tired guests (especially the older ones) begin to leave straight after dinner.
Having your photos first allows a later ceremony which means less tired guests and much more fun!


13.     You can save big on your reception bill as your ceremony can be later in the day,
allowing you to flow straight onto reception and avoid the cost of canapés
and extra alcohol while you’d be away at your photo shoot.
Do your own maths:  
number of guests   x   2 drinks per hour   x   the number of hours you'll be at your photoshoot.
eg:  100 guests  x  $8 per drink (x2)   x  2 hours   =   $3200   plus food!





BUT THERE ARE SOME CON's TO BE AWARE OF TOO:

Cons:

1.     Maybe walking down the aisle and seeing the look on your grooms face is a key part of the ceremony
that you’ve envisioned and dreamed about since you were a little girl (or guy!).
If it’s part of your dream, don’t let anyone mess with it!


2.     There is a risk that your dress could get dirty during the photo shoot.
While I've never had this happen, and of course, all care will be taken, but it is a risk you should consider.


3.     You will need to touch up your hair and makeup before the ceremony.
If it’s a particularly windy day, and depending on your hairstyle, your hair could possibly require some reconstruction.


4.     Breaking tradition.
This is usually the response of the bride's mum!
However, the way we do wedding photography now has changed considerably in the past 20 years.
The quantity of images that couples now expect has increased dramatically.
When I first began shooting weddings, I was allotted around 120 shots (6 rolls of film).
Now, I take over 1500 clicks at most weddings!
The creative quality has likewise increased.
Couples want and deserve a unique and varied set of images, and it simply takes time to create them.
Our parents didn't go to the beach and stop at the park on the way as well!
They had 30 minutes of 'formals' in the church grounds and then went straight to reception.
They also didn't live together and they rarely had children before marriage.
These traditions have changed so it's really not strange that the timing of wedding portraiture has changed too.


5.     “They say it's bad luck.”
Honestly, if your marriage doesn't work out, it won't be because you had your wedding photos before your ceremony!


6.     You won't actually be married when you have your wedding portraits done.
That's true. But does it really take a signature on a licence to legitimise the love you share on your wedding day?
Some couples choose to wear their wedding bands for their early-scheduled portraits.
Alternatively, I simply avoid hand-shots if you prefer it that way,
and then we get some rings-on-hands images after your ceremony.




THOUGHT YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW ...


Historical background:

Interestingly, the tradition of the groom not seeing his bride until the ceremony originates from the time
where marriages were arranged and virgins were sold to older men in exchange for cows.
Not letting the groom see his bride until his vows were to be said, was a tactic to keep him from deciding
she wasn’t worth the price he was paying, and backing out of the deal!
Veils were a device used to further the mystique.

Chances are, you’ve already made a home with your partner and he’s already seen you at your worst and your best!
And hopefully, cows aren't part of the deal on your wedding day!




My experience:

As a bride:

I was married over 20 years ago and never considered anything other than my husband seeing me for the first time
when I walked down the aisle – it was just the way things were done.
However, we were running late to the ceremony so I nervously raced down the aisle,
way before the carefully chosen song properly cut in, and didn’t pay any attention to ‘the moment’ at all!
In fact, I barely remember it!
Our photo shoot took over 2 hours, and while it was wonderful fun, my guests were bored and a little grumpy by the time we showed up.
Many left early into reception as they’d already had a long day, so we had hardly any time with them.
I felt our reception was a disappointment because we'd neglected our guests so badly!


As a photographer:

At least 40% of my couples choose to have their bridal party portraits done before the ceremony.
And I’ve NEVER had anyone regret it.
The day is significantly less stressful. It somehow seems more family focused.
And it definitely manages both the fun-factor and the wow-factor too!
None of the magic is lost.
In fact, I’ve found that the emotion is mysteriously stronger when the bride walks down the isle – even though (or maybe, because!) the couple have just spent several hours together.



BUT IT'S YOUR CHOICE!
 
Please please please know that I’m totally working for you, whether you choose a pre-ceremony or post-ceremony shoot.
It's your wedding and I'm here to serve you so I truly don't mind which way you run things.
My intent with this page, is simply to encourage you to think about the options,
and to make an active choice as to what suits your vision, for your day, best of all.

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Contact me

Phone: (03)  544 9479
Email: sandra@boutiquephotography.co.nz

8 Cropp Place
Richmond
Nelson
NEW ZEALAND

 

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