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Should We Take the Photos Before or After the Ceremony? {44}

Should we take the photos before or after the ceremony? This is a big question that all couples have ask each other. Most couples may not realize that it is a bigger question to answer than they may think. If a bride and groom choose to wait until after the ceremony to take their pictures they get that wonderful, romantic moment of first looks as they stand at the alter that they get to share with everyone. But there are a lot of things that a bride doesn’t think about that goes into scheduling a wedding. Why should she? She hasn’t been married before. Photography from start to finish will take between 2.5 and 3 hours. Yes. You read that right. Most people don’t realize how long it takes. Between trying to pull people together, walking from one spot to the next, bathroom breaks, a groomsmen running late, along with a myriad of other things it will take that long. With that in mind here are some things you need to ask yourself when debating this question.

1. What time do we want the ceremony to start? If you want to have an evening ceremony at 7pm are you ok with starting your reception at 10pm?

2.When is sunset/when is the tide going in or out? If you want a 4 pm wedding in Winter it will be dark and all of your photos will be indoors.  If you want a 7 pm wedding in Spring, and you are ok with a later reception it may be too dark for the second half of pictures, which are usually the family formals. Or that is about the time the bugs come out to eat us alive! If you want a wedding on the beach with beach photos, make sure you know the water won’t be lapping at your feet an hour after the ceremony.

3. What will we have for the guests to do while we take pictures? This is the most time consuming and difficult thing for me as a photographer. Onlookers. Between your best friend who couldn’t be a bridesmaid to your  cousin making a ruckus 3 feet behind me, it will be hard to get everyone who is actually in the pictures to focus and look at the camera. We want you to enjoy every minute of your day and a big part of that is making the picture time run smoothly and quickly without a lot of waiting and retaking pictures because people weren’t looking. Also if there is little to do, you the experience for the guests isn’t as enjoyable either.

4. How will you make sure you won’t see each other beforehand? This may sound like a stupid question, but we had a case once where the bride and groom were getting ready 1 door away from each other. Just letting one of  them go to the bathroom took 5 minutes of “where is he, let him no not to walk over here. Oh it’s an open hallway. Make sure he covers his eyes”.

5. The bride will cry during the ceremony. The mom will cry pretty much from the moment the bride puts her dress on. The groom will sweat in his tux in 80 degree weather. These are all beautiful moments that make wedding so special. But you really don’t want that in your posed pictures.  Are you prepared to have extra time to freshen up or are you ok with not having totally perfect hair and make up?

If you want to see each other before hand:

1. Are you prepared to wake up early? If you want a 1 pm wedding, you could very well be waking up at 7 am to start getting ready. One of our first weddings we did the bride had ringlets. We started shooting the getting ready photos at 6 am.

2. Have you allotted enough time for pictures to be finished a half hour before the ceremony?

If you couldn’t tell I am not a huge fan of waiting until after the ceremony. There is a lot less concern, you can just think about partying once the ceremony is done, and you can enjoy your guests.  In the end, though, it is your wedding and any photographer will work with you to make it as wonderful as possible. Just make sure that you think about all the scheduling conflicts that occur and take any questions the wedding planner or photographer has about the schedule seriously. They probably have a story behind every question. I do!

This pictures was taken the day after their wedding. They waited to see each other until the ceremony which was at 7 pm in December. We took formal pictures the day after to save time and actually have it be daylight out.