Wedding Recap and Withdrawal

Pictures Before or After?

Hello new wives!

While my wedding is over a year away, we are meeting with photographers next month. Right now, waiting to see my FI at the ceremony is important to me-- going without seeing each other for the entire day, will make the ceremony all the more exciting and special.

I realize this means formal pictures comes during the cocktail hour. A friend said she was upset that she was "missing her wedding" while taking pictures. That doesn't sound awesome.

What did you do? Would you have done the reverse? Why?
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Re: Pictures Before or After?

  • I haven't really heard much about taking pictures before, and while I can see the scheduling benefits of doing that and not interrupting your reception, I wonder if you're planning to take pics outdoors and it's inclimate weather (rain, snow, wind, etc.) what it does to your dress and hair. Where then do you go to fix it to look your best for the ceremony?
  • We didn't want to see each other until the ceremony and tried to get as much of the pictures taken ahead of time as possible. I kind of wished that we had done ALL of the pictures before the ceremony now. I felt like we were rushed to get them finished after the ceremony while cocktails were going on . Part of this is probably my fault, another issue we had was that it ended up snowing on our wedding day, which nobody was expecting and we had to move our ceremony into the ballroom where the reception was going to take place to the event staff was trying to flip the room and our guests didn't all leave the room and it was just a big pain. From the pics I've seen so far, I'm beyond happy with them, but in hindsight I wish we had a better Plan B set-up.

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  • B2B!  Congrats on your engagement!  I just got married 3.19.11 and we did the "first look" session before the ceremony and I am SO glad we did.  You and your groom should talk this over and take your time deciding on it, there's no rush and it's a big decision, but here is why my hubs and I are glad we went with the "first look" pics: 

    Most importantly; It allowed us to have a private, VERY emotional moment that each of us will never forget and I "still" cry when I think of it.  Walking up to him.... It was JUST him.  Nobody else.  Oh man.  Our photographers set it up so we barely knew they were there.  I also kept all my jewlery off and did not carry flowers so that it would be a little different when I saw him at the aisle.  The aisle was still very dramatic and we still got teary- seeing him before did not "take away" from that moment for me.  The MOMENT was really special (both were) and I believe the portraits reflect the moment that nobody really saw but us.  Makes it special.  And nobody really knew... so it was our secret.  :) 

    Other important factors to weigh:  Your reception DOES fly by and I would imagine that doing the "couple" pictures before frees up some time for you to party with your guests and will break up your photo shoot time during the reception which does get redundant.  We were supposed to have bridal party pics before the ceremony too and I wish this had worked out.  (Hair and makeup for bridesmaids took too long, so it was postponed.)  (We obv. did our first look pics before the ceremony, but had bridal party and family pics after the ceremony and this felt like it took a LONG time.  Between that and everyone wanting to say hello... at a relatively small wedding 100 people- we still didnt sit or eat.)

    Last, but an important point; your hair and makeup is fresh for your most important pictures- the ones you will likely frame or keep in albums.

    No matter what you decide, the most important thing is that you are COMFORTABLE with your photographer- I recommend using the same people for your engagement pics, get to know them, hang out with them so that you are comfortable and it will show in your pics.  :)  Good photographers will make any timeline work and will capture whatever moments you create perfectly in whatever order you choose!  Hope this helps!  Happy Planning!

    Pictures below are from U-Designs Photograhy, Brie and Ryan LeBret, Greenville South Carolina.  LOVE them. 

  • I think it depends on your ceremony as well.  Our ceremony will be outside at reception site at 6pm, so pictures after are not an option otherwise we will miss entire cocktail hour (which is only planned for about 45 mins anyway).  I saw a few samples of the 'first look', as did my mom, who cried even watching the strangers from the photoraphers sample! So all in all, if you have a 2pm ceremony and have time to do pictures after and that's what you want to do, go for it. But if you're on a time restraint, you can always ask your photographer about the 'first look' and that way have a few minutes alone together as well before things start to get crazy!
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