Wedding Photography and Videography Forum

Pictures before or after ceremony?

I'm having what seems like an abnormally time deciding if I want to do pictures before or after the ceremony. I know it'd be smart to do them, seeing as we don't have to make the guests wait during the reception and it will still be daylight out seeing as we are getting married in the evening in February. However, my heart was mainly set on having our first looks when I walk down the aisle - I just feel like I'd get a more "wow" factor from him.

What did/are you guys deciding and how did it turn out?

Re: Pictures before or after ceremony?

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited September 2014
    I love first looks bc...
    -I prefer seeing the reaction of the B&G in one photo. The groom will still be moved by the moment of you walking down the aisle, a first look won't change how he feels about you.
    -He's not looking at the dress, he's excited to see you coming down the aisle to marry him - having seen you an hour before isn't going to change that emotion.
    -It will save a LOT of time. You can go to cocktail hour and enjoy the yummy appetizers! You can spend more time talking to your guests, freeing yourself up to party on the dance floor more after dinner.
    -You can have a comprehensive photo shoot with FI at multiple locations if you want.
    -It calms your nerves and gives you some special time alone on an otherwise busy day.
    -You can have the bridal party and family photos done just before the ceremony. Everyone can be there a little early and then your parents are free to greet the guests at cocktail hour and be good hosts.

    DH & I went and took photos together for about 2.5 hours, just relaxing and having fun.
    Then we reserved an hour for family photos, still prior to the ceremony. We did not have a wedding party, but have large family, so it was about the same as having a wedding party. That way everyone got to start partying right away. I am super happy with the way we did it. It was wonderful having some fun time together without suffering a gap for the guests or us missing out on all the fun at cocktail hour.

    The wow factor is not about how you look, your groom is wowed bc in that moment he sees his entire life ahead walking down the aisle. It's the marriage, the promise, the future, the way he feels about you that cause the WOW, not the dress, the makeup, the hair or the way you look. You new life together is the wow :)


    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    We had our first look before the ceremony.  We had the anticipation and excitement of that first look, but it was private.  (well, except for the photographer!)  That was priceless.  And like you, we had a winter evening wedding and I wanted photos outdoors, so it worked well for us.  I still had that excitement (as did my now DH) walking down the aisle, but alot of the nerves were gone.  I would do it that way again in a heartbeat.

    Oh, and one of the most important things.....we got to enjoy our cocktail hour!  One of my favorite parts of a wedding.  :)
  • We did them after the ceremony.  We got ready at seperate locations so a first look wasnt really even an option.  We each had seperate pics of us getting ready and with groomsmen/bridesmaids before, than after ceremony went to reception location and took pics durning cocktail hour.    Everythign was done and we got to about the last 10 minutes of the cocktail hour. 
  • mrscomposermrscomposer Mani-snow-ba member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer

    We're going to do them before our evening ceremony so that we don't have to be away from our reception.  We're actually doing our first look pictures at the church - he'll be standing at the front, and I'll walk down the aisle - there just won't be anyone else there.  Then we'll meet up with the bridal party and parents, and then go off just the two of us for a while.

    Immediately following the ceremony we'll do full family pictures with grandparents, and then off to the dancin'.

    **The OMH formerly known as jsangel1018**
  • DH was dead set on not seeing me on our wedding day until I came down the aisle. His best man told him that he audibly gasped when he saw me for the first time, and DH loved sharing that reaction with all of our close family and friends. I wouldn't have traded his reaction or mine for a first look. We had a detailed list of what family shots we wanted after the wedding, so those pics went by very quickly-less than 20 minutes. We spent about 20 minutes after those to get shots of he and I together, which was plenty of time for formals on the alter and some outside of the church. We didn't feel it necessary to have 100's of pics of us together, as long as we have 5-10 good ones we post edits, we'll be happy (our photog showed us a few in the camera as he was taking them, so we know there will be at least that many). We still made it to cocktail hour before it ended.
  • Photokitty nailed the pros for before the ceremony.  I loved our first look.  H and I had close to 2 hours of wandering around the venue with the photographers getting pictures.  Honestly, they're the best pictures of the entire day AND we wouldn't have anywhere near that much time to do B&G photos after the ceremony.  I've shown so many people our pictures who tell me they wish they had done pictures beforehand so they could have as many as we do.
  • I was also really torn on whether to do a first look or not. We have decided to go with a first look! Here's why:

    - We already live together - we own our home together - and have been dating for over 4 years. Its not like I'm a blushing virgin bride or something. There's no mystery here lol

    - I LOVE pictures and want to make sure I get every single shot I want on this most important day. I would hate to feel rushed or that I didn't get the shots I wanted in just an hour. Its just more practical

    - Our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception are all at the same place. The ceremony is outside and the cocktail hour and reception are inside the mansion. There are some really beautiful photo opportunities inside, which we would not be able to get (without all our guests staring at us) if we waited to take pictures after the ceremony

    - My fiancé is not a huge fan of pictures and I know will be antsy to join our friends and family at the cocktail hour. Honestly, I probably will be too because I love cocktail hours! I also don't want to keep our bridal party from enjoying the cocktail hour

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