convincing bride and groom to meet before the wedding

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by danzel_c, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. is the tradition that the bride and groom don't see each other until she walks down the isle just a midwest tradition or is this everywhere? in the 4 years or so that i've been shooting i have not been able to convince one couple to meet before the wedding for their shoot. everyone wants to stick to the tradition. do others have this same struggle? or are you even trying to do this? for the ones who are successful, how do you get them to agree to this? it would be nice if we could meet at a park an hour or so before the wedding with no distractions, both bride and groom are fresh and full of energy and excitement, etc.
  2. I lay out the options. Part of why my couples hire me is so they don't have to stress about the details of photography. I recommend meeting before the wedding to knock out the formals ahead of time, but I don't push it. I'm comfortable with either approach.
    If they need convincing, I don't think you'll be successful. Only the ones that are open to the idea and have specifically asked for my advice have switched their preliminary plans. Eric
  3. In Missouri...
    Actually I've done a few first meetings on video, haven't done one photo yet. Ya, the tradition is pretty entrenched. That's ok though, after the ceremony they aren't so uptight and then they can sweat a little and not worry about make up etc. I don't think there is any benefit in a first meeting. Just my take. Besides the before time has plenty of opp's for fantastic interaction between friends and family. They will see each other the rest of the hurry.
  4. I always meet with the bride and groom one week before the wedding day to go over everything and collect in final payments due , it is just good business. I have never had a bride or groom refuse..
  5. We almost always do the formals before the ceremony. I explain how much better the results will be and how free we are to do fun and exiting shots. My brides/grooms understand the inportance of stress free photography. They see results from other weddings and want the same. Alot of the brides also understand how 'not so nice' it is to keep your geusts waiting for an hour or more while they get pictures done. We still get a few that want to stay true to the tradition, just not as many as want to do pictures before. I love my brides for doing pictures before, so much easier!!!
  6. It's a fairly universal tradition in the US - as in not just the Midwest. My wife's family background is such that they also have the tradition that the bride gets ready at home, then is driven to the church in the wedding gown, etc. This can be uh, interesting to say the least having been at two family weddings with rainy days. FWIW, her family is predominantly Roman Catholic, I'm Episcopalian. They were pretty much surprised that the church (mine) not only expected the bride if not all of the wedding party to prepare at the church but actually had dressing rooms available and ready to do so.
    I'm expecting that my daughters will want to continue the tradition. That does mean that the family and photographer need to be organized (planned and discussed in advance) and ready to move out in a timely fashion on "formals" and that they plan a wrangler, and some kind of suitable diversions for the guests while the pictures are taken.
  7. The history of the traditions apparently dates back to the days of pre-arranged marriages and mail-order brides.....nowadays it's largely just a silly superstition. Once the B/G become aware of the superstitious basis for the tradition, many are more amenable to arranging a "first look" or "private time" to see each other before the nuptials.
  8. a work-around that I often use with those couples who don't want to see each other before the ceremony would be the following:
    • formals with the ladies/bride
    • groomsmen arrive, formals with guys/bride
    • bride leaves, then the groom comes
    • formals with ladies/groom
    • ladies leave for ceremony venue
    • formals with guys/groom
    • all the guys head to the ceremony venue
    that way, all that's left later are the full bridal party shots, and the couple shots. saves a lot of time between the ceremony. ;o)
  9. We never convince or even try to convince anyone to do anything other than what their wishes are. We are there to walk beside them and get the pictures when it fits into their schedule. If they ask for advice or wish to know what we would recommend, then we will tell them what we think is best. I would NEVER try to talk someone into changing their desires for THEIR wedding day.
    In the case that they do not want to see each other before...we do as David E. does above. Get what we can before and take the rest later.
    I struggle to understand why any photographer would put pressure on a couple to change their plans for their day.
  10. I do whatever the B&G want to do and don't try to convince them otherwise. My job is to capture their day no matter how they arrange it, not to orchestrate moments.
  11. I have to agree with Betty and Steve - the only justification would be time-saving or convenience for the photographer, and IMO that's not strong enough a reason to change somebody's wedding day.
    David dismisses the fear of meeting beforehand as a silly superstition, but how much of the ritual of a wedding day IS superstition? The garter, grandma's locket round the neck, the tossing of the bouquet, the service itself, the white dress, the cutting of the cake?
    If these expensive and illogical little rituals weren't there, how dull would the day be?
  12. Here in the UK most of my weddings follow the traditional format of not seeing each other before the wedding. I was actually shocked when I had one that they met up first, it was so unusual.
    We tend to fit the groups in the space between the ceremony and the reception, and it has worked well so far. We just see how many group shots the couple need and suggest a length of time needed, but most ofthe time they already have a decent gap to fit pictures in, as well as time for them to do some socialising.
    I would definately agree with the above posts about never trying to pursuade a couple to move their plans just because it's easier for us. I'm in the big belief of capturing a day as it happens, no matter what the timings.
    To be honest I prefer capturing photographs of a couple after the ceremony, as you are capturing them as a married couple. You're capturing the first pictures of their married life together. But maybe we're just more traditional here.
  13. interesting comments, thanks. of course there is no right or wrong scenario here, it's a personal decision. i think the bottom line is the question, will there be a difference in the pictures if the first meeting happens somewhere the bride and groom can be alone, or if the first meeting happens in a church isle in front of 150 guest? i think so. but maybe some people just aren't interested in that romantic first meeting where they can spend some time alone without anyone else around (except the photographer :)) before the stress and strain of the day kicks in. i agree that it should be about them, and not about convienence for the photographer. i like the idea of presenting it as an option and just letting them decide. it is something so outside of the norm for some people that it's probably just too stressful to think about it. it would probably require some major rearrangements to their day (time for the make-up artist, hair dresser, etc)that they just don't want to think about.
  14. About half my couples insist on not seeing each other before the ceremony. I am happy to do whatever they want, but if I sense they haven't decided for sure I try to point out the advantages to getting formals done early. The main one being much less time necessary for photos between ceremony and reception.
  15. "I struggle to understand why any photographer would put pressure on a couple to change their plans for their day." -Steve

    It's not necessary to "pressure" the couple to change their plans but we can make suggestions....a good pro can become part of the days planning as a consultant months before the actual wedding day. I've photographed over 500 weddings, the B/G often look to me for suggestions. I've gone as far as to suggest ceremony readings and for a couple of brides, their style of wedding dress.
    "I do whatever the B&G want to do and don't try to convince them otherwise. My job is to capture their day no matter how they arrange it, not to orchestrate moments." -Betty

    If we put groomsmen in tress, that would be Orchestrating moments, doing the "jump" shot or the walking bridal party also orchestrating moments. When we suggest time lines for photos or when shooting the formal altar shots with groups......again, that's orchestrating the moments.
  16. BTW, the "private time" or "first look" shooting has become a popular addition to wedding coverage and can make for some very memorable images. Many B/Gs are simply unaware of this possibility. By having some sample images on hand I've had some couples that have requested pressure, just an extra option.
    As Matt points out above, it makes sense to point out the advantages to the B/G.
  17. "I do whatever the B&G want to do and don't try to convince them otherwise. My job is to capture their day no matter how they arrange it, not to orchestrate moments." -Betty
    disagree. as professionals we should offer advice and try to influence based on our experience and the things that we have seen work well. although, ultimately, it's their decision.
  18. "I struggle to understand why any photographer would put pressure on a couple to change their plans for their day." -Steve
    i have often influenced the bride and groom's decision regarding the receiving line, and in the end they thank me for not having one. this is another one of those traditions that adds to the inefficiencies of the day.
  19. I'm a wedding photographer and I just got married myself last October. One of the things I daydreamed about the most during our engagement was what it would be like the first moment my soon-to-be husband saw me as I was walked down the aisle to be married. When it happened it was great, there was so much anticipation and emotion and I loved that all of our family and friends were there witnessing it. I would not want to trade that in so that we could save time later.
  20. It doesn't matter if the day is "inefficient". As a one time bride and a photographer now, I would have been really ticked off if my photographer tried to get me to cut a wedding tradition, or move it, just to make things more "efficient" for them.
    This is not an assembly line, it's a wedding. The whole DAY is tradition.
  21. David- I agree with you, and plenty of my bride and grooms have decided to do the first look. But, I just think there's a big difference between posing a shot that they themselves ASKED me to do (such as a group shot...done at a time when the B&G asked me to take a group shot) and asking a bride and groom to fore-go a tradition just to save time.
    If they decide to do it, good for them.
  22. I would have been really ticked off if my photographer tried to get me to cut a wedding tradition, or move it, just to make things more "efficient" for them. - Betty
    dont miss the point. who said it's just to save time, not me. it's not about us. it's about them. i make suggestions that i feel may be in "their" best interest. we have seen a lot more wedding than they have and hopefully they would try and draw from our experiences. not every bride and groom have professional wedding planners these days. it's usually a close friend or relative just trying to help out and sometimes even mom plays that role. i'm sure all of us have seen things that work well, and have seen some things that have not worked out so well. if their plan sounds good based on my experiences then great. but if something sounds like it won't work so well based on my experiences then i feel like i should say something, we talk through it, and they appreciate the discussion. they don't always go with my suggestions but at least they know they have a photographer who is willing to jump in and help where ever he can. i try and do more than just "take pictures" for the bride and groom. is it a bad thing to whisper in the bride's ear "fake the first one" for the bouquet toss just because it wasn't part of her plan? or asking them to "kiss" and the end of the isle during the processional because it makes a great shot?
  23. Actually, I think interfering with anything other than the posed shots that I was paid to set up is not really my job, but that's just my outlook as a photographer. The only time I give the B&G and bridal party ANY direction is when I'm taking their formals. Besides that, I'm a fly on the wall. I do "set ups" with the inanimate objects (dresses, flowers, etc) but I would never tell a bride and groom to kiss at the end of aisle during the processional. That's not when the 1st kiss is supposed to take place and it's interfering with what they may feel compelled to do on their day.
    The more you monkey with what is supposed to be spontaneous, the more contrived it looks. That's not the look I'm trying to get from my pictures.
    You can't "fake" the look of a 1st kiss, or the excitement of a bunch of ladies running after the bouquet "for real". Like I said, I love it when the B&G want to see one another prior to the wedding. It makes for great shots. But I would never suggest that they do it. I ask, and if they say no, I plan around biggie.
    It's their day. I'm not there to be a svengali to set up shots. There is enough emotion going around for real, I shouldn't have to fake it.
  24. Correction: I mean I ask THEM if they had planned to do it, not ask if they will do it.
  25. I ask them what they want and if they do not want formals before then i dont do them before. It is there day and i let them do what they want. I am on the west coast so about 65% of brides and grooms choose to do them before because i recomend it in our first meeting but i do not push it. I get to do the formals either way.
  26. I ask them what they want and if they do not want formals before then i dont do them before. It is there day and i let them do what they want. I am on the west coast so about 65% of brides and grooms choose to do them before because i recomend it in our first meeting but i do not push it. I get to do the formals either way.
  27. "or asking them to "kiss" and the end of the isle during the processional because it makes a great shot?"

    oops. i meant recessional.
  28. Ok, that makes more sense.
    I think it comes down to personal wedding photography view. I prefer to be as hands off as possible. I just think the more you mess, the more each wedding becomes more like the last one, it takes away the personality of the couple sometimes. Usually the bride and groom kiss at the end of the processional just have to be on your toes. And it makes for a much more realistic emotion.
  29. It is mainly the venues that place the time line on the B&G , in our market. With a 1/2 hour cocktail gathering after the ceremony > puts a real crunch on the photos post the B&G has no time with their guests, to mingle. ( And it is the best time for me to grab candids) 2 hours before :: is fairly standard . It is up to them if they want quality coverage....
  30. When I got married, my photographer convinced me to do the photos before hand by explaining that we would be more relaxed when the ceremony started. I bought it and I think he was right. I also used this reason to convince the bride and groom from my last wedding, they agreed as well and I was able to do the photos prior to the ceremony.
  31. Though I love it when the B&G meet before the ceremony, it is their day and their choice.
  32. No one in this thread has denied that the day doesn't belong to the B/G or that their wishes be discarded or Denzel has already stated: "as professionals we should offer advice and try to influence based on our experience and the things that we have seen work well. although, ultimately, it's their decision" .......and I completely agree with him.
  33. A lot of opinions on this one - interesting :)
    Ditto Betty, Anna and Steve. I've never suggested a couple do anything on their wedding day. I'm comfortable working with whatever happens. It's their day and I like to let it unfold as it happens. If I felt I couldn't make the most of every moment without arranging certain situations then I wouldn't be there in the first place.
    I buy the argument of making suggestions, but only if asked directly for an opinion by the couple. Otherwise there's too much risk of the photographer influencing the outcome of the day based on their previous experiences. I've been a guest at some weddings where the photographer has been heavy on the direction and the day has descended into relentless cliche, with appallingly contrived and lackluster photographs. Not for any lack of effort on behalf of the photographer, but simply because they didn't seem to know any different, and were probably doing what they'd always done.
  34. There are thousands of different ways to approach the day. I haven't liked the results I've seen from photographers who try and influence or orchestrate moments outside of the formals.
    It's just not the direction I would want to take my work, but it doesn't make it wrong.
  35. I've been shooting wedding professionally for 4 years now (averaging 10 + per year) and just yesterday had my first one where the bride and groom insisted on not seeing each other prior to the wedding.
    The coordinator came up to me at one point after the wedding (just as someone needed for another group shot remarked about being hungry for the upteenth time) and said that SHE tried to convince them to see each other before and do a staged first look shot. We ended up doing two hours of formals before the ceremony and another hour and 45 minutes after. The groom had a large extended family that he wanted photos of...
    To me - it doesn't matter...but if a couple decides to do the bride / groom seperately before and the formals with the wedding party together in between the two - they should have a backup plan for food for the participants in the photos and perhaps even the guests...or at least tell the guests that they will be at the reception at a certain time so guests can make plans for alternative food / snacks.
    Just my 2 cents worth.
  36. Generally > how much time does the average venue allow between the ceremony and the time the guest are seated to dine ?? That to me sets the parameters for the B&G 's day.
  37. I don't try to convince people if they seem content about not seeing each other before. However, if asked, or if the schedule seems to be a problem, I will talk about the option, but not to convince, just to explain how it can be done, leaving the final decision to the couple. Sometimes I get couples who come to me already wanting to do the formals beforehand.
    More than anything else, the notion is really about the bride making the big impression (in the dress) on her groom. This is why the 'first glance' session involves simulating a 'processional' of sorts--either bride walks down the aisle as if during the ceremony, or taps the groom on the shoulder (he has had his back turned), or vice versa, but it is usually the bride that walks. It is this romantic notion, and not so much tradition, that keeps brides from giving up the idea.
    If looking for reasons to convince, properly explaining that none of that is taken away, must be done. That plus the bonus of quiet time with each other, where they might exchange gifts, etc. And, they can cry, laugh, and be themselves since no one is around, whereas during a ceremony, there are people all watching. In fact, many times, I am specifically asked by the bride to photograph the groom when he first sees the bride down the aisle. I dutifully take the picture, but during the ceremony, it is actually a rare groom that displays much emotion on the face since there are a lot of eyes on him. My favorite was when a recent groom burst into tears as soon as he saw the bride. Needless to say, I shot a ton of images. But that is one in hundreds of weddings.
    As for the idea that meeting before saves time, I doubt it. In fact, one of the disadvantages to this type of meeting is that the people in the formals all need to be at the church (or wherever) much earlier than 'normal', and more often than not, people are still late, meaning you don't get to fulfill the goal of getting it all done beforehand. The advantage, really, is about getting to the reception faster, not a real savings of time. Many couples think that if they do all the formals beforehand, they can literally recess down the aisle, step outside, and disappear into their car. Not true--you still need to get some other shots, most likely, so it isn't all that huge a time saver after.
    How directive a photographer is also has an impact, and this goes to the photographer's philosophy re wedding photography. Photographers are all different--that is why we are seeing differences in ways to handle the situation in the discussion above. None of the philosophies are right or wrong, and one would assume that clients choose their photographer because they agree with or trust that photographer's philosophy of wedding photography.
  38. Well not for the last 24 hours, anyway. The bride is too busy getting smashed with her girlfriends, and the groom is trying to find out who has the cd of the bucks party so it can be destroyed. Do it the week before.
  39. It has really become rare for the bride and groom not to see one another in the weddings I photograph. I've only had two in the last three years that didn't want to see another. Most brides want it that way because they want to have the time to get good photos with out the rush of trying to get all the formals done after the ceremony while people are waiting at the reception.
    I always start with the bride and groom and I set up a meet for them. If it is a church we clear the sanctuary and the bride walks down the aisle with the groom's back turned until she calls his name. I take a few quick shots as they come together and then I leave giving them a few minutes by themselves. To me it is by far the best way for everyone involved. It does require some people arriving earlier but it also allows the bride and groom, family and friends to go and immediately celebrate with one another at the reception.
    I usually don't have to talk the bride into this, they've already have made their minds up to do it that way. I had one bride tell me she was going to wait until after the ceremony until she went to one where all the formals were taken after the ceremony. She never got to speak to the bride because it took so long for the photos to be taken.
  40. It must be because I do a lot of Catholic weddings, I find it's almost unheard of that my Catholic wedding brides see the groom before hand....and I respect that.
  41. "It must be because I do a lot of Catholic weddings, I find it's almost unheard of that my Catholic wedding brides see the groom before hand....and I respect that." -Betty
    Over half of all my 500 weddings have been Catholic and I'm not aware of anything that would make a Catholic wedding incompatible with the couple seeing each other beforehand.
  42. again, thanks for the replies. this thread has indeed helped me to develop a new approach regarding a private moment before the ceremony for the bride and groom. for those of us who would never offer the idea, at least now you know that there are some out here who do.
  43. I AM Catholic, have been in several Catholic weddings, been personal attendant for several and they've ALL had portraits done before the ceremony....just my personal experience. However, I think it may go in cycles, like a trend.
  44. I didn't say it was an impossibility. I am Catholic as well. I just offered it as a possibility for the reason why none of my brides seem to want to see their fiance prior to the wedding.
  45. Hi. That's a very good question. I'm originally from the Philippines where most people are catholic and we have that very same tradition. We moved to Australia almost 10 years ago and it's the same thing here so I guess this tradition is indeeed everyhwere.
    Perhaps some wedding coordinators and planners can shed more light into this. You might want to visit this site called Australian Bridal Directory for more information. It helps me a lot when it comes to weddings.
  46. Greg- Do you mean it's a tradition that they DO see one another or they don't?
  47. I got married myself last year. I did not see my wife-to-be in her wedding dress until she came walking down the isle. It was a very very powerful experience for us. I'll never forget that moment, it is burned into my brain.
    As such I would encourage other couples to do the same, if they wish to do so. This means that formals and creative shots have to take place between the ceremony and the reception. This means that you need time to get though those shots and you need to be organized. So, rather than encouraging couples to water down one of the most powerful experiences of their lives for the sake of a few staged photos, I suggest spelling out to the couple that you need time and organization to get those photos that they'll spend their hard-earned dollars on.
    Planning a reception at six pm? How about the doing the ceremony at 2 pm instead of 3 pm. Or how about serving appetizers at six and putting off dinner until seven or later. How about skipping the receiving line after the ceremony, and doing the receiving line later in the evening. It's easy to lose track of time when you're trying to chat with a hundred people at the same time, trying to catch up on things. Better to jump right into formals, right after the ceremony, before people wander off in all directions and have to be pulled away from conversations.
    I don't think doing formals before the ceremony is a time saver in the end. The bride will have to get the hair and make-up done in the morning anyways - so from an overall time perspective, in the end it doesn't matter whether you do the formals or ceremony first. The bride will have to get up at 7 am on her wedding day if she wants to get though all the steps.
    p.s. in the last two years I've uncle-bobbed two weddings where the pro in attendance did not get the choked-up groom shot when the bride walks down the isle. I got it on both occasions (from my seat on a pew, don't worry I didn't jump in the way). Attention tends to be on the bride when she walks down the isle, not on the groom... In both cases the couple were very happy to get the choked-up groom shot from me.
  48. Howdy!
    Doing all the formals before the ceremony has very little to do with The Photographer's Convenience. When you do split formals, you hold up the reception, thus keeping the guests and caterers waiting. It's much better to leave the church and go straight to the party, and that's how I sell it to my clients. I have never had a client refuse to do all formals before the ceremony when I sell it using this approach.
  49. One more thought: I arrange a "first meeting", where the bride walks up the aisle while the groom has his back turned to her. When he turns around, there are several wonderful moments to capture.
    Regarding the "choked up look" on the grooms face, I've rarely seen it. Most of the time, it's "Deer in the Headlights" as he practices his line (I Do, I Do, I Do ...)
  50. Paulsky, I can typically get the shot of the groom at the moment he first sees her provided the church rules allow me to stand in my preferred position. Indeed, more often than not it is a "Deer in the Headlights" moment :)
    I think it's interesting how many people are concerned with orchestrating moments and the amount of participation vs. non participation on the part of the photographer. I frequently recommend that people purchase: Volume 1, 2, or 3 and watch how Pfister, Yervant, Woods, Calentano, Pierce, Skulte and several other top-notch photographers do what they do. I think most newcomers will be surprised with how many spontaneous moments were actually set-up by the photographer. I remember one new shooter that watched one a couple of years ago, she seemed to be in shock and as if she just heard the truth about Santa. I'm guessing it's still in the P-net archives somewhere.
  51. <p>I think it all boils down to what you want for your clients and what kind of photography coverage you are selling. Some clients really prefer a hands-off approach. Normally, my formals take about 45 the very most. The rest of the day is completely unobtrusive and non-orchestrated. Completely fly on the wall. I love the results I get from this.<br>
    To each their own, as is the case with MANY aspects of photography.
  52. I always present all the options and let the couple decide. I have had many couples who have decided NOT to see each other prior to the ceremony regret their decision. I have never had a couple who has decided to see each other ahead of time regret their decision.
    This brings to mind an interesting story. This particular couple opted to have all their formal portraits taken prior to the ceremony. During the ceremony, the bride accidentally spilled red win all over her dress. This was in the film days prior to digital retouching. The bride thanked me many times for offering her the option.....-Aimee
  53. it


    Personally I don't try to convince them of anything. It's their day, not mine. I throw in my 2 cents on a few things but really just work around what they decide.
    When it comes to tradition, that's the last thing I would mess with.
  54. I'm getting in on the tail end of this but I feel pretty strongly about this ...
    I would be very careful about trying to convince people to change to something as big as this. If you have to "convince" them it's probably not a great idea to push the pre wedding picture session.
    I'm all for giving them the option, but I wouldn't push the matter. I felt very strongly about not seeing my husband till the big moment and if a photographer had tried to talk me into changing that I probably would have walked away, and at the very least I would have felt defensive. Pushing an idea the couple isn't thrilled about can lead to lost clients or clients that agree to your ideas but maybe aren't happy with it, feeling pressured into doing something they don't want to do.
    As someone else mentioned, if a couple feels strongly about not seeing each other before the wedding, you can still do at least some of the formals before hand and save the others for after.
  55. We generally accommodate by first :: shooting the bride/family 2 hours before & the groom gets the hour > just before the ceremony .... if they do not wish to be seen together beforehand.
    We can then shoot the couple/party immediately after the ceremony ---they just miss most of their cocktail session with their guests. Not my rules, just the time line at the venues.
  56. I lay it all out to them and explain why it's preferable; I'm there as the pro to advise what I know in my experience will help attain the best results, just as a Doctor may advise about a treatment plan or a lawyer a legal strategy. I make them aware of all the benefits associated with so doing, they may not be aware that it's more then just about being free to attend their cocktail hour. Then it's their choice, but either way they'll know what to expect.

    I also tell them that breaking tradition by seeing each other before the wedding doesn't have any negative impact on their marriage, but from what I know, that seems to have more to do with seeing each other *after* the wedding, ha, ha.
  57. I'm with Arie Vandervelden on this one.
    Rarely have I had couples that wanted to do this and when I did it was second weddings that were very casual and no big reception - or couples that already eloped and were doing a real wedding for family and friends. These were couples that wanted to go to historical sites and spend some time doing something special.
    I also worked with couples often to give them ideas for a 1 1/2 hour or 2 hour cocktail hour or have the ceremony moved back an hour so we'd have some time to do everything they wanted to do.
    As my couples hired me to do "real moments".... ...."real memories" - which was my slogan on my site, cards, brochures etc... they were not into doing the shots before hand.
    Furthmore, prior to the ceremony, there is so much to do! You run into people being late, rushed and stressed from late hair appts, problems with lost shoes, late florists, last minute decisions about the outdoor festivities because maybe it's going to rain etc. etc.. Couples often are also trying to remember/memorize vows, worried about the details and so on... The stress of all this can really show in photos on the faces and even in the way people carry themselves.
    In my case, I'm very happy I didn't have to do this often. Probably 5-6 times in 17 years. The joy and happiness 'after' the wedding is palpable. I can see this in the entire family and especially the couple.
    I do photos of the bride, the bride with the girls, the bride with family members and sometimes the groomsmen ahead of time and I can see a huge difference in the photos I do later after the ceremony in everyone.
    But - that's just me. No offense intended... but I personally always felt this practice was to make the photographer's job easier - not the couple's photos better... Although I do understand that if they have a large list - it does allow the couple to get this out of the way so they can transition from the ceremony to the party that can be a great asset for the couples. Again, I prefer other alternatives and to get many of the shots - without the couples - done ahead of time to make it a faster session between the ceremony and the party
  58. Well, OTOH, when the portrait session is confined to the cocktail hour, some of the critical time needed is cut shorter and impacted by participants arriving late, the waitstaff coming along to take orders and then serving the B&G and other participants (sometimes while you're right there taking the shot and they step right into the frame), the MC or DJ who says he only needs to speak to them for 5 minutes (which turns into 15) regarding getting the order of the names correct for the entrance and making sure they have the right songs picked out, the Caterer who wants to show them the room before they open it up, the Dad who figures he might as well have a drink since it's the cocktail hour and he's not needed at that exact moment and disappears and doesn't return by the time he is needed. Or the dad who asked me to "hurry up" because he was hungry and wanted to get to the cocktail hour. And of course, the B&Gs themselves who would really like to attend their cocktail hour in the first place and get a lttle antsy about it, and I don't blame them.

    There's also something to be said for having an earlier time period where nothing is scheduled, the B&G can have that moment where things are lighter, and less stressed out in getting their session done. They get to see each other for the first time, twice, that day. And I've noticed those sessions seem to produce more relaxed results - and twice the memories. Jasmine Star blogged recently about having a similar experience herself when she was a bride.

    Make the photographer's job "easier"? Well, let's say we shouldn't make it more difficult then it need already be. I don't insist that my Doctor try to examine me while I'm doing other things, like conferring with my office manager about my agenda for the day or order pizza to be delivered so I can have something to eat while I'm in the examination room.

    You know, I often think that no where else on the wedding day do the B&G schedule two events to happen at the same time like they do when they figure taking the portrait sessions during the cocktail hour. So I suggest that if they're going to schedule two things to happen at once, it really would be better to have the cocktail hour occur during the ceremony. That way, they can have a drink, as can their guests, while they're getting married.
  59. The "nail the exposure in the camera" JPG premise certainly is misleading. Most of those photographers have images where the gown's blown out, when they're exposing for the face. The photographers for whom that loss of detail would drive them up a wall, shoot RAW, I've noticed.
  60. I've shot many of my B&G portraits before the wedding cermony. It seems to be about 50/50 here. Many couples have their portraits shot in a studio so I guess they find it easier to go to a studio before the ceremony if they have a rush to get to the reception after the ceremony.
  61. I wouldnt convince them if they really dont want to. But, if they are indifferent.. great! more time for pics!
    My husband and I met before our wedding to get all our "romantics" out of the way so we would have more time to party! and not keep people waiting..
    =) good luck!

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