Should you see each other before the wedding?

Make it a private party

   Nearly every engaged couple faces the decision of scheduling their formal wedding photography before or after the nuptials. Implicit in the question is whether or not the couple should see each other before the ceremony. While both approaches have pros and cons, most couples of today vote for practicality.

   More than 20 years ago, most weddings had the group compositions photographed after the wedding or in a fashion called “split formals”. This method allowed the wedding photographer to take as many images as possible without the bride and groom seeing each other before the vows, and completing the session after the ceremony. While split-formals reduced the time guests had to wait, they hardly eliminated it.

   Today, very few couples have all of the formals photographed after the wedding, and a large portion elect to have all of the group photography prior to the ceremony. Newlyweds are electing not to miss any part of the festivities for photography sessions. After all, this is usually the biggest party of their lives!

Savoring the anticipation

   But what about savoring the anticipation that is part of not seeing your betrothed before the wedding? Consider an idea that many photographers call, “private time”. Set the stage in the sanctuary, or any place of your choosing, for the couple to meet prior to the ceremony and the photo session. Post groomsmen at all entrances, allowing no one to enter. Then the two lovebirds can hug, kiss, cry, pray, exchange gifts, or whatever else they’d like to do in private. This is probably the only uninterrupted time they’ll have together until the end of the day.

Grand Entrance

   But what about the grand entrance to the ceremony? Won’t this nouveau notion kill the thrill, relegating it to anti-climatic afterthought? Hardly!

    In contrast, many couples who wait until the ceremony to see each other for the first time are on sensory overload. Stage freight is rampant, and when the couple finally meet in front of the officiant and guests, they can’t kiss, tell each other how much they love each other, or give a reassuring hug.


   Scheduling the wedding photographs beforehand isn’t just a good suggestion, it’s a valuable investment tip to maximize your time to enjoy your party and to optimize your experience on “your day”. It makes a difference not only in the photographs, but in the whole wedding experience. It’s been said hindsight is 20/20: here’s a chance to include a bit of high quality hindsight into your foresight.