One of the first questions your planner and photographer are going to ask you with regards to your wedding day timeline is, “Are you planning to see each other prior to the ceremony?”.
This is a conversation I love to have with my couples as we discuss what is best for THEM, and I am always happy to share my thoughts and suggestions!
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Some of my couples have already made that decision and are very passionate about keeping things traditional as they do not want to lose the “magic” and anticipation of seeing other at the aisle. It might be what you have dreamt of, or it might be influenced by your faith, or family tradition.
I completely respect that, and when my couples choose this option, we create a timeline that will accommodate that vision.
However, If I were being asked for my best recommendation based on logistics, and the best use of your investment of hiring me as your photographer, I will always recommend seeing each other prior.
Here are my thoughts.
You have spent months, (sometimes years), planning this incredible marriage celebration to share with your nearest and dearest, and I know it’s important that you two spend as much time with them as possible. When you choose to see each other prior to the ceremony, we are able to photograph all of the formal portraits prior; which gives you the opportunity to spend your cocktail hour with your guests and join that party! It can feel overwhelming and stressful when you have to be whisked away immediately after the ceremony to get all the formals photographed in one quick hour, especially if you have a large wedding party, and a large family, that is a challenge. It’s also very tempting for your wedding party and family to want to join that cocktail party as well, and it can steal some of our precious time corralling them. Naturally, you will be mindful of your guests waiting on you, and it makes it a bit tougher to get those natural, relaxed images of you when on a strict time constraint.
When scheduling these prior, I am able to spend more time on the formal portraits, and typically we have 90+ minutes to work with.
The “Grand Reveal” as I like to call it, can also be one of the most memorable and emotionally charged moments of your day!
It’s important to help my couples create a unique and private experience for that grand reveal. Personally, I am not a fan of the “walk up and tap him on the shoulder” scenario we have seen a million times. At ALL.
The grand reveal is just that…it’s the revealing of each other on your MARRIAGE day. That should look different for each couple.
You should be given that space to be emotional, and to take each other in. A pause, and the opportunity to be present and time to appreciate every little detail that went into your gown, hair, suit and bouquet. Your day will fly by, I promise you! This is a great way to slow things down a bit.
My goal is to create a tender and reverent environment for this special moment. I also want everything to flow naturally, and effortlessly. This is YOUR time. This is likely the only precious moments you will have during your entire wedding day with just the two of you. (Aside from your photo and video team of course…ha ha)
I have had couples read their vows to each other during this time, exchange gifts, letters, and have even had couples play music or a have a musician playing in the background! Music evokes emotion as well as drowns out any distracting noise. It’s always a welcome addition. The grand reveal also helps rid you of your nerves and now you get the opportunity to share more of your wedding day together! As soon as you are ready, we then move right into the bride and groom portraits. The tone has already been set, and you are already in that “space” to be natural, affectionate, and full of joy! This also means you won’t likely feel as overwhelmed with photo’s when we steal you away during the reception for those golden hour photo’s…which are absolutely some of the best of the day!
If you have a video team hired, seeing each other prior also gives them more time with you to get those creative shots. If your photography and video team are shooting most portraits after the ceremony, this also minimizes our time to spend on those very important reception detail shots for you. We need to “divide and conquer” more with this scenario, and those shots will be less.
Lastly, I will close with this. I have never had a couple express regret seeing each other prior, but I have had couples regret choosing to wait. Truthfully, the magic of the moment you are getting married is not diminished by having seen each other already. The moment is different, and it’s your public declaration of your love and commitment to each other! The celebratory energy is like nothing else!
Ultimately, it’s my job to communicate all of the options and realistic expectations with my couples, and whether or not you choose to see each other prior or not, it will be your BEST DAY EVER.
Make sure to see Katie and Jon’s full wedding gallery HERE