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Thursdays Tip – Formal Photos and seeing each other before the ceremony

When it comes to the formal photos this is an area that can suck time (and sometimes the life) out of your wedding day.

The timing on these photos typically depends on if the couple is seeing each other before the service or not.   If seeing each other before the service then many of the formal setups, along with a “first look” set of photos, can be taken before most the guests start arriving for the service.  This is a great opportunity to knock these out of the way early and thus free up time between the ceremony and reception.

A few benefits of seeing each other early and doing the formals before the ceremony:

  1. Everyone is at their freshest.   Makeup and hair has just been done and is perfect.
  2. Relieves some of the stress off the rest of the day.  Getting that first look done early gives you a chance to spend some time with the most important person in your world this day before all the emotion of the ceremony hits.   This often helps relieve the stress that can build up during the waiting time before hand.
  3. Limit time everyone has to spend between the ceremony and reception.   Once the ceremony is done most people are ready to go celebrate, this makes that happen faster.   Photos are also easier before hand since there isn’t a handful of family and friends doing the paparazzi part and slowing down the formals as they get their copies of every shot.

Typically for family and wedding party photos regardless of before or after the ceremony I’ll go for the basics such as:

  • Groom w/ groomsman
  • Groom w/ bridesmaids
  • Bride w/ groomsman
  • Bride w/bridesmaids
  • entire wedding party
  • B&G with brides extended family
  • B&G with brides immediate family
  • B&G with brides parents
  • B&G with grooms extended family
  • B&G with grooms immediate family
  • B&G with grooms parents

Those are the core I alway try and knock out right away.   When schedules are tight these can be handled in usually under 15-20 minutes.

If there are requests and time available we then work on other combos, Groom and his dad, groom and best man, bride and her mom, bride and maid of honor, etc.

The key to making photos before the ceremony work however is having everyone at the location early enough to do these photos.  If doing family photos early don’t tell you brother it’s ok to show up just before the ceremony.    All it takes is one person not showing up until just before the ceremony to relegate an entire block of photos to after the ceremony and loosing some of the benefit of seeing each other early and knocking out the formals ahead of the rest of the activities.

Until next time,

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