Melisa - Melissa, Thank you so much for referring this blog post to me on Open Source. Even though the wedding is over it will help me alot in the future. Thanks!
Erica P - Make sure more than one person knows how to bustle the wedding dress. I have seen this happen multiple times: it’s easy to watch the lady at the bridal shop bustle it in a brightly-lit shop weeks prior to the big day. However, when the light starts to give way to a darker hallway at the reception hall - or crowded, overly warm bridal room at the church- it’s a different story. (Photographers - pay attention to how different dresses bustle! Your help may be needed, more often that you'd think.) Same goes for your veil – even if your hairstylist puts it on for you. Veils and tiaras can come out or become loose or crooked, and need to be taken out and put back in straight after you hug 150 people, get dipped during a kiss, or get caught in a sudden wind gust. Make sure someone knows how to put it on you - correctly –it really hurts to have your veil put on upside down!
Tina - These posts are great - so helpful, thanks for posting them!
Amy - I couldn't agree more. You encouraged Brandon and I to see each other before the ceremony and it was so much better than I could ever imagine. It's our day, why spend it apart because of some silly superstition when you can calm each other down and spend the day together?
Melissa - this is a amazing post. thanks so much for sharing your information from a professional standpoint. one question. do you ever experience last family members when photographing family ahead of ceremony? I've never done that before.
Jenni - You tell them girl. I love that you feel as strongly as I do.
Irene Smith - First off - I have to tell you how much I love and admire your photography. I often come to your blog before a shoot for inspiration (I am very much a newbie). I think you have brought up very good and valid points that most brides and grooms don't think about! I used to be in the camp of "never see each other before the wedding", but now I am definitely rethinking my views! I did want to add one other advantage of pre-wedding photos. I think it is much more polite to your guests to be free to join them soon after the wedding. I have been to many weddings where the guests are in limbo for HOURS waiting for the bridal party. One time, in fact, it was FOUR hours.
Amanda Rae - I love your informational posts (in addition to your amazing photography of course)! You explain things so well and think of details I never would have.
Casey Figlewicz - Great post! Thanks for sharing this. I wish I could think of great stuff like this for my blog:)
erin harvey - I couldn't agree more! We always offer a suggested timeline because everyone under-estimates photo times especially. Thank you for posting this, I'll surely bookmark it!
Maria Nissen - I love how your brain works! Thanks for sharing this.
Jennifer Thinnes, Outstanding Occasions - This is full of great nuggets of information, thanks for the time to sit down and spell this out,. Very useful for both bride and vendors alike.
john waire - great post melissa. thank you!
Keith Pitts - Excellent post.
Liza - Great information, Melissa! I used to be that girl who wanted to wait to see my hubby-to-be at the ceremony but after seeing all the wonderful photos of the 'first look', why not? It totally takes away the stress from the day!
Tanya Mills - Melissa, this information is so helpful. Thank you for sharing. Your brides are definitely lucky to have you!
denise karis - your blog totally makes me want to start shooting weddings - that last couple was sooooo sweet! It totally makes sense to see each other before the wedding! look at the emotional moments theyd miss out on capturing if they wait until the wedding starts!!
Tira J - You said everything perfectly. I just love how some traditions have remained the same and that is to see each other before the ceremony. We got married 8 1/2 years ago and saw each other prior to the ceremony, and it was the best thing we ever did. We still talk about it, and now encourage all of our couples to do the same. We want to have as much of an influence on our couples as we can, but we also have to continue to remember their own family traditions and customs.
Shannon S. - As your assistant, I've definitely seen the benefits of brides and grooms seeing each other before the wedding. As much as a bride and groom think they won't mind doing pictures after the ceremony, there are always stressful moments or feelings of impatience that get in the way of good pictures. Getting those done beforehand makes the whole process so much calmer and more relaxed. As a bride, seeing my husband before the ceremony was probably my favorite part of the day. We were able to take as much time as we needed to get our portraits done so they all felt and looked really relaxed and natural. It also provided me with one of my favorite shots of Greg from the entire day...when he first saw me. There's no guarantee that the photographer can capture that moment with all of your guests around and the bride walking down the aisle. But when it's just the two of you, the photographer has every opportunity to capture that moment. And it's ABSOLUTELY true what Melissa wrote about being a calming moment. Having that one-on-one time made the rest of the night talking with everyone much more enjoyable.
Jamie Delaine - Oooh! Looking forward to the rest of the posts. Y'know, before I started shooting weddings I never ever would have dreamed of seeing my groom before the wedding, but now I definitely do!! First Look all the way!!
Sherri - Great post Melissa! I also highly recommend to my clients that they see each other pre-ceremony. It makes the day run so much smoother, they are able to relax and focus on what is about to occur, they are not nearly as anxious, and they can react emotionally in ways that they may not normally if a 150 sets of eyes are staring at them. In fact, one of my grooms was so excited to see his bride that he took off sprinting across the courtyard to get to her as quickly as possible, picked her up and spun her around, the pics were amazing!
Cameron Clark | C+K Studio - Hi Melissa! Great post! I felt myself agreeing with you yet I usually subscribe to a totally different viewpoint. Don't you find that the light BEFORE the ceremony is harsh and bright? That is my major problem with shooting before-hand. Maybe that's because I work mostly in vast landscapes in Sedona and Flagstaff... I agree...it is GREAT to get the portraits over pre-ceremony so that the couple can enjoy post-ceremony festivities, but does it really take 1.5 hours to get family portraits and groups done? I see that you allow 30 minutes for your bride/groom portraits, and 30 minutes each family and bridal party? My solution is to get a narrow list ahead of time of 5 groupings total. Interesting point about the arranged marriages! Finally, I have about 80% of my couples who choose NOT see each other before-hand, but it's totally up to them.