It seems that a big dilemma with our couples is often whether they should do their photos together before the wedding or after.
Here are some of the arguments I hear against it and my responses to each:
It's tradition for us not to see each other.
My answer: This tradition comes from when marriages were a business proposition and brides/daughters were bought and sold as property! They didn't want the groom to see the bride until it was too late for him to back out! (that's what the groomsmen were for you know!) Personally, my feeling is that any woman with half an ounce of feminism will reject this tradition as sexist and not something that a woman who is CHOOSING her mate would ever do!
I want the first time he sees me to be when I go down the aisle.
My answer: The moment when he sees you is between the two of you, not the two of you and two hundred guests! Wouldn't you rather be able to actually see his reaction, rather than having everyone stand and block your view as soon as you step into the room? Wouldn't you prefer that the groom be able to really let his true emotions out, rather than to feel that he has to "suck it up" because 200 people are watching him?
My xxxx (insert the appropriate person--parents, siblings, attendants or friends) will have a fit if we see each other before the ceremony.
My answer: Don't tell them. Keep it between you and your photographer. If you don't want them to try to talk you out of it, then don't TELL them! They won't argue with you about what they don't know. Once you get to the day of the wedding, it really is too late for them to argue with you about it. You just say "this is the way our photographer suggested/insisted/required that we do it" and then you go about your business.
It won't be as "special" if it isn't when I go down the aisle.
We have had a lot of couples take their photos before the wedding together. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has said that it was THE MOST SPECIAL MOMENT OF THE ENTIRE DAY!
They had a chance to talk to each other (which isn't something you have in the middle of a ceremony) they could kiss and hug each other, and say "gee, we are really getting married today! Do you believe it?! and stuff like that. It isn't in the middle of the ceremony where you can only look at each other and not really express your true feelings to each other at that moment. Your groom can look at you with tears running down his cheeks and say "you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and I am SO happy to be marrying you today!"
My dear friend who has been married nearly 40 years did the photos before their wedding, and she STILL gets choked up about it when she talks about how special that time before the ceremony was to them!
It won't make any difference, so we'll just go with tradition.
My answer: It does make a difference! A huge difference!
First, your pictures will come out SO much better! When you do all your photos together before the wedding, you are still "fresh". Your hair and makeup are still pristine. You haven't been hugged and kissed by 200 guests! Consequently your photos will come out SO much better!
Second: You are both so much more at ease. When you see each other beforehand you have an opportunity to talk ("so, do you like the dress?" "wow! we're actually getting married today!") so you are much calmer, less tense and more at ease, than you are when people are running around worrying about whether you will see each other or not.
Third: You are able to enjoy the cocktail hour, and move from the ceremony to the reception without feeling rushed and overwhelmed. You can greet your guests, have bubbles or petals, take a group picture with all your guests, have some hors d'oeuvres and enjoy yourselves without feeling like you should be out smiling for a camera.
Fourth: You have more opportunities to shoot some photos at other locations--the Dunes, Ogden Gardens, Deep River, the fountain in Aberdeen, where ever you want to go. You have the earlier part of the day to go and take photos in those special places, without having to squeeze it in between your ceremony and reception.
I honestly don't know of a single photographer who doesn't recommend doing the photos together before the wedding. These are folks that do weddings all the time, and they KNOW how much better it is! Talk to your photographer about it. Find out if they will make it a special moment for just the two of you. Tell them you are considering doing your photos together before the wedding, and see what they have to say about it. I think you will find that any photographer that knows weddings will applaud you for your good sense and they will tell you that you have made a very wise decision, based on fact and not silly antiquated traditions.
And it isn't bad luck either, the two couples I know who have been married the longest of any of my friends, both did their photos before the wedding! I KNOW you will thank me for this after the wedding! I feel very confident that it is something that once you experience it, you will wonder why anyone would ever do it any other way.