Q: Is it better to do take the family and “formal” pictures before the wedding, or after?
A: Unless you are a very traditional couple (or the custom of not seeing each other until you walk down the aisle is important to you), then it’s usually more convenient to take pictures with both your families and bridal party before the ceremony.
Generally I strongly advise couples to schedule most of their formal photos before their ceremony if:
1. Their ceremony takes place during or shortly before sunset.
2. They have an outdoor ceremony on what is anticipated to be a hot day (girls’ hair and makeup are usually their “freshest” if the pictures are taken beforehand).
3. One or both of the newlyweds will have a large number of family or guests in attendance who may interrupt family pictures after the ceremony to request or take their own photos, or congratulate the couple.
4. The couple wants to attend their own cocktail hour.
5. The couple has a greater number of immediate family members and/or “people combinations” to be photographed, so the photographer is less rushed to accommodate this.
As photographers, oftentimes when doing pictures before the ceremony we still arrange for the couple to have a “moment” when they see each other for the first time so they still have that memory. I’ve often heard brides say it was actually more special that way, and as a result they could focus more on “not tripping” when walking down the aisle instead of their groom at the front!
If, after reading all the reasons to schedule your photos before the ceremony, you *STILL* can’t let go of that special instant you’ve envisioned for when you walk down the aisle—then if I were you I wouldn’t change a thing, and do the pictures afterwards when you originally intended to do them. If your photographer is a true professional then he or she can accommodate your wishes regardless of what time during the wedding day they take place…and ultimately you will have no regrets!