The gorgeous Liz and Kyle were married on New Years Eve 2016 at Zealandia in Wellington. They chose to have their photos before the ceremony so that they could spend as much time as possible with their friends and family on the day.
I am often asked what I think about "first look" sessions or having your creative shoot before the ceremony and I think it boils down to what is most important to you both.
If you want the impact of walking down the aisle /standing at the front of the aisle and seeing your beloved in all their splendour and want to share that moment with friends and family - then a shoot before the ceremony may not be right for you.
In saying this, I have seen couples who have already spent lots of time together before the ceremony still get emotional when when one walks down the aisle. I think there is a lot of love and magic around this moment. Don't forget your guests haven't seen you, so there is still impact and a rush of emotions for many.
If you have family and friends traveling from out of town or overseas you probably want to spend lots of time with them. If you have already had your photos before the ceremony then you don't need to leave your guests. Sometimes couples have cocktails and canapes before they head into the reception and they can mingle with all the guests during this time and your photographer can be taking lots of candid shots of this.
If you are a bit nervous about standing up in front of all your guests, some people find it helps to already have had a "first look". This is where you see each other all dressed up for the first time before the ceremony, but without 100 pairs of eyes on you ( and who doesn't feel calmer after a hug from the person you love and are about to marry?)
Another reason for pre-ceremony photos is that some couples want to have their photos in a location which is a bit of a drive away from your venue. Guests hate being left for hours and hours at a reception with no bridal couple.
If you have the photos before the ceremony then your guests are not waiting for your return. However you may need to consider what the light looks like at your location at certain times of day. If you are having your photos at noon on a beach during a sunny day instead of late afternoon for example, you will be blinded by the bright sunshine off the sand and water. Always look at your locations at different times of day and take your sunglasses off to see what it will be like on the day!
If you do choose to have photos before the ceremony, remember to allow lots of time for this. If you take a little longer than expected to get ready this eats into your creative shoot. You want the creative shoot to be fun and relaxed - not rushed and you certainly do not want to be late to the ceremony.
You may also want to build in a little extra time to be able to touch up hair and makeup. If you are outdoors for your photoshoot you are probably going to get a little dishevelled ( something to think about if you want to look like you have stepped straight out of a salon when you are walking down the aisle) It's also nice to be able to have a few moments to yourself before your reach the ceremony venue.
Most importantly -do what is right for you. And most importantly of all - make sure you are having fun doing it xx