Sunday, April 4, 2010

To See . . . or Not To See.

Is that the question? Now that my wedding season is in full swing, I thought I'd write a minute about one of those continuing questions for brides and grooms -- whether or not to see each other before the ceremony. I'm sure that as long as there are weddings, there will be a difference of opinion on this issue. Many brides and grooms like the traditional which is not to see each other before the wedding. This has been the tradition for many years and takes us back to a time when the bride and groom didn't even meet each other until their wedding day. And, of course, there is always the sentiment that "I can't wait to see his face when I walk down the aisle". I'm not knocking tradition or sentiment -- in fact, I'm a big fan of both but these days many brides and grooms are less traditional than they've ever been and this is reflected in their wedding.
Since we all know the way it's been done forever, I'll just share a few points on why some brides and grooms choose today to bypass tradition. Brides and grooms can elect that their first sight of each other on their wedding day be on their own terms and without an audience of family and friends. I've seen couples meet in a private room in the church or wedding venue or brides who choose to walk down the aisle to meet their groom who is waiting at the front of the church. Sometimes they allow me to be the only other pair of eyes around (complete with my camera lens) so I can capture these special moment and sometimes they choose to be completely alone. I've had some couples who allow ed their parents and/or wedding party to be there and some couples who didn't. Either way, it's their option and they don't have to worry about what everyone else is thinking or feel nervous that a lot of people are watching them. They can share a few private moments, exchange gifts if they want to and have an opportunity to share what is in their hearts. My years of experience tell me that this is probably the last chance they will have for privacy that day. Once they've taken all the time they want, they are free to do whatever the schedule of the day pushes them towards. One of the benefits of meeting before the wedding is that it is then possible to do ALL the photographs prior to the wedding. Your photographer will be able to take his or her time and get those really special shots that it is sometimes hard to take when you're in the time crunch of trying to get to the reception. It may even give you time after the wedding to drop by another great location to take some more photos that you would normally not be able to do.
I firmly believe that everything about your wedding is YOUR decision. It probably sounds like I wish all brides and grooms would take all photos before the ceremony and I do appreciate the benefits of this. But, I've been doing this a long time and I like to think I can think on my feet and work quickly when I have to so I never push it or require it as some photographers do. But, give it some thought and plan your wedding YOUR way.
A couple of final fun thoughts. For the past few years, many brides and grooms have tried to sneak around the "seeing each other" question by having a little greeting through a door. If you choose not to see each other, this can be kind of fun as the photos of Rosanna and Marcus show above. I've also posted several other sets of photos of brides and grooms and their "encounters" before the wedding on my Facebook page with an explanation of how they happened. Give them a look if you like. And . . . one of my favorite bride comments of all time came about one day in the studio about 10-12 years ago. I was doing a pre-wedding portraits session of the bride and groom together because they wanted their formal portrait to include both of them. Several of the bride's friends had been giving her a hard time about this and told her that she shouldn't do it because it was "bad luck." She told us that she finally set them straight by telling them that "there are a lot of things that may break up a marriage but I don't think 'bad luck' is one of them!!"

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