What are the pros and cons of taking photos before the ceremony?
I personally LOVE when my couples wait to see each other at the ceremony, but that's just the traditional, romantic side of me coming out. HOWEVER, I'm also a rational girl and there are definite perks to seeing each other as well. Here are a couple of things to note for both sides of the argument:
PRO: If you are nervous in anyway, shape or form, it is likely that the one person that will calm your nerves is your fiance. This being said, seeing each other beforehand can put you both at ease and allow you to enter into the ceremony feeling relaxed.
PRO: Logistically, seeing each other before the ceremony gives your photographer a lot more time to get those must have shots. You can typically use that time to go to multiple locations, finish family pictures, etc. which also leaves the cocktail hour open and free for you to celebrate with your guests rather than disappearing on them.
PRO: ADDED FROM READER COMMENT & PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER, MOLLY ANN OF LUMINAIRE IMAGES:
As a photographer, I'd like to also point out that people look their "freshest" prior to a ceremony:
-The ladies' hair is still in place and hasn't become windblown.
-Makeup is still fresh and faces haven't yet started becoming "shiny."
-Though sometimes there may be a few happy tears during the pre-ceremony photos, it's nothing like how much people may weep during the ceremony. There are fewer red eyes and less smudged mascara in pre-ceremony photos.
-Guys usually haven't begun to sweat yet. Shirts are still dry and faces are not very shiny.
It's not just about having more time to create better pictures, it's also about taking pictures at the time of day when people look their most fabulous!
CON: While we are on logistics, starting the pictures before the ceremony means starting your entire day earlier. If you have a 4pm ceremony for example, you will likely have your first meeting around 2pm, meaning you are probably starting your hair and makeup in the noon time frame. If you have a normal sized bridal party and you want them to be in some pre-ceremony shots, this can have them starting their hair and makeup in the 9am or 10am timeframe. Not only is that early for a lot of ladies that may have partied it up at the rehearsal dinner, it is also a very long time to stay looking fresh for an evening wedding.
CON: Ah, the tradition is just so sweet, but honestly, if you could care less about the tradition of it all, then the only thing to consider is the timing of hair & makeup.
All in all, only you can decide what you are comfortable with, but from my observation over the years, I will say this: You don't lose anything by seeing each other before the ceremony. You will still have the butterflies and your fiance will still be equally as excited and emotional when he sees you the second time. Even though he has seen that gorgeous white gown you've been hiding all of these months, there is nothing that compares to that walk down the aisle being surrounded by the love of your family and friends.