I meet with a lot of brides. I get a lot of questions. But the most common question I am asked

{  Do most Brides and Grooms see one another before the ceremony now? }

My answer {YES} and here is why.

A first reveal, first glance, first moment, call it what you want, is captured on film and will be one of the most memorable moments of your life. The first time he sees you in that white dress, the first time you see him smile at you on your wedding day. You get to act on your actions- if you want to run into his arms, hug, kiss, cry, and laugh and embrace one another- go for it, because all of those natural emotions and feelings we get to photograph.

You get to hang out with each other more on your wedding day! You don’t have to worry about playing hide and seek! You don’t have to worry about making travel arrangements all around riding together or not. You get to hang out as a couple with your bridal party more throughout the day! By seeing each other before the ceremony, we are talking about 2-4 hours extra with your loved one that much longer on your wedding day!!

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures!! If you plan on seeing each other before the ceremony, you can plan on taking all the photographs before you even walk down the aisle! Just think, after you are husband and wife, you have no more posed pictures to take, you don’t have to stress about church timelines, and the reception can start sooner!

{ So many ways to have a cool first reveal } Just ask me and we will talk about it!

If you wait to see one another till the ceremony, keep in mind there is a lot to do post ceremony. Sometimes you have a receiving line. You have to allow your guests to clear at the church/venue. We need to gather up family and the bridal party. Then usually most couples have a goal to get to the reception by a certain time (whether this be for time restraints, dinner, travel, etc) Once you think in depth about all of the post ceremony pictures needed to be taken, the traveling to the reception venue and other factors, there typically is not a lot of time put aside for pictures.

Cocktail Hour!! If you saw one another before the ceremony and had all your pictures taken before the service there are a few things you can do about cocktail hour. { Get Rid of It } No need to keep your guests waiting around. No need to push dinner back even further. Save money by not needing a cocktail hour with drinks and appetizers. Or if you want to keep cocktail hour { Enjoy it as husband and wife } Socialize with your guests hand in hand. You won’t have to be rushed on time, you can have conversations with family and friends. Or if you don’t like that idea either { More Pictures } We can always plan to take the Bride and Groom, just the two of them, somewhere special after the ceremony while you have a mini cocktail hour. Think of a beautiful field of wild flowers at sunset. Think of Roebling Bridge at night with the Cincinnati Skyline. Think of going back to where it all started for a few pictures from the proposal. Think of a carriage ride downtown. It’s your wedding day, go for it!



Lighting! Depending on when your ceremony starts, gets over, and the length of post ceremony pictures { if you wait to see each other } all factors in to how many poses, how many group shots, is there travel time to consider to and from, then on top of that, what about when it gets dark outside! Late fall Brides through early Spring Brides, please remember to check when sunset is!

Location! Location! Location! If you see one another before the ceremony, you have more time for travel and more time for photographs. If you had your heart set on a few different locations, you can make a schedule for the day of to allow that and more J { Plus this makes your photographer, a happy photographer. Very Happy. }

Weather. It’s a Bride’s worst nightmare, worrying about the forecast. Oh and guess what, it RAINED all day long on my own wedding day, so I have lots to say about this. J Let’s say you don’t see each other before hand.. you have a beautiful ceremony and then we start post-ceremony pictures. Let’s say we had to be out of the church/venue by a certain time and we plan to go to a park or two, and it starts to pour. Pictures will be cut down in time and for all the months you dreamt about those pictures in the park, never happen or did, but not the way you thought they would. But, if you were to see each other before the ceremony, raining or not, we are given more time and flexibility to make the better choices due to the weather forecast. Like, we have the time to travel to a few different locations now due to weather, or we have the time to be creative with what mother nature gives us. If it rains on your wedding day, it’s not the end of the world, I promise you. It just may mean you have to be flexible with where we end up taking pictures.

More time for Family & Bridal Party Pictures! Enough said.

Add up your time to see how long of a party you are going to have when it’s all said and done. Let’s say you plan on waiting to see each other for the ceremony. In some cases, not all, but some; you have a 30-60 minute service, a 15-25 minute receiving line/celebration exit, 60 minutes of post ceremony pictures, travel time, your first hour of the reception is typically dinner, then your second hour is the traditional events of a reception. after all this, it leaves most brides with only 1-2 hours of a reception.

Oh, what about nerves and that feeling in the pit of your stomach. Do you get nervous easily? Are you emotional? Spending all morning/early afternoon prepping for the day, then spending all afternoon traveling and taking pictures, finally then getting to see the love of your life when you walk down the aisle…. Your stomach may be flipped upside down all day long! See him before hand and relax. It’s your wedding day.

I have never, to date, had one Bride complain and take back the decision she made in choosing to see her Groom before the ceremony. I hear, every time I do a wedding where the couple does the first reveal “ I am so happy we did this!” And now as a Bride myself, getting married in April, seeing my husband Sean before the service was literally the best choice I made. Well, other than marrying the man of my dreams.

Keep in mind if you are getting married at a church, the venue may have a Mass before/and or after your ceremony. This can sometimes cause a time restraint where pictures have to be rushed, hurried along and not given the top priority time for photographs. It is important when making this decision you look into every option. Also keep in mind, you may not be the only Bride getting married at your venue. Some venues have several events going on the same day, and schedules/timelines can over lap.

{ Make another memory } Having a first reveal leaves an everlasting memory for you to always go back and enjoy. So many emotions, thoughts, and feelings are attached to this big event of the first reveal it is certainly something you will never forget.

{ The Walk Down the Aisle }  I personally think, this is what it all comes down to. For the Bride who is very persistent on wanting to WAIT to see her groom, I think is for the Bride who has be dreaming of the moment when that would happen for her, as she is walking down the aisle. It has been programmed into our heads from traditions and movies, and stories. And there is nothing wrong with this. Nothing at all. Before I explain deeper, let me say that again, if my Bride’s want to wait to see him when it’s her time to shine walking down the aisle, I think it’s wonderful. I just am trying to express both sides of the story. J  But I can tell you personally, by sharing with my clients for years on the benefits of seeing each other ahead of time, than actually doing it myself in April on my wedding day, I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, that moment, walking down the aisle with my Dad, was still just as perfect to me, if not better than how I dreamed it would always turn out. I was calm, cool, and relaxed. All the pictures were done. I was focused. I was ready to see Sean again, waiting for me at the end of the aisle. I was ready, as Daddy’s Little Girl, to have him help me down the aisle. I still cried. I still laughed. It was beautiful. But I think because I wasn’t nervous, there wasn’t all this built up anxiety and pressure, that I was able to focus on the moment while it was truly happening. Walking down the aisle with my Dad, I was thinking of some many things: I hope I don’t trip. I love my Dad so very much and this is our moment. Everyone is here for us. That Sean and I have the love and support from so many others and for that blessed beyond belief. It stopped raining just for the ceremony. And that Sean never looked happier to me, standing there waiting. J

I think it is very important to also say this information is just something to think about. I do not push my opinion on to my clients- I just professionally suggest what is best to give you what you want. If you are a traditional Bride and want to wait for that moment until you walk down the aisle { perfect } I will just suggest ways to allow for you to get more photographs by thinking for the best time for your reception to start. If you like what you have read and have been entertaining the idea of seeing each other { then it’s time to commit to the idea fully }

These are all my thoughts on why you should see each other before the service and no matter how that special moment happens for you, whether seeing him when you walk down the aisle, or a head of time, it’s going to be absolutely amazing and something YOU WILL NEVER FORGET.

I appreciate your time reading my view, with much love,

Christina Connelly

Owner of CJ Photography

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