Should I do photos before the Wedding? Which ones?

Almost every wedding I have people ask my opinion about doing photos before the ceremony. Of course I have seen a lot of different scenarios and there are pros and cons to each.

The Pros to some photos before the ceremony:
1. You can shave off a couple of minutes of photos from the “post ceremony group shots”
2. The photos of you and your girls and him and his guys will have a different background than the other group shots.
3. The pre-wedding photos tend to be less formal than the after-wedding ones.
4. Because the photos are before the wedding you are ready way before you would generally need to be. This cuts down on the stress of getting ready. If something goes wrong you can always move the photos to after the wedding. It acts kind of like a time buffer.

The Cons to photos before the ceremony
1. If you are not going to see your fiance before the wedding, doing photos before the wedding and after the wedding actually adds up to more total time of photos. Don’t ask me how, but it always does.
2. If not enough time is planned, things end up a little rushed.
3. People are generally really nervous right before they are about to get married and are not as relaxed in the photos.
4. It is often very difficult to get everyone to the church or ceremony spot before the wedding and many of the photos end up being repeated after the wedding once everyone is present.

My advice for photos before the wedding (assuming you are not going to be doing them with your fiance):
I think that photos before the wedding are great, as long as you stick to the group of people that are going to be with you anyway. Once you start counting on Aunt Barb and Cousin Betsy to show up to the ceremony site so they can get a photo with you, you are asking for more stress. And if you’ve read any other post from me before, you know that I’m all about less stress on the wedding day.  If you stick to a small list of people that are going to be in the room with you helping you get ready, then it isn’t a big deal to shoot outside for a couple of minutes and get some quick shots of you and your girls. Also! it isn’t that bad of a thing if you don’t have time to do them before hand. They will look just as good if you do them after. If something happens and you need that extra 1/2 hour to fix something that broke or got left at home… don’t stress… do the bride with the girls’ shots after the ceremony.