Photography is an important part of your wedding, as it serves as a lasting memory of your special day. Most couples hire a photographer—or team of photographers—to capture every moment of their wedding day, from the bride getting ready to the happy couple departing the reception and everything in between. When planning their wedding-day photography, the couple should consider when they want to take their pictures, who they want in their pictures and what to do with guests during photography time.

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Here are a few points on wedding picture etiquette to consider when planning your photography for your special day.

Timing

Some couples remain traditional and do not want to see each other until the bride walks down the aisle. These couples take their formal wedding portraits after the ceremony and before the reception. Alternatively, couples can choose to take their pictures before the ceremony, which gives them more time to celebrate with their guests after the ceremony. In addition, pre-ceremony pictures allow the bridal party and families to enjoy the cocktail hour or reception with other guests.

Location

Couples should identify all possible picture locations in advance with their photographer. If the couple gets married at a church, they might choose to take their formal portraits inside the church or outdoors in a courtyard. A couple marrying at a unique venue like a museum or historic estate will have many potential picture locations. Couples should choose locations that are easily accessible and schedule transportation to and from these locations if necessary.

Family Pictures

Notify those family members you want in pictures before the wedding day. That way, they can plan to set aside time before or after the ceremony to participate in your photo shoot. Couples traditionally take pictures with the bride and groom’s immediate families as well as grandparents and great-grandparents. However, the couple can open their wedding photos to any family members they choose. Keep in mind, however, that your photography time is limited, and your photographer can only accommodate so many individuals in any given picture.

Bridal Party Pictures

Formal bridal party shots are traditional for weddings. These pictures can take place before or after the ceremony. To save time, the photographer can take pictures of the bride and her bridesmaids and the groom and his groomsmen separately before the ceremony. Consider taking these pictures first so that the bridal party can mingle with guests as you and your spouse continue to take pictures.

Considerations

If you choose to take pictures after the ceremony, make sure there is an event set up for your guests. Many couples choose to offer a cocktail hour at the reception site where guests can enjoy canapés and drinks while the couple takes pictures. If your guests have to travel from the ceremony to the reception, you can spend their travel time taking pictures. However, make sure to stay on schedule so that your guests are not bored or waiting on your arrival.

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