To Be Seen or Not to Be Seen?

by Kevin Maiers

Occasionally I encounter brides who do not wish to be seen by the groom prior to the wedding. The thrill of witnessing his reaction to the splendor and beauty of you is often breathtaking. Too often though, this reaction comes with a price to your family, your guests, your videographer, and your photographer.

In most cases, the photographer is towards the rear of the church and is quite a distance from the groom, depending on the length of the aisle. Getting a good steady zoom of his reaction is often challenging. Once the wedding is over the bridal party and guests are thinking three things: reception, party, and dance. Did I mention party? They are often not thinking about photos and may wonder off. If photos after your wedding is what you want, try having someone on hand with a list of all the people that must stay for pictures. They are responsible for making sure the people you desire to be in your wedding album are available when needed.

The second problem is the time involved. Since you haven't seen the groom prior to the wedding, all the couple shots, wedding party shots, parent shots, and family shots will have to be taken after the receiving line has been completed. During the time your photographer will be frantically setting up their portable lighting and calibrating it for perfect exposures. Now it's back to pictures. My best estimate would be 60 - 90 minutes for pictures after the wedding. Remember too that everyone will be rushing to get to the reception because all the guests are there waiting for you to arrive.

It may be wise to have another copy of the people that need to be present for you, so that you can coordinate the groupings with your photographer to speed things along. Your videographer has probably shot a few minutes of tape on the receiving line and the photography session. They are undoubtedly watching the clock waiting to get to the reception so they can set up there. Once the pictures are done, the photographer needs 20 - 30 minutes to tear down their equipment and to carry it to their vehicle. Then, they must drive to the reception to begin the cake pictures. All the while your guests have been sitting at the reception waiting for your arrival for up to two hours. Their small children are getting impatient and the parents are anxious for your arrival as well.

A possible alternate to this lengthy delay and inconvenience to all your guests would be to have the groom standing on the altar with his back turned and all the lighting in place. Only you, your groom, and the photographer will be present. When you get into perfect position, the groom turns. The photographer shoots picture after picture as his face lights up from the breathtaking beauty before him. A few more pictures can be taken as you approach him on the altar and share a private moment. Usually this is where I step out for a moment to give you two some private time. When you compare these close-up, private portraits to the long distance shots from the back of the church, you may find this compromise one that you will be more than willing to accept.

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