Weddings are incredibly remarkable. More than just a party, weddings are a declaration. They are an announcement that two people are choosing to walk, hand in hand, into an unknown future. Those two people make the choice to a lifetime together – a lifetime of supporting each other’s dreams and creating new ones, of encouraging each other’s best and accepting their worst, and of leaving behind an old self to become something entirely new. These are some of the reasons I love being a wedding photographer.
It’s no secret, then, that my favorite wedding trends involves creating space before the ceremony to embrace these truths. In the last few years, brides and grooms have been intentionally carving out time in their busy wedding day schedule to remind each other why they are choosing to say “I do.” Though it can be done in different ways, the important thing is to create time and space to be alone together. Here are some of the ways I’ve seen brides and grooms achieve this special moment:
1. First Looks – Choosing to do a first look may not be for everybody, but there is something really cool about being alone together when you see your bride or groom for the first time. There are also some great benefits to first looks. First, it takes off the pressure. When you see each other for the first time, dressed as bride and groom, it’s just the two of you. There aren’t hundreds of eyes on you, watching your reaction. Second, you can say what you want to say in the exact moment you want to say it. There isn’t a ceremony happening when you see your significant other, so there is freedom to respond in a way that is completely natural.
However, if you are all about tradition and don’t want to see each other before the walk down the aisle, here are some alternatives to a first look. These alternatives bring the bride and groom together before the ceremony without compromising tradition.
2. Letters – Write each other a letter. Meet each other on opposite sides of a door or pillar to exchange letters. The barrier between you acts as a veil to keep you hidden. In an exchange of letters, you have freedom to express what you may not have time to say in the craziness of day. You can still hear each other and respond to one another without formally breaking tradition. That is what my friends, Hayley and James, did in this photo.
3. Prayer – In the same way as a letter exchange, I’ve seen brides and grooms join hands in prayer before the ceremony. Creating time to thank God for the gift of your wife or husband is a truly special thing. I can think of nothing sweeter than surrounding each other in prayer before making one of life’s biggest decisions.
All of these trends create time and space for a couple to get alone together and communicate what they feel on the wedding day. Let’s face it, a wedding can be hectic. The ceremony happens, then the photos, the toasts, the dances, and before you know it the day is over. Each part of the schedule is checked off the list and you go from bride and groom to husband and wife in a blur. That’s why I love opportunities to take yourself out the schedule and make time to be alone together. I think you’ll be so glad you did.