Before the Ceremony:
One of the best decisions I have ever made, to date, was to have our wedding photos taken before the ceremony. Now, I know that tradition holds that the groom shouldn't see the bride before the ceremony, but pooh on that! Frankly, laying eyes on that handsome man and spending time with our family and friends was well worth breaking tradition. We knew we had a plane to catch after the reception, an necessity which was already cutting into the time we would get to spend with friends and family after we said " I do." I also knew that Mark would hate having to stand around taking photos when everyone else was laughing and talking at our own reception.
So, let's be honest: there are no vengeful tradition-gods casting their might and ire down upon wedding-tradition breakers. No. If your love is real and blessed by God, changing it up a little isn't going to seal your doom. Your vows are stronger than that and, if not, well...Moving on.
Those secret silent moments--seeing Mark before the wedding--completely calmed my nerves. I knew he was there. I knew we were ready for this step. I knew our friends and family blessed this step. And I got to hold his hand up until the last moments before the ceremony started. What better way to walk into one of the biggest moments of your life, than with the person you're to whom you're committing your body and heart right by your side?
To this day, laughing, dancing, praying, planning, and swapping family stories in the basement of the Community Center remains one of my favorite wedding and life memories. We were in this sheltered room with only the people closest to us. Surrounded by their jittery laughs, teary eyes, smiles, and hugs was just the boost of confidence two young people needed to commit their lives together, forever.
So in short, if you can and want to take your photographs before the ceremony, do so! It is so worth it.