The First Look - Weddings

Wedding Planning Tips, Thoughts, and Ideas

The advantages and disadvantages of seeing each other prior to the ceremony...

One important decision engaged couples have to make is whether to see each other before the ceremony or wait until the moment of truth. There is no right or wrong answer to this as it is simply a personal choice. However, there are several advantages to seeing each other beforehand not only for the couple, but also for your hired artists.

In this short wedding talk show, photographers and filmmakers Charles and Jennifer Maring sit down and discuss this age old topic along with giving some advice as to why couples shouldn't worry too much into this decision. However, they also share that they feel it's a smart idea to see each other prior to the ceremony and why. 

On the positive side, seeing each other prior to the wedding ceremony alleviates stress, but it also allows couples to soak in the moment, say something special, embrace, and even get a lot of their group portraits out of the way making more time for the celebration.


One of the most stressful moments for a photographer and filmmaker during a wedding day is the transition between the ceremony and the reception. Video artists need to get tripods and gear inside, get lighting squared away, and execute an audio plan with the band or DJ which takes time. Both filmmakers and photographers also would love to capture some room details, and a touch of the cocktail hour for you as well. However, if you portraits are being done during cocktail hour, that leaves little to no time to make it happen with precision and beauty.

Cocktails on average last 1 hour. It will take a skilled filmmaker or photographer 15-30 minutes to get inside and get situated depending on the situation. That leaves 30 minutes, give or take, that they can capture room detail shots, and cocktail hour. However, if 30 minutes is eaten up with group portraits that leaves the artist stressed and struggling to be prepared for announcements and the capturing of reception details.

Portraits prior to the ceremony allows the artists time in this transition period. While it isn't imperative that couples see each other prior, a smart alternative it is definitely plan extra time after the ceremony to allow the artists to make the this transition whenever possible. An extra 30 minutes during this time period can really make a difference for couples who choose not to see each other pre-ceremony.

Charles Maring is a photographer and filmmaker at Maring Visuals, and a co-host / creator of the Together In Style talk show.