Why you should absolutely do a post-wedding photo shoot
When Macey and I were in the midst of wedding planning, we never even considered setting up a time to take pre- or post-wedding photos. We prepared to pack in almost four hours of couples’ photos on top of all the pictures with our wedding party, families, and guests.
That was a mistake. While I think it’s ultimately up to the individuals getting married, there are so many benefits to planning a pre- or post-wedding shoot that I didn’t think about until our wedding was almost here.
Most couples are taking engagement photos leading up to their wedding now (and these are sometimes repurposed for save the dates), but it’s rarer to see couples set aside time for a specific pre- or post-wedding session. These photo shoots sometimes involve couples dressing in their wedding attire and sometimes don’t and they can be a great way to take photos with your second outfit if you plan to change at the wedding. Couples are doing them as insurance for wedding day weather (sometimes called a “day after session”), as a way to save time on the wedding day or to get photos in a different location from their reception or ceremony venues.
We didn’t think about doing a pre- or post-wedding photo session until just before the wedding came. I was beginning to get stressed: What if we didn’t have enough time to get all the photos I wanted? What if our getting ready time ran long or we hit pedestrian traffic in the streets of Provincetown that slowed us down? What if we simply got caught up spending time with our loved ones and didn’t want to leave for hours to take photos? I’ve always been someone who cares a lot about photos; they’re a way of celebrating memories. After I lost my mom in middle school, I started collecting photos with people I care about and probably take more photos than most people I know who aren’t professionals.
Macey and I both wanted our wedding day to be as in-the-moment as possible. We wanted to be able to get ready surrounded by our wedding party, to enjoy the pedicab her mom rented for us to ride around the hills of Provincetown before arriving at our ceremony. We didn’t want our hours upon hours of couples’ photos to exhaust for the photos we had to take with our wedding party and families (do you know how hard it is to get them all in one place at the same time?).
So we planned a post-wedding couples’ shoot just about a month after our wedding. This would give us a little breathing room so we could collect ourselves and relax after the chaos and because our wedding was in mid-September, it meant our post-wedding photos would be during peak fall foliage in Boston, where we live. This gave us the opportunity to get beautiful summery photos of our beach wedding and then moody, romantic autumn photos.
Macey opted not to wear her wedding dress again; we wanted to be more semiformal in our post-wedding photos and dress closer to how we do in everyday life. I wore my wedding reception dress—which was actually the same dress I wore to the ceremony, minus a layered deep purple tulle skirt. This allowed me to get some professional photos in the fun, colorful reception skirt I had designed by UK nonbinary illustrator Emery Allard Smith (since all my wedding day photos were taken in my ceremony outfit).
Post-wedding photo shoots allow marriers to save time and stress on the wedding day. Instead of spending your energy focused on how and when you’re going to get the photos you really want with your partner, you have one less thing to worry about. (Although in our case we still spent a couple of hours taking photos on our wedding day!) It offers you a chance to take romantic pictures without the stress and anxiety of such a big event and it’s also a reason to pause and take in your life as a newly married couple. Some couples still jet off on honeymoons immediately after the wedding but many have theirs planned for months after the wedding (like ours will be). Taking a post-wedding photo shoot was one of the ways we celebrated becoming wives, along with a weekend “mini-moon” that we spent in Salem together.
Taking photos after the wedding has its downsides, of course. We paid for another photo session and also had our hair and makeup done for the pictures. Since our wedding photographer isn’t based locally, we ended up hiring the photographer who took our spontaneous engagement photos last year to take our newlywed photos. This cost slightly more money but was also a fun way to see her again and get a new set of pictures in her signature photography style. We didn’t have to pay for new attire since we used dresses and accessories we already owned and luckily, our shooting location is free to the public. If you’re trying to stay within a strict budget, then a pre- or post-wedding photo shoot might not be the right fit (but it’s worth looking at the exact rates because your wedding photographer may allow you to bundle the costs to save money).
It’s completely up to you and your partner(s) whether a separate photo session before or after the wedding makes sense for you. I think it was the perfect choice for us and gives me even more photos to treasure from our first year married.
Photographer: Captured by Ginny
Location: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University