wedding photograph of two men putting on button holes during preparations both in black suits and window light

Whenever I have the chance to photograph grooms as they prepare for their big day, it's always a unique experience. This opportunity often arises when the groom is nearby the bride, and these sessions are typically brief, spanning around 20 minutes. On rare occasions, a bride might choose not to have her preparations documented, allowing me to focus solely on the groom. The atmosphere during the groom's preparations is distinctly different from that of the bride's. Men, in general, have a quicker preparation routine. I've witnessed grooms transition from a relaxed morning demeanour, casually lounging in their underwear, to being impeccably dressed and ready to head to the altar, all within the span of those 20 minutes.

These sessions are often filled with the liveliness you'd expect from a group of excited men, especially when there's no one around to rein in their playful antics. It's not uncommon to see them opening beers, exchanging gifts, engaging in playful banter, and reminiscing about their stag party adventures. As a man myself, I can't help but find these moments both relatable and amusing. In contrast, while the bride's preparations are often characterised by sincere emotions, heartfelt moments, and a mix of joyous and tearful exchanges, the groom's side is more relaxed. It's filled with laughter, last-minute rushes to get dressed, and the occasional touching moment, like when a groom is moved to tears by a gift from his bride.

As a creative wedding photographer, I've witnessed a countless of moments: grooms emotionally unwrapping gifts, playfully running around post-shower, enjoying a glass of whiskey, indulging in a cigar, engaging in a game of darts, or even taking a moment to polish their car for the perfect photo op. I approach the groom's attire with the same reverence as the bride's dress. If at any point the groom feels uneasy, especially during outfit changes, I step out, ensuring his comfort and privacy. When my focus is primarily on the groom's preparations, I align my departure with his, ensuring I reach the wedding venue about 45 minutes prior to the ceremony. This allows me to capture the venue's ambiance and any last-minute setups. Regardless of whether I'm photographing the bride or the groom, my ultimate aim remains the same: to encapsulate the raw emotions and moments that paint a complete and cherished wedding story.

What if there's no time for groom preparations?

If circumstances arise where groom preparations can't be captured, there's no cause for concern. I always ensure that I have ample time to photograph the groom alongside his closest friends. Typically, I plan my departure from the bride's preparations to coincide with the groom's arrival at the wedding venue, which is usually about an hour before the ceremony begins. This strategic timing allows me to document the final touches of the groom's attire. I often request that they delay fastening their buttonholes, adjusting their watches, or securing their cufflinks. This way, I can capture these moments either in a more private setting or with the assistance of significant guests, like the groom's parents or close friends. These interactions often lead to candid and memorable shots that add depth to the wedding photographs.

The Importance of Groom's Preparations in Wedding Photography

The art of capturing a groom's preparations is frequently understated and sometimes even forgotten amidst the whirlwind of wedding festivities. This often happens because the spotlight naturally gravitates towards the bridal preparations. It's a bustling scene filled with layers of anticipation and excitement as the bride, surrounded by her closest companions, undergoes the transformative process of makeup application and hair styling. These moments, rich with detail and emotion, are undeniably captivating. However, I firmly believe that the moments leading up to the groom's readiness are equally significant and deserving of attention.

Regrettably, the laws of physics prevent me from being in two places at once. As much as I'd like to clone myself for the day, technology has yet to catch up with such wishes. Therefore, during these times, the value of having a trusted assistant photographer becomes immeasurably clear, particularly when the bride and groom are getting ready in different venues. This allows us to weave together the full tapestry of the day's beginnings, ensuring that both narratives are given their due reverence.

Hiring an assistant photographer is not merely a logistical solution but a creative one. It enables us to capture the spectrum of emotions and moments unfolding in different locations at the same time - one with the bride and the other with the groom. This dual perspective enriches the wedding story, offering a more holistic view of the day that both partners, their families, and future generations will cherish.