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 boxers, 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.

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. For those wishing to capture both the bride and groom's preparations, I recommend enlisting the services of my assistant photographer, if they're available. This ensures comprehensive coverage, with my assistant focusing on the groom while I document the bride's journey.

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.