Does Anyone Really NEED A Pre-Wedding Photoshoot?
Pre-wedding shoots can be a source of joy to some, but are also often a source of dread and stress to others with their incredibly hefty price tag.
As someone who has strongly considered a pre-wedding shoot and then decided to do away with it, here are some important questions I would strongly urge newly engaged couples to consider before they sign off on a chunk of cash for a pre-wedding shoot - especially since we're living in a pandemic, where money may be tight and where there are restrictions around outdoor photoshoots (plus, no overseas photoshoots this year!).
1. Why do you want one?
Your kneejerk reaction to this question may be, “Because weddings are incomplete without one.”
We’d like to challenge you to take a step back and reconsider this.
Remember that everything about your wedding is about you and what makes you happy. People can choose to have pre-wedding shoots for various reasons, like if they genuinely enjoy taking stylised photographs, or if they feel like they have a story to tell through photos. They get genuine satisfaction and enjoyment from having a pre-wedding shoot and that’s perfectly fine.
But if you feel that a pre-wedding shoot is making you more stressed out than happy, you should re-evaluate why you’re doing one in the first place.
If your pre-wedding shoot is meant to provide photos for your guests to look at on your wedding day, well – most of your guests won’t even notice or care about the lack of photos on the reception table. Don’t believe us? Imagine yourself as a guest at any other wedding.
If your reason for having a pre-wedding shoot is simply because every other wedding does it or because you are afraid that you may regret it in the far-flung future, then you may need to acknowledge that you are motivated by FOMO (fear of missing out) than anything else.
2. How will the photos be valuable to you?
Many couples start planning and going for pre-wedding shoots without really thinking about what to do with the photos after the wedding. How many friends around you have relegated their wedding albums into an obscure drawer, unearthing them only once a year when some relatives come to visit?
You may want to put up your wedding photos around your future house. Sure, but an actual day photographer could also take stylised photos of the both of you in your gown and suit on your wedding day itself.
What’s more, actual day photography could really capture that adrenaline and the excitement of the day, which a stylised pre-wedding shoot may not be able to (unless both of you are great at posing for photographs).
3. Is the stress of a pre-wedding photo shoot even worth it?
It may seem like crazy talk, but you should ideally be enjoying every step of your wedding journey with your partner. Planning for a wedding shouldn’t be something that’s making both of you so stressed, irritable, and unhappy that it ironically jeopardizes your relationship.
Stress is inevitable and there are some components of every wedding that the couple absolutely cannot do away with. Usually, that’s not the pre-wedding shoot.
If you identify the pre-wedding shoot as something that’s becoming an unnecessary and additional burden to both of you, consider doing away with it.
4. Would you be happy with a different type of shoot?
A pre-wedding shoot usually calls to mind beautiful natural scenery, the couple dressed to the nines in their bridal outfits, with makeup and hair typically done by a makeup artist.
This may be your first idea of your ideal pre-wedding shoot, but increasingly the casual and unconventional shoot is becoming more and more popular. The shoot features couples dressed in their everyday outfits, usually interacting organically and letting their natural chemistry speak for itself.
Explore different ways of cutting your costs even if you are going for a pre-wedding shoot. You don’t need to rent gowns and tailor suits, and your partner may not actually need a makeup artist if your shoot is going to be all casual.
If you know any friends or relatives who are good photographers, you can even approach them to help you (but do offer to pay them too). If they know you and your partner well, they could know what moments capture your relationship better than any commercial photographer you could hire.
5. Can you comfortably afford it at this point?
Pre-wedding shoots can be incredibly expensive, and usually add a significant chunk to your wedding expenses. Can your finances comfortably handle a pre-wedding shoot? If the answer is yes, and you’ve firmly decided that it’s something that both you and your partner want, then go ahead by all means.
If, however, you feel like you’re struggling to make ends meet every month, then it’s even more important that you pin down the exact reason why you want this thing that you’re carving out such a huge part of your budget for.
Even if you’re not actually struggling, think about this: can you use that amount of money on something else that would make you happier, like your honeymoon, or the renovations for your future home? If the lack of a pre-wedding shoot makes you feel somewhat indifferent or even relieved, while some other aspect of your wedding or marriage inspires you with far greater feelings of joy, we believe you have your answer.