A lot of photographers offer an engagement session with or in addition to their wedding services. There are a ton of reasons why you should take the opportunity to do one with you wedding photographer, but if you would just rather not because perhaps you've chosen your photographer too close to your wedding or there is no time that works both for you and your photographer, you should consider asking about a post wedding session.
What is a post wedding session?
It's just an opportunity to get back into your wedding gear (dress, suit, hair and makeup done...just like you did for you wedding day) and actually take time to make some beautiful photos. Maybe you didn't have enough time to do proper portraits on your wedding day or maybe the weather wasn't great or maybe you just want to spend some time with your photographer again, have a few drinks and look good while doing it.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go and photograph a post wedding session for Courtney and Christian who you may remember from such weddings as this little intimate Chapel Hill number. We didn't have time to set up an engagement session, so I told them that if they were up for it, we could schedule a post wedding session sometime later in the year when they had some time. They loved the idea and we made it happen at the end of October.
It was a great time. I came up to their home in Washington DC and they took me around to some of their favorites spots as well as some new places they had never been but had wanted to check out. So they donned their wedding gear, got all made up to look amazing and we went out. We got to include their boxers Rooster and Banjo in the session as well, and that was a blast. I love dogs, so any excuse to play with a couple of pups (rather huge pups) is always a good time for me. We enjoyed dinner at the same place they ate the night they got engaged and we experimented with some ideas I had been playing with in my head which they were game to give a try.
So now that you know what it is, here are my top five reasons you should consider a post wedding session:
1. Timing. You may not have time, whether because you found your photographer later in the planning process or you just can't narrow down any dates that work with you and your photographer, perhaps it's a little from column A and column B. So don't miss out on this time, especially if your photographer offers an engagement session with your wedding. They may not offer a post wedding session, but it never hurts to ask. If they do, maybe you'll only have to pay their travel fee or if you are local it may be no added cost to you.
2. Wedding days are hectic. You may plan for an hour with your photographer for portraits, but that time is often if not always eaten into. You may end up with 15 minutes for some photos of just you and your partner, and while a good photographer can do a great job with 15 minutes imagine what they can do with a a few hours or a full afternoon. On top of that, you may be stressed out and not focused when it comes to making photos, you just wish you could relax and your photographer should be able to help you with that, though sometimes you have too much running through your mind. Having the chance to be at complete ease and just be there with your partner is a pretty great thing, and that comfort and happiness comes through in the photos.
3. The weather outside is weather. Maybe you planned for some beautiful portraits outside in a garden, in front of the church or out in the forest with glowing sunshine behind you. Then your wedding day came and mother nature had other plans, like a hurricane (yup I have done one of those) or just a plain old rainy day. Either way, your plans for some outdoor portraits may be dashed unless you are willing to get wet/cold/wind blown, which if you are my couple is always okay with me.
4. Change of Scenery. It may seem obvious to say, but you'll have photos from your wedding day in one place, but maybe you don't live there. Maybe your wedding is close to your parents home because it was easier for family and friends to make the wedding, but you live clear across the country. You now have places that mean something to you as a couple or places you have wanted to check out in your new home town. What would be better than getting into your wedding dress or suit and going to make some beautiful photos in your new home, maybe grab a few drinks, explore a few new places and enjoy a meal with your photographer? The answer is not much. Plus you'll have more photos to hang in your home: some from home and some from your wedding day. That's a beautiful thing.
5. Damn! You Look Good! Let's be honest. Your dress was not cheap and your partner's suit or dress was not cheap either. When do you figure you'll be getting back into it for any reason at all? Probably never. Maybe it will hang in your closet to pass down to your daughter, or maybe you'll donate it to a good cause or maybe you'll be like Adam and Barbara from Beetlejuice and you'll need it when you become ghosts and are trying to scare people out of your home. Hopefully, not though. My point is that you look great in your dress and you should celebrate that. And if you don't plan to save your dress or donate it, go do something crazy: hike a mountain peak, go climbing, go snowboarding or skiiing, go jump in a pool. Whatever it is you do, make sure to document it because these are memories you don't want to forget.
We celebrate the big moments: the weddings, the birthdays, the holiday, new baby births and the anniversaries. And while these moments are awesome, we often remember the not so big moments as we get older, or at least they are usually the things we think of most readily: the breakfasts shared at the table, the hikes we took, the silly dances we do when we are alone, the crazy things we talk each other into, those times on the porch sharing a beer and remembering all the other little moments we've had over the years. Your post wedding session can be one of those little moments and those photos can be your reminder.
But as a good friend once told me, I can show you better than I can tell you.