The 9 Essential Bride and Groom Pictures That Every Wedding Needs

Bride and groom pictures

Photo: Bella NYC/Bloom Photography

Aside from the happy couple, their parents, and the bridal party, the most important person at a wedding just might be the photographer.

After all, it’s the photographer’s job to capture every moment of the big day. And it’s a big job to do!

They’ll take photos of the wedding bouquet and wedding rings. They’ll take pictures of the happy bride getting her hair done, the groom dancing with his mom, and the wedding cake at the reception. They’ll snap shots of the entire wedding party and all the guests.

But the most important photos are the ones of  just the two of you.

Wedding photography is an art, and every photographer does it differently. So no matter how experienced your photographer may be, it’s always a good idea to give them a list of moments that you want on film.

Want your album to be the best wedding album ever? Here are the nine essential bride and groom pictures that every wedding needs!

The First Look

Bride and groom first lookPhoto: Angel Sheree Photography

Maybe you’ll get your first look at your new spouse as you’re walking down the aisle. Maybe you’re doing a planned first look so you can have your wedding photoshoot before the ceremony begins. Either way, it’s crucial to get the groom’s reaction to the bride, and vice versa.

That reaction is pretty much the kickoff to your entire wedding celebration. Don’t let that moment pass by without getting at least a few snaps in!

Note: If you have to postpone your wedding due to coronavirus, we want to help. Read our full guide to postponing a wedding for more info.

The Vows

Bride and groom saying wedding vowsPhoto: Bella Charlotte/Abie Livesay

There will be that magical moment when you’re standing at the altar, holding hands, gazing into each other’s eyes, and saying your vows. It’s a moment you’ll probably never forget, a moment that you’ll be able to play over and over in your mind for decades to come.

And it’s a special moment that deserves to be captured on film for eternity.

Your photographer will likely take dozens of photos of you and your soon-to-be spouse throughout the wedding ceremony. These are shots that you’ll definitely want to include in your photo album.

Head to Bella Bridesmaids to find the perfect bridesmaids dresses!

The First Kiss

Bride and groom first kissPhoto: Bella Seattle/Photography by Turkan

You’ve said your vows. You’ve exchanged your rings. Now the only thing left to do is kiss!

When your officiant says, “You may kiss the bride,” your photographer should start snapping away like crazy. This is your first moment as an actual married couple — it should be captured for posterity so you can show it to your grandchildren in 30 years!

Related: DIY Wedding Arch Ideas for Your Ceremony

The Newlyweds Shot

Newlyweds wedding photoPhoto: Grace Gatto

The ceremony exit is one of our all-time favorite wedding photo ops.

This is the part of the day when you’re BEAMING with smiles, where you can’t believe that you are so lucky to have married your best friend. It’s the moment that you’ve been dreaming of through months of planning … because now comes the best part: the dancing, the drinking, and the food!

Whether you’re walking down a church aisle or exiting down the sand at your beach wedding, make sure your photographer gets lots of images of this moment. It’s always a good one!

The Candid Snap

Bride and groom candid photoPhoto: Aga Jones

When you meet with your photographer before the big day, be sure to tell them that you want lots of candid close-ups. These can be taken at any moment after the ceremony or during the reception.

All couples should expect to take plenty of photos in the traditional wedding poses. The bride’s family … the groom’s family … the families together, you know the ones we’re talking about.

And while those are great, it’s the candid pictures that usually capture the essence of the day the best. A great photographer will have their eyes on you at all times. They should have plenty of chances to snap at least a few shots of you and your beloved hugging, kissing, smiling, or being goofy.

When you get your wedding photos back, these candid snaps might be the ones that stand out the most, because you won’t even remember them being taken!

Related: Bridesmaids Poses and Camera Tricks

The First Dance

Bride and groom first dancePhoto: Bella Los Angeles/Photography by Charise

When your arms are wrapped around each other in your first dance, you’ll probably see lots of camera flashes going off around the reception venue. This is a moment that everyone loves.

But the first dance isn’t just the first dance of the wedding reception. It’s the first dance of a lifetime of dances that you will share together!

Related: 9 Best First Dance Wedding Songs to Consider

The Cutting of the Cake

Bride and groom cutting cakePhoto: Bella Little Rock/Lela & Lyla Photography

Depending on your style, there are a few different ways that couples handle the cutting of the cake ritual. It’s traditional for both couples to cut the first slice of cake together, but what you do with it from there is up to you.

Some couples play it cool and feed each other a small bite. Some couples smash cake in each other’s faces. How you handle the moment is up to you; just make sure your photographer gets it on film.

The Send-Off

Bride and groom send offPhoto: Bella Austin/Ashley Upchurch

Some couples have their friends and family make an archway or a tunnel for them to run through. Some have their venue shoot off fireworks in the background. However you plan to end your reception, remember this:

Your exit is just as important as your entrance!

We love this wedding shot because it includes not just the happy couple, but all of the guests in attendance. Your guests can help make the moment even more special by shooting off confetti cannons or holding sparklers in their hands as you make your way out.

The more involved your guests are in the moment, the better this photo will be.

The Getaway

Bride and groom getaway carPhoto: Georgia Rachael Photography

Your wedding album should end the way your wedding day ends:

With you and your love getting in the car, pulling down the driveway, or walking off into the sunset.

This image can be of your backs or of you looking back towards the camera — whichever way you prefer.

This is the last image your guests will see of you as you embark on your new life together as a married couple. It’s also the moment that your married life really begins.

Related: How to Throw a Roaring Great Gatsby Wedding


Wedding photographers will take hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of photos at a wedding. So before your big day arrives, talk to your photographer to make sure that they know to get all of the shots most important to you.

And when you finally get the wedding pictures back, you’ll get to relive every moment of your big day all over again. 

Just prepare yourself for the hard part: deciding which ones actually make it into your wedding album!

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