The 9 Essential Bride and Groom Pictures That Every Wedding Needs

Bride and groom with bridal party in cityPhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Kansas City / Alyssa Barletter

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

After all, the photographer’s job is 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 photo-worthy moments you want them to capture.

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: Bella Bridesmaids San Francisco / Patrick Ang

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

The first look is the pre-wedding moment that kicks off your entire wedding celebration. Don’t let that moment pass by without getting at least a few snaps!

The Vows

Bride and groom saying wedding vows at wedding ceremonyPhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Tampa / Jenn Beck

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 the highlight of every wedding couple’s big day, and it’s an experience you’re likely to play over and over in your mind for decades to come.

You’ll definitely want to capture this shot on film for eternity!

Your photographer will likely take dozens of photos of you and your soon-to-be spouse throughout the wedding ceremony. If you plan to create a wedding album with color photos, consider printing a few of these shots in black and white for a timeless, classic look.

The First Kiss

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 the first chance you get to express your physical love as a married couple. It also has the potential to be one of the best photos in your entire wedding album.

The Newlyweds Shot

Bride and groom walking down stairs with bridal party behind themPhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Greenville / Haley Jane

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 you’re so lucky to have married your best friend. 

It’s the moment of the day that you’ve been dreaming of throughout the 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 from your destination wedding on the beach, make sure your photographer gets lots of images of this moment. It’s always a good one!

The Candid Snap

When you meet with your photographer before the big day, tell them you want plenty of candid close-ups. They can snap these at various points in time, including before and after the ceremony and during the reception.

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

And while those are great, candid pictures 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.

Be sure to let your photog know that you want some individual bride photos and groom photos as well. These can be shots of the beautiful bride right after she puts on her wedding dress or shots of the groom adjusting his cufflinks or tie. 

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 your photog taking them!

The First Dance

When you wrap your arms around each other in your first dance, you’ll probably see lots of camera flashes going off around the reception venue. Everyone loves the first dance! 

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!

If you’re still deciding on the perfect first dance song for your big day, here’s some inspiration: 13 Best First Dance Wedding Songs

The Cutting of the Cake

Two brides cutting cakePhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Atlanta / Ember Studio

Depending on your style, there are a few different ways couples handle the cutting of the cake ritual. It’s traditional for both newlyweds 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. Whatever you choose to do with your first slice of cake is up to you; just make sure your photographer gets it on film.

The Send-Off

Two brides walking down stairs surrounded by bridal partyPhoto: Ashley Rae

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 the happy couple and all guests in attendance. Your guests can help make the photo even more spectacular by shooting off confetti cannons or holding sparklers in their hands as you make your way out.

The more involved your guests are in your send-off, the better this photo will be.

Nothing makes a grand exit quite like the perfect musical backdrop. Discover potential recessional and grand departure exit songs.

The Getaway

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 as you walk away, your car as you drive off together, or 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 one of the most romantic wedding photos your photographer can take, as it’s the moment your married life officially begins!

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

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

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