And those first HUGE hugs from friends & fam you haven't seen in forever? Those eyes-closed, ear-to-ear grin, arms wrapped all the way around you twice hugs? Yeah, I absolutely LOVE those. And they can't be duplicated or posed, they just happen naturally when someone sees you for the first time in a long time, and that happens at your welcome dinner, not at the actual wedding day. Sure, they'll hug you again on your wedding day, but it's a little more reserved.. afterall you are all dolled up to the tens and god forbid someone smear your makeup or mess up that do with their overwhelming love hug.
4. Give your photographer a fuller perspective of who you are
There's no better way for your photographer to get to know you on a deeper level than to hear your friends & fam spill their love guts for you during speeches. Sure, maybe we've gotten together for an engagement session, we had a grand ol' time and things are officially not awkward anymore, but hearing what your friends and family have to say about you during speeches is truly eye opening. And when we know who you are, we can better document you authentically.
For example, I recently shot a rehearsal dinner for a couple that I hadn't yet had the chance to meet. Until the day of their rehearsal, I could not have pointed them out in a line up, but she sounded nice enough over email I supposed. I get there and meet the couple. I think to myself 'damn she's *really* pretty (...and I hope that doesn't mean she's high maintenance), he seems a little reserved so he may take some warming up to, and this all looks really expensive.'
Flash forward two hours and several speeches later and I had a much clearer picture of who they were both as individuals and as a unit. I learned that she was known for her loyalty, unapologetic tell-it-like-it-is candor and ridiculous laugh (seriously, just thinking about it makes me smile). And him? He's not reserved at all. According to his friends' speeches, he's one of the most genuine friends a guy could ask for, someone who would not only listen when you need an ear, but would seek you out in times of need, even if just to sit with you in silence. From the speeches, I also learned that the groom's brother had recently passed away, so I knew to keep an eye out for emotional moments the following day during family formals. Pretty important information for your photographer to be aware of, I'd say.
I guess what I'm getting at here is that the better your photographer truly understand who you are as a couple, the better we can document you as your most authentic self. And what better way to do that than to be right there in the middle of it with you, the entire experience of your wedding, not just the day of.
5. Because, why the hell not?
While it isn't quite the Event that your wedding will be, your welcome dinner likely wasn't thrown together willy nilly either. You've carefully considered who to invite and, picked out that perfect space, menu and custom cocktails, so why not document that stuff too?