Scottish Melville Castle Destination Wedding Party Pic
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When choosing locations for formal portraits, I always try to find a backdrop that showcases something special about the event. In the case of the destination wedding in Edinburgh, Scotland, I wanted to bring show some of the architectural details of Melville Castle where the event was occurring. The light was so buttery and gorgeous outside so instead of keeping everyone inside, before the ceremony took place in The Ballroom, I chose to utilize the exteriors of the building. The gorgeous entryway back to the 1500s and was such a beautiful backdrop, I had to use it. By placing the bridesmaids and the bide in the soft lighting of the entryway, I was able to showcase the beauty of the building as well as the women.

When thinking about where we should shoot your formal portraits, its a good idea to look at the timing of your day. y building in enough time in your schedule, we can show a variety of locations of your venue as well as take advantage of perfect lighting for the event. Often, shooting the bulk of your formals prior to the ceremony will allow you to entertain your guests during more of your cocktail hour. If you would like to see your spouse for the first time while walking down the aisle, consider front-loading the portraits where the two of you are not traditionally together. These include the bridesmaids shots, the groomsmen shots, and parent shots. The after the ceremony, we can complete the shots like the full bridal party, full family shots, and extended family shots which are more appropriate to have the two of you together.

If you are interested in having a first look, consider adding an hour to the prep time before the ceremony and asking family and friends to gather before the ceremony. Your formals will all be out of the way and you can join your guests at the cocktail hour or you can use the time for a more extensive romance session.

Here are some examples of romance sessions that occurred immediately after the first look:

Here are some things to consider when you discuss your timing and a possible first look:

What are the pros and cons of a First Look?

A: First Looks are a more recent trend…it really depends on y’all. Personally, I love them – see my reasons below. But, ultimately, you should do what feels right for you.


    • Intimacy…the chance to share a private and intimate moment, which is often less restrained. Also, it can be a good work around for churches that restrict access during the ceremony.
    • Nerves…If walking down the aisle causes you anxiety, an early moment together can make this trip a little easier.
    • Efficiency…Finishing the formals before the ceremony allows more time for the Romance Session OR immediately start the party at the cocktail hour!
    • Privacy…Everyone wants to talk to you on your wedding day. You are the star of the show! The First Look gives the two of you a few moments of well-deserved privacy.


    • Tradition…Quite often, especially in the South, grooms have no interest in a First Look. The ritual and anticipation of watching their bride walk down the aisle toward them is what they want.
    • Excitement…While the First Look can take away the anxiety of walking down the aisle, it can also lessen the excitement of that moment.
    • Timing….You have to get ready earlier in the day (although, who doesn’t want extra time in that gorgeous wedding dress when you only get to wear it one day?!) and your close family and guests will have to arrive before the wedding in order to take all of the formals before the ceremony.
    • The Moment…A bride and groom greeting each other in the traditional form to create their new life together can create a wonderfully candid shot that can be worth the wait.

As your photographer, my only concern is to make you happy. The less stress and the more joy and at ease you are during our time together, the better your photos will be. I will work with you, your planner, and your timeline to make sure we can achieve everything we need to while catering to your wishes to make your day perfect!

Location: Gilmerton Rd, Edinburgh, Lasswade EH18 1AP, United Kingdom.

Keywords: Bride (98), Bridesmaids (2), Destination Wedding (128), Edinburgh (21), Formals (3), Melville Castle (21), Portrait (76), Scotland (21), Wedding (252). 1/200; f/5.0; ISO 1600; 53.0 mm.

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