These are important moments to capture, too.

By Blythe Copeland
December 10, 2019
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For many couples, choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important vendor decisions—after all, this is the person who will be responsible for documenting every special memory from your big day. But once you've found someone to create those heirloom images, you might want to also think about hiring them to photograph the rest of your pre-wedding events, like the bridal shower and the rehearsal dinner. "It's better to hire the same photographer for the whole thing because there's greater cohesiveness," says Brooklyn-based wedding photographer Charlotte Jenks Lewis. "If you're going to make an album, you can go to one person to put all the images together for you and everything looks the same." Some photographers even offer package deals that include these events. And if yours doesn't? It's still worth asking if they're available to shoot wedding-related parties, too. Here, three reasons why you should consider enlisting a photographer for more than just your wedding day.

You'll get a wider variety of group photos.

Having a professional photographer at your rehearsal dinner or bridal shower gives you the chance to capture photos that aren't as formal and posed as the ones you'll get during the wedding—and makes it easier to grab a few shots of people who might not join the posed wedding-day photos (like your husband's weekend basketball buddies and your mom's childhood friends). "You still want people in their groups," says Lewis. "It's nice to get a group of college girlfriends together or a shot of the whole family, but in a more casual way than you would on the wedding day. These groups of people are not together in one room all that often as we get older, so it is nice to get everyone together in a picture."

You'll get to know your photographer—and vice versa.

Another benefit: Spending extra time with your photographer before the wedding helps you feel more comfortable in front of the camera on the big day, and can give your photographer an advantage because they're getting to know you and your family. "A good photographer," says Lewis, "should be learning names and knowing who's who." Hiring the same photographer for your engagement party, bridal shower, and wedding day means that by the time the big day rolls around, your photographer should who the key players are—your parents, grandparents, siblings, bridal party; who's comfortable in front of the camera; and who you may not want to document as closely (like your sister's on-the-way-out boyfriend).

You can put down your phone (and so can your mom).

In a time when it feels like if it didn't happen on social media, it didn't happen at all, having a professional to document your parties takes the pressure to capture every moment off the host. "We are living in a society now where we are more accustomed to documenting everything in our lives, and I think people feel like they really want to remember everything about the whole weekend, the engagement party, and all the events," says Lewis. For an extra charge, your photographer may even be able to give you a few photos the next day to post on your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. "You're finding the gems and trying to pull those out, but you have to go through 3,000 or 4,000 photos to find them in a few hours," says Lewis. "That's not an easy thing to deliver, but it can be done." Another bonus: You can remember all your wedding event looks without relying on a collection of mirror selfies. "A lot of women want every one of their outfits documented," says Lewis. "Just because you've documented one gown doesn't mean you shouldn't document another."

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