When I was in college, I had a roommate who was engaged. As his wedding was approaching, he told us that he was going to do photos with his fiancee where they would both be dressed as if it were their wedding day….except it wasn’t actually their wedding day. They’re called “groomals,” he told us.

I had heard of girls doing photos like that in their wedding dresses and was vaguely familiar with the term “bridals,” but to have the groom there as well was completely foreign to me. As far as I was aware, it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the wedding. (Apparently, this is because marriages used to be arranged, and there was a danger of the groom backing out if he saw the bride before the wedding and thought she was ugly.)

Since then, however, I’ve come to realize that this is actually a brilliant idea. On the actual day of the wedding, the couple has enough to worry about. Why make it even more stressful by trying to get all of the obligatory photos done while your whole family stands around hoping the luncheon will start soon?

It just seems logical to do all the posed couple photos before the big day. This also allows the photographer to focus on family and candid photos the day of the wedding (which usually have more nostalgic value to the bride and groom anyway).

Last week, I did groomal photos for my cousin Tara and her fiance Juan Carlos who will be getting married this weekend at the LDS temple in Draper, Utah. My lovely wife was my photography assistant (she’s better at adjusting hair and posing people than I am) and the florist who created the bouquet and boutonniere for the photo shoot.

Flower Arranging-1 Flower Arranging-3

We started at the temple and got some of the traditional shots out of the way and then went to the Draper City Park (known for its famous “Tree of Life“) where we did some shots in front of said tree, on two different bridges, and then across the road on an old abandoned railroad. The park actually turned out to be a fantastic place for photos, and I will definitely be returning there in the future.

I ended the day with 1,300 photo to choose from which I whittled down and edited using three different styles. These are some of my favorites: