You’ve dreamt of this day for quite some time. Part of that dream included what you envisioned your soon to be husband’s reaction when he first lays eyes on you. You’ve heard of a first look, but aren’t sure its what you want to do yet or maybe have already decided against it. We would like to be the first to tell you that your images will be beautiful regardless of wether you decide to do the first look or not.
Just like with a first look, there are certain things that we recommend are put in place to ensure that you don’t just have beautiful images but that you have a good amount of them. One of the advantages of doing a first look is that you spend more time on your wedding day with your groom which makes sense that you would have more in quantity of pictures than if you don’t do a first look. But we have a fix for this to help you and your future husband spend as much time as possible on your wedding day even if you’re leaning towards not doing a first look.
The first thing that we recommend is to allot time to have every possible picture that can be taken prior to the ceremony without you and your groom seeing each other, taken! These include bridal party pictures and immediate family formals. The bridesmaids and your immediate family usually are already with you as you are getting ready, so why not take advantage of that to take those pictures during that time. After the ceremony you would just have to finish up the portraits that require both you and your groom for the picture. This will help cut the formal time after the ceremony to decrease by half and in turn maximize the amount of time after the ceremony for your newlywed portraits. For our couples, the shot list prior to the ceremony looks something like this
Bride with all bridesmaids
Bride with each bridesmaid
Bride with mother
Bride with mother and father
Bride with father
Bride with siblings
Bride with grandparents
Bride with immediate family (Parents, siblings, one with and one without grandparents)
Groom with all groomsmen
Groom with each groomsmen
Groom with father
Groom with father and mother
Groom with mother
Groom with siblings
Groom with grandparents
Groom with immediate family (Parents, siblings, one with and one without grandparents)
Lastly we recommend that you strongly consider having an extended cocktail hour, ideally one and half hour cocktail hour, and have that considered when planning the start time for your ceremony. In the past we’ve had couples say that the reception can’t start without them, which is true but that can have consequences that you maybe didn’t consider. The catering team would have already planned for a dinner start time. If dinner is late then you risk the meal being served cold or risk that the food be a little over cooked, hence dry, because the catering team would make every effort to keep the food warm to serve warm.
Another unforeseen challenge that you may not have considered is that if you planned your ceremony start time based on a normal one hour cocktail hour, chances are that you scheduled your session as close as possible to sunset. We freeze time in images for a living but our super powers stop with the very punctual sunset. Even if you are okay with going to your reception late, regardless of consequences it may have on the food, the sun will still set at its scheduled time. The truth is that we can only shoot, the images that you are asking for, so long as the sun is out!
We hope that this reassures you that regardless of which route you go that you will have the images you envision. Moral of the story is, if the final verdict is against a first look, schedule your ceremony no later than two hours prior to sunset and have an extended cocktail hour.
Your day is one day that you’ve invested to much money and time dreaming up. The only thing that you’ll have after this day to help you relive it is your photos. Set your photographer up for success to be able to deliver timeless images that will bring back the feels every time you look at them. With proper planning your day will be everything you dreamed of and more and you’ll have all the photos to prove it!