For any brides-to-be out there thinking about their wedding timeline, I’d love to share some information (and benefits!) of having a First Look! If you aren’t familiar with this tradition, I hope I can shed some light on how it would be a romantic addition to your wedding day celebration that not only adds to the experience, but also reduces stress. I’ve professed my love for First Looks to many brides, and there’s a reason! They’re AWESOME! However, you and your future spouse should always decide on whatever experience you think fits you the best.
When it comes to planning a wedding day timeline, it can be crazy trying to coordinate everyone, and fit everything in! “Traditionally,” the bride and groom remain separate throughout their wedding day, and see each other for the first time at their ceremony. This can be SUCH a powerful and wonderful moment! However, in a lot of ways it can also add a lot of stress to the day. The day is spent focused on how the bride and groom need to look their best, if the flowers are arriving on time, or where the rings are. Little by little, the tension can start to grow, as the waiting game begins before walking down the aisle.
You finally enter the ceremony, full of nerves, to see your beloved future spouse- and all of your guests staring right at you! After taking your place in the ceremony, there are no kind words shared or heartfelt exclamations. The officiant speaks, vows are exchanged, and next thing you know you are MARRIED!!
Cocktail hour begins and it’s straight to family formals, bridal party portraits, and finally you get about 20 minutes alone with your new spouse for some “just married” portraits. In my experience, a lot of couples are TIRED by this point! Their day has been such a whirlwind, and sometimes they really just want to take a breather with each other.
I want to stress this part so much! You spend so much time and money working with both your photography and hair and make up team, only to be a little overwhelmed for what should be one of the most fun experiences on your wedding day! Portraits of you and your spouse are possibly the most important part of your wedding photos. Can you think of the next time that you will invest in a professional photographer, professional hair and makeup, or attire? Portraits of you two looking your best and still brimming from the excitement of the day are the ones that you will cherish forever, and will likely be the best photos of the two of you together for the next few years!
I completely understand every bride-to-be who yearns for the moment where her groom sees her for the first time at their ceremony. It is such a touching moment wrapped in tradition! As a photographer, I just have to share that you should take this into consideration when planning out your day! It might be helpful to add an extra 10-15 minutes in between cocktail hour and bridal party announcements to share privately with your spouse, or to consider getting as many bridal party portraits as possible out of the way before the ceremony. This can help add some private time after the ceremony, and before the festivities of the reception begin, to re-charge with your spouse without sacrificing your wedding portraits!
With first looks, a lot of this stress is taken away. About an hour and a half before the ceremony is set to begin, your photographer takes you and your groom to a private place… no people, no on-lookers, no distractions. You, his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see you for the first time. There isn’t the pressure of all your guests and family expecting a reaction, or not being able to say anything during the ceremony proceedings, and true emotions are expressed. You could embrace each other, cry, kiss, and ENJOY that moment together while your photographer quietly works on the sidelines. Once you are both ready, you casually move into romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of you and your photographer, capturing the excitement and the joy of your wedding day.
With First Looks, you also have the option to get bridal party portraits done before the ceremony as well! After romantic portraits are done, you can meet up with your best friends and share a few moments before the fun of bridal party portraits begin. They’re FUN, because there is time to make them FUN! You’re able to really enjoy portraits with your bridal party without added stress! Finally, it’s time for the ceremony, and the nerves are gone as you walk down the aisle to the love of your life!
When the ceremony ends and cocktail hour begins, family formals are much more relaxed as there is not as much of a time crunch! Instead of needing another 20 minutes for Bridal Party Portraits (which you took before the ceremony!) this time can be used to chat with family, take a breather with your spouse, or for extra portrait time. You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With first looks, you’ll receive 40% more portraits of the two of you, and those are the images you will decorate your first home with! You also get a larger variety of photos, since your first look probably won’t take place in the same location as where you would do portraits after the ceremony. If you are wearing a veil, you can also opt to not wear it for your first look and surprise your groom with it at the ceremony!
With the extra time left in cocktail hour, it can be spent perfecting those flying veil shots 🙂 With first looks, you truly make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money. As a photographer, I can’t help but share how wonderful I think first looks are! Whatever your photography goals are for your wedding day, I hope that this helped to shed some light on planning the timeline for your big day!