The First Look
One of the biggest decisions you'll make to affect your wedding day schedule, will be whether or not to do a First Look. Whatever you decide, I'll be happy to help you get the most out of your photo opportunities. More and more couples are choosing to do a first look (followed by their portrait session) and I highly recommend it! Here are a few things to know:
First Look Benefits:
- A truly private moment without everyone watching when you reveal yourselves to each other for the first time. It’s often emotional and romantic. I have seen more happy tears during this moment than during a reveal at the ceremony.
- Makes for beautiful photos of the moment you first see each other and embrace. These are truly candid photos, a beautiful part of your portrait session.
- More time to get the best photos of the two of you because we’re feeling much less rushed; it’s more relaxed for all of us.
- You are looking your freshest (dress/makeup/suit/shoes/etc)
- If the weather turns for the worse after the ceremony, you can rest at ease knowing you already had wonderful photo opportunities outside.
- You’re feeling more grounded and present (but no less emotional) at the start of your ceremony
- You get to enjoy more of the cocktail hour (the reason everyone loves!)
First Look Facts
For people leaning towards not doing a first look, and doing their reveal at the ceremony, I think one of your main concerns is this: will a first look take away from the impact of the moment we first see each other at the start of the ceremony? Won’t keeping to ‘tradition’ make that moment when we first see each other more special? I have photographed hundreds of weddings and in my opinion, the answer is no. It’s just as likely you both will tear up at the start of your ceremony, whether you do the first look or not. And in fact, during your first look, you’ll most likely be even more immersed in that OMG moment in a way you couldn’t have been if the ceremony was happening.
An interesting fact: the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony was born of superstition in the time of arranged marriages. They didn’t want the couple to have a chance to change their mind if they saw each other before the ceremony and didn’t like what they saw. This is also why brides wore veils over their faces right up to the moment the ceremony started. In today’s modern world, there is no need to feel that breaking ‘tradition’ will in any way take away from the emotion of your wedding day.
Reveal at the Ceremony
I’m more than happy to work around your plans if you decide to wait until the ceremony for your reveal. There are some helpful things you should know.
- Let’s try to get the separate wedding party portraits done before the ceremony
- It’s not worth trying to do family portraits before the ceremony since both of you will need to be in most of the photos
- After the ceremony, try to plan at least 30 minutes of downtime (for the guests) before the cocktail hour starts. In other words, the cocktail hour would be more like 90 minutes or even more. In this time we’ll do the family portraits, followed by the full wedding party portraits, and lastly, the portrait session of the two of you. Even though we’ll start as soon as possible after the ceremony, you may have to miss a good part of the cocktail hour, especially if you choose to do a receiving line.
- Realize that you’ll have less time (and possibly less energy and enthusiasm) for the portrait session of just you two, because (both or at least one of) you may feel like the formal photos are going on and on and you may want to just start partying (attention grooms, listen up!). Ideally you want to go into your portrait session feeling excited to work with me to create amazing images! This is why you chose to work with me, right?!
- You’ll want to arrange for hors d’oeuvres and drinks to be brought to you after the ceremony when the family formals begin. You’ll need to keep your blood sugar levels high so you don’t crash and burn when it’s finally time for your couple’s portrait session.
- Another option to consider is adding a ‘Day After Session’ to your package. Some people call this a ‘Trash the Dress session’ but it doesn’t have to involve dirtying up your clothing, although that can be fun too. A day after session allows for you both to have fun getting dressed again the following day , and in a no-pressure atmosphere we’ll create stunning images of the two of you. You can even change your outfit, or do your hair and make up differently…why not go for a few of your favorite looks!