Despite all the planning and energy that goes into weddings, most of the happy couples I've worked with agree that The Big Day goes by incredibly fast! So how do you get the most out of your wedding day and enjoy every moment, again, and again, with unforgettable photos? Yes! Every moment (even cocktail hour!).
I always suggest to my couples that to get the most out of their day I highly recommend doing a “first look” before the ceremony.
Having a “first look” offers many benefits. The more time your photographer will have with the two of you together, the more opportunity you and your photographer will have to create and enshrine those memories and special images you’ll treasure forever. You’ll enjoy a more low-key, leisurely time leading up to the ceremony, and seeing each other before the event can go a long way toward calming those pre-wedding jitters--it's ok! Everyone gets them!
Some couples might be concerned that a first look will diminish that magic moment when the bride walks down the aisle, but in fact, that instant when your eyes meet will be just as special whether you’ve gotten a preview or not. If you’re together before the ceremony, it will allow your photographer to get your formal portraits done beforehand so you can relax a bit and enjoy your day. If possible I like to get the bridal party portraits done before the wedding as well. This gives you more time after the ceremony to get family formals photographed, and you can even enjoy half of your cocktail hour.
Whether you decide to have a first look or take the more traditional approach, keep in mind that in summer, the best light for romantic, beautiful portraits is after 5 p.m. Depending on the time of your wedding, you might want to wait to take your formal portraits until after the ceremony to coincide with that ideal time.
Your photographer can still get a lot of great shots before the ceremony even if you decide on the more traditional route. They can complete a session with the bride and her bridesmaids, and another with the groom and his attendants. That way, they can cut down on the amount of time set aside for portraits after the ceremony. I suggest to photograph the women first, about an hour before the ceremony is scheduled to begin. Then, it’s the men’s turn. Just be sure to finish in time for everyone to get ready for the ceremony on time.