When writing that title, my gut is in knots as I am 50/50 on the subject. Personally, when Nick and I got married, we chose not to do a first look. We both had a very traditional mindset on our wedding day where we refused to see each other before I walked down the isle. The anticipation ALL DAY long for our evening ceremony made that moment so special when I saw him for the first time. I would never take that moment back and can totally understand why another bride and groom decides to make the same choice.
If you are like us and you choose NOT to do a first look, I would recommend the following to you so you still get all the photographs that you dreamed of.
- Create TIME in the wedding day timeline for intimate wedding photos of just the two of you post ceremony. If you are choosing to do your reception at the same location as your ceremony, you’ll want to have a cocktail hour. If you are planning on traveling to the reception venue, be strategic on how much buffer time you wish to have between each event. Rule of thumb for me is to add at least an hour and a half to your travel time between venues for bridal party photographs.
- Spend time prior to the wedding ceremony to take pictures with your wedding party (all bridesmaids, bride with groomsmen, all groomsmen & groom with bridesmaids). This way you have less photographs to complete post ceremony.
- Let your photographer know ahead of time which family photos you would like to have taken at the ceremony location before your cocktail hour/travel to another venue.
As you can see, planning each detail out ahead of time is a MUST to ensure you have time to capture all the ceremony photographs that you want. Work with your photographer/coordinator on your wedding day timeline to ensure you have plenty of time to spare for a nice, easy, relaxed day.
For those of you who choose TO DO a first look BEFORE your ceremony, you are moving through your day a little smoother to start with. You will not have to worry about all the extra time to pack in between the ceremony and reception. Many bride and grooms choose this route to ensure the smoothest wedding day timeline. The main recommendations I have for you are:
- Add all the time you need for photos before the ceremony starts. If you are traveling, keep this time in mind as well.
- You’ll still want to create a little bit of a buffer for family/romantic newlywed shots post ceremony. I highly recommend about 30-45 minutes before you plan to enter the reception/leave for the reception venue.
All in all, creating a seamless wedding day timeline is one of the most important details to your wedding day prep. Use your photographer/wedding coordinator. Let them help guide you through your expectations so you can walk away with images that you will love.