Timelines are something that everybody needs, but often times aren't the first thing on your mind when planning a wedding! You've got your venue, your dress, your bridal party, your flowers, catering, dessert, save the dates and invites and the cutest little decor details you could have ever imagined. You've come so far in the planning process and now it's time to start thinking about the minute by minute layout of your big day. This certainly isn't everyone's strong suit and it's nowhere near as fun as the rest of the planning, but having a specific and well thought out timeline is ESSENTIAL to a fantastic wedding day. I cannot say enough how much I would encourage all couples to consider a wedding coordinator. At the very least to consider having someone there on the day of your event to help move things along and take the burden off of YOU! This is a day for you to relax, enjoy and leave the details to someone else.
As the photographer, I often play a fairly large role in helping build out timelines to ensure that we have the right amount of time to capture the size of your bridal party, your family, intimate shots of the two of you and still be able to fit in all those details and candids! All of these pieces are key to a well rounded photo collection of this special day you've been planning for months.
So, let's talk "First Looks." I, for one, am a MAJOR advocate for First Looks. Why? Because the opportunity to work with the couple earlier in the day before many of the bridal party members, family members and various guests arrive, gives me the chance to spend quality, personal time with the two of you without distractions. I can work to capture you two in your element, snuggling, laughing and getting the early wedding day jitters out of your system together. Many of my past clients have given such positive feedback about their First Look helping to reduce their anxiety significantly before walking down the aisle in front of everyone they love. Once the day begins and your guests are there, it is REALLY tricky to find that quality, stress-free time after the ceremony if a First Look isn't in the schedule from the get go. You are being pulled in every direction to hug, greet and chat with people who haven't seen you in years and that stress can definitely come through in your images. Many people that don't decide to do a First Look try to build in a short cocktail hour to try and accommodate all photos that include the bride and groom. This cocktail hour often consists of not only couple photos, but all bridal party and family photos as well (Items that can typically take anywhere form 2-3 hours depending on your venue layout and group size). All the while there are antsy people that are excited to celebrate the newlyweds and this pressure can cause the couple to be incredibly rushed through photos.
This is not to say that First Looks are the only way to go! We have shot MANY weddings in which we did not do a First Look and I wholeheartedly see the magic in doing this. As the client, the final decision is all yours. As a photographer that has photographed 55+ weddings, I love to think about timelines that work best for the needs of my clients and their special day. SO, depending on what aspects of your day are most important for you to have captured, a First Look may be the best fit for you!
Here's the fun part: First Looks can be done is so many different ways! Here are some of my favorites:
1. Sneaking up from behind with a sweet little shoulder tap is classic, fun and great for photos:
2. A split wall or doorway is unique and suspenseful:
3. Read notes from one another back-to-back on the edge of a cliff? Why not! Then easily turning right into each others arms:
4. Backing into each other on a long stretch of pathway in a favorite location:
5. On a rooftop in downtown Seattle
6. Back to back!
PLUS! Guess What!
First looks aren't always just about the couple! I've done Father-Daughter First Looks, Bride and Bridesmaids First Looks and so many other creative things to make a little chunk of time to share a special moment with someone you love. Here is one of my very favorite Father-Daughter First Looks:
And a super playful First Look with Bridesmaids and their best friend!