Timing is everything on your wedding day…and it’s often not what you expect it to be and that’s ok, as long as we can plan for the unexpected. All of what you are about to read should go under the major heading, “you can never have too much time for photographs.”
First off, we’ll start by saying that there are two main ways to schedule your day: Golden Hour and First Look.
For a Golden Hour schedule, the couple does not see each other before the ceremony. The first time you see one another will be at the ceremony just before you join together as one. All of your loved ones will be there to witness this truly emotional and epic moment.
1. Days typically start earlier. Due to most of the photographs being before the ceremony, everyone has to get ready earlier in the day.
2. Quality of light may not be as good. First off, this can totally depend on weather and the season of your wedding. Like we talked about earlier, shooting as close to sunset is the ideal situation.
3. Tradition. Many couples want to follow standard wedding traditions, and that’s ok! If a first look is always what you dreamed of, then do it! It’s your wedding day! You only get one!
Things to Consider
1. Getting Ready Close to One Another
We highly recommend for our couples to get ready as close as possible! We have had it happen in the past that the couple were over 30 minutes away from each other. This may cause some troubles in the timeline as we may have to spend a lot of time driving instead of capturing moments!
2. Hotel vs. Home
There are some pros and cons to getting ready at a Hotel vs Home.
Let’s start with getting ready in a hotel. First off, there is going to be less clutter in a hotel room! When there’s less clutter, it’s easier to find good, clean light. It’s one thing for us to move a chair in a hotel vs. a chair, some decor and 3 picture frames that would be in your home. Another big pro is that everyone is in one spot. This easily allows for us to go back and forth between the guys and girls capturing far more moments.
The biggest reason for getting ready at home is for storytelling. We recently photographed a wedding where the bride got ready in her grandfather’s home. This home has been in their family for three generations. Everything about his home was sentimental to her and a part of her story. If you have always dreamed of walking down your grand staircase to dad seeing you for the first time, then do it!
3. Receiving Lines
What starts out as a really nice cushion of time for photographs is suddenly whittled down to 15 minutes because no one ever realizes how long a receiving line takes until they’re actually in one. As a good rule of thumb, you’ll need to allow about 15 seconds for each guest. So if you have around 100 guests, now you’re looking at 20-30 minutes of just standing in a line. Consider visiting the guests at their table at the reception instead, or dismissing guests by row at the ceremony.
So what exactly is the first look?
Simply put – it’s when you spend some time before the ceremony (yes, before) in a private moment where we get to capture the intimacy of you two seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day.
Typically, I’ll scout out a spot that is remote, romantic, and away from guests. From there, I’ll guide you two towards a secret rendezvous just for you. Not only does this make for some amazing memories and photographs, but you get to share in a private moment just between the two of you!
1. You get to spend a lot more time with your soon to be husband/wife! Many past couples have mentioned that seeing each other prior to the ceremony helps calm nerves as well.
2. From the photography side of things, you will have much more time.
3. The time between the ceremony and reception doesn’t have to drag out. Because most of the photographs are completed, the reception can start much quicker.
4. Winter weddings! Because it gets dark out much earlier it may make sense to do a first look so that you can take photographs while it’s still light outside!
4. Natural Light
It is the biggest point of photography – lighting. It creates each photo, gives a uniqueness like no other, and makes everything better! Natural lighting is not only flattering, it’s all around fabulous! And for the most important day of your life, you want to be sure and incorporate as much of it as you can into your schedule, especially for photographs. Wedding party, family, and your portraits are best taken in natural light because it creates the best aesthetic for the photographs. What you love about our photos is the natural-ness… and lighting plays a huge part of that! So, can you still have a candlelight dinner reception or a sunset ceremony? Totally! Just make sure we work together to create a schedule that allows plenty of time to capture your important photos ahead of time.
5. Letters and Gifts
Handwritten letters will never go out of style, but they are definitely few and far between these days in the age of social media, text messages and emails! So, what better occasion than on your wedding day to spend a bit of time expressing why you love each other.
This is by no means a requirement or expected, however your wedding can be the perfect opportunity to write a letter or give a gift to the people who mean the most to you.
6. Reveal With the People Who Matter Most
Do you love the idea of doing a first look, but you don’t want your love to see you before walking down the aisle? Consider doing a first look with your bridesmaids, dad or anyone else who holds a special place in your heart!
7. Be Adventurous / Be You!
When I hand you your wedding album at the end of this, I want you to say, “WOW!” Not because these photos are gorgeous (which they will be) but a “WOW!” from the story it tells. If you want to get ready at home because that’s what is meaningful to you, let’s make it happen. If you decide to not have a creative session and go see your grandma at the nursing home instead, then let’s please make it happen! If you and your fiancé had your first date at a tiny little ice cream place and it means the world to you two, then by all means, let’s go take some photographs there! Many people worry about where they want to take photographs, rather than thinking of why you want to have photographs taken at a certain location. We challenge you to dig deep and together, let’s come up with a location that will tell your story perfectly.
8. Don’t Sweat It
Murphy’s law tells us that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. While we refuse to live our entire lives awaiting the pending bad luck headed our way, it’s a good reminder that sometimes we have to let go. On your wedding day, this is even more important! What time the cake arrives, your uncle who is running behind, that darn button that just broke on your dress… all of these things will seem so large at the time, but they’re really very small. And guess what? You’re getting married!!! Yes, today is that day and it’s all about you! We can’t tell you how many times we’ve said,
“The [church/guests/officiant/band/servers/you fill in the blank] will wait for you. You’re the main event and the day can’t go on until you’re ready.”
It’s so true because not everything will go as planned and we promise that it won’t matter to you later! So remember, no matter what it is, just say this:
“It’s just a _____. It’s not going to ruin my day!”