Is a First Look Right for You?

At first glance this might seem like a trivial decision, but in reality, several things, like your wedding day schedule, hinge on whether or not you choose to include a first look.

So, what exactly is a first look? It is a time scheduled before the ceremony for the bride and groom to have a private or semi-private moment where the groom gets his "first look" at the bride in all her wedding day glory. 

In contrast many couples go a more traditional route, waiting until the ceremony to see each other.

As a photographer I must admit, I like the first look. However, as a bride I chose the traditional way, and I'm still happy with that choice.  

So, future bride and groom, the question is what should you do?  Let me start by saying that neither choice is wrong.  There are pros and cons to either option, but ultimately it comes down to what fits you.  

Benefits of a waiting until the ceremony 

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Tradition: This is probably the main reason that couples choose this option.  There is something special about doing a thing in the way that your mother, and her mother, and her mother before her did it. (Fear not, Pinterest inspired brides, there are still plenty of fun photos you can take together without seeing each other!)

Guests: You've invited all of your friends and family to come and watch you wed, Your guests may want to witness this tender moment when you first lay eyes on each other.  Being surrounded by your family and friends for this moment may be what you'd prefer as well.

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Not staged: Scheduling a time and place, positioning each person, and being directed when to look can all feel a bit forced.  Of course, the groom will be happy to see his bride at any point, but allowing it to happen in the course of the ceremony may feel more natural and candid.

Anticipation: Going through your preparations separately, waiting expectantly to see each other, builds a fun sense of anticipation.  If you're a bit nervous about being in front of a crowd, looking forward to seeing that one person you love so much, might be a welcome distraction.

Benefits of a First Look

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Photos: If getting incredible photos of this moment is really important to you, a first look might be the way to go.  You can choose a beautiful setting and take the time to get a variety of shots from different angles. This also means  you can schedule more time for group and couple photos without leaving your guests waiting.

Time: Once you've seen each other, you can go ahead and get all of your photography done before the ceremony.  Then, you can spend the time after the ceremony relaxing together, and arrive at the reception as quickly as you like.

Relaxing: If you're a bit nervous about the ceremony, being together can ease some of that tension.  Your soon-to-be spouse is likely the person you feel the most comfortable around and the one who knows just how to help you relax and forget  the millions of last minute questions you'll probably be peppered with.

Being Together: If you have a late afternoon or evening wedding, you may want to consider a first look, so you aren't spending the majority of your wedding day apart.  The sooner you get to see each other, the more time you have to enjoy each other's company on the day that is in fact,  about you two being together.

There are plenty of factors to consider here, but the great news is both options have great perks!

Now, we'd love to hear from you! Wedding veteran, let us know what you did and why. Future brides (and grooms), feel free to ask questions or let us know what you are planning.

Wedding Day Emergency Kit Must Haves

 So much planning goes into creating the perfect wedding day, but even the most organized wedding is still bound to have little bumps here and there.  At the end of the day you’ll be happily married and headed off on your honeymoon. The best man’s missing button or the blister on your heal won’t matter at all, but in the moment, having an emergency kit can relieve a little stress and ease some physical discomfort. 

As a photographer, I’ve been with many brides in those behind the scenes moments where misbehaving dresses act up and any number of other unexpected problems arise. There are a few particular items that, time after time, people are wishing they’d brought.  I don’t want you to be one of those poor gals hunting for safety pins at the last minute, so grab a basket and fill it up with these things.

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A Needle and Thread

Invariably a bridesmaid or groomsman will have a loose button or strap, and so many brides, for a multitude of reasons, have had their dresses sewn together before they walk down the aisle.  Instead of hitting up every grandma in the audience, just tuck a needle and thread into your little kit.

Water (and a straw)

Hopefully someone thought to stock your “getting ready” room with drinks and snacks.  Just in case this gets overlooked, throw in a bottle of water or two.  On such a long, tiring day, staying hydrated will keep you looking and feeling refreshed.  Tuck in a straw as well, if you are worried about smudging your lipstick.

A Granola bar

I speak from personal experience on this one!  It’s so easy to get busy and forget to make time for breakfast.  Standing through the ceremony in a heavy dress, on a hot day is not the easiest on an empty stomach. Then, it’s common to get caught up chatting with guests and not get much of your wedding meal either.  Having a snack to grab during a free moment can make all the difference in the world.

Scissors

One thing that I frequently see people hunting all over for is scissors.  Whether it’s a last minute adjustment to a DIY decoration, or simply removing a tag, so many little issues can pop up that just require a little snipping.

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Hair Spray / Bobby Pins

Chances are, while you’re out in the wind for photos, or climbing in and out of the car between venues, a few strands are going to come loose and need to be tucked back into place.

Stain Removal Pen (or chalk)

Of course the dress goes on last in hopes that no one’s morning coffee or makeup ends up on that beautiful white gown. It’s still best to be prepared though, especially if you have young children for flower girls or ring bearers.  Children do have a knack for getting messy. If you don’t have a stain removal pen, or if you’re worried about discoloring the fabric, grab a piece of white chalk and just cover up any little smudges.

The items above are by no means an exhaustive list.  Here are a few other great things to have on hand, just in case:

  •     Deodorant
  •     Visine
  •     Tweezers
  •     Blotting cloths
  •     Hand sanitizer
  •     Lint roller
  •     Razor
  •     Mints/mouth wash
  •     Band-Aids
  •     Tampons/pads
  •     Double faced tape
  •     Pain killer/allergy meds
  •     Earring backs
  •     Tissues

Bridesmaid Note: Maybe you’re not the bride this time.  Here’s your chance to be a super friend and save the day!  Pack all these things into a cute little jar and give them to the bride at the rehearsal dinner as a little pre-wedding gift.  She'll love the gesture, and if she uses any items (chances are she will), you'll be her hero!

If you have any other great ideas for things to include in an emergency kit, we'd love to hear from you. Comment below with your ideas!

 

Finding the Photographer that Fits You

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Planning a wedding is a huge endeavor full of decisions and to do’s. Finding a talented photographer in your price range can make you want to do a little dance and sign a contract right away. However, there’s another factor to consider when evaluating photographers. Fit.  If you’re looking for amazing photography, you don’t just need a good photographer; you need one who is a good fit for you.

Personal Connection

The first aspect of fit is personality. The wedding day can feel hectic and even stressful at times. Choosing a photographer who makes you feel comfortable can make all the difference in the world. If your florist’s mannerisms really grate on you it might not be a big deal. You only see her once or twice for a short time. Your photographer, on the other hand, is with you almost every moment of your wedding day. Whether you want someone quirky and outgoing who can make you laugh or someone with a quiet calming presence who gives you plenty of space, it’s worth considering what kind of person you’d like to have around all day.

Artistic style

The second part of fit is style.  A piece of art, say a photograph, can be technically proficient and have a beautiful subject matter, but if you hate the style, you probably won’t find the work very pleasing.  Think about your wedding cake for a moment.  You choose a beautiful design that fits your taste, yet you see it for only five minutes. Then your new spouse lovingly smashes it into your face and it’s gone.  Your photos, however, will hopefully grace the walls of your home for decades to come. Shouldn’t they match your personal tastes too?

How to Find a Good Fit

The first step to making sure that you and your photographer are compatible is thinking about what you want.  Do you prefer a traditional posed style or are you into a more casual photo journalistic approach? Do you like an edgier, artistic perspective, or would you prefer classic, simplistic compositions? You don’t necessarily have to put a  name to your style, but do look through a variety of images and take note of what stands out to you.

Though this may seem obvious, a great way to evaluate how your personalities mesh is to meet in person. You probably didn’t decide to marry your fiancé five minutes after you met. You took some time to get to know one another.  Do the same with your photographer. Okay, maybe don’t date them and marry them, but you get the idea.  Meet at a coffee shop, or set up a Skype call to hash out details.  It’s amazing how much you can learn about each other with a little face time!

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Another great way to get comfortable with one another is booking an engagement session. In fact, we always include engagement sessions with our wedding packages for this very reason! It’s so much easier to build a rapport and get comfortable in front of the camera on a random Tuesday than on the morning of your wedding. Plus, your engagement photos just might turn out to be some of your favorite photos.

I know there is so much to do in preparation for a wedding, but if you take the time to find a photographer who truly fits you, your wedding photography can be a joy rather than a “to-do.”