First Look, Day After, or After Ceremony?

With so many brides and grooms wanting to spare their guests the wait while their photographs are taken after the ceremony, there are always requests to speed the photography along accompanied with a realization that all those photographs they want simply take time. A tricky situation, but we have some thoughts that might help…

There are usually three things that you want:

1. “We want lots of gorgeous photos and especially portraits of just the two of us, preferably in several different locations.”
2. “We want the first time we see each other to be when I’m walking down the aisle.”
3. “We don’t want our guests to have to wait a long time for us at the reception.”
(let’s assume for the sake of argument a long time=over an hour.)

Realistically, you can pick two out of three things you’d like or get creative to make up for the other one. Read on to hear how we help our clients figure out what works best for them.

1. You can avoid seeing each other before the ceremony and have lots of amazing photos afterward, but your guests will have to wait a little while for you to get there, or you’ll need to skip out on some of the reception in the middle of it.
possible solutions: cocktail hour; entertainment at the reception; have both ceremony and reception at the same site to cut down on time traveling between the two; if you’re having a mid-day wedding, take some photos toward the end of the reception or afterward (great chance to catch sunset!); sneak out while everyone else is still working on their meal and grab some more photos then.
cons: extra costs of cocktail hour or entertainment; missing out on parts of your reception; hair and make-up not looking so hot after most of the reception for the later photos.

Here are some of Julie & Richard’s portraits that were taken here and there before & during the reception.

2. You can see each other first at the ceremony and get to your reception on time, but you won’t have a chance to do many photos and you may feel rushed.
possible solutions: pick a ceremony site that you can also have the reception at with a lot of variety in shooting locations, giving you the most opportunity in the most compact time and space, have a {day after} session and get dressed up in your duds again for some photos before you jet off your honeymoon; have a {days after} session – when you’re back from your honeymoon, get dressed in your duds again (maybe even funk it up and wear something different) and gallavant around multiple fun locations to capture those shots.
cons: possibly paying for hair, make-up, and tux rental again, added cost of extra photography

Here are Dan & Sereen’s {days after} portraits. Sereen changed up her hair and jewelry and Dan had a few wardrobe changes to change up the feel of the photos. They were able to do their shots in Waldo, which expressed another part of their personalities.

3. You can get lots of photos and make it to the reception on time but you’ll have to see each other before the ceremony.
possible solutions: a {first look} session – make it your own, plan it out ahead of time or be spontaneous. pick a lovely location and have the groom waiting with his back turned and the bride come in, announce herself or tap him on the shoulder while the photographers shoot with a long lens to capture this beautiful, private moment between the two of you. Alternately, you can set it up with family and friends looking on if you still want the moment to be shared with your loved ones. We’ll be shooting this way at our next wedding & we’ll add photos to this post, so check back with us in mid-November! Either way, after the first look, you can get on with the romantic shots with the two of you, take bridal party shots, and maybe some family photos, provided you have informed them that you’d like them ready early.
cons: breaking a tradition.

here is Marion & Russ’ {first look}

What do you think about these ideas? Do you see any more drawbacks? What are you going to do if you’re getting married? What did you do and how did it work out?

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