Wedding Wednesday Tips & Tricks | The First Look | Baltimore Maryland Wedding Photographer


Second Shot with Jennifer Simmons Photography I'm sure you've heard it by now from your girlfriends "Are you going to see him before the ceremony?" Perhaps you haven't given it much thought. Maybe you have and you are weighing the pros and cons of seeing your future husband and you don't know what you want to do. First things first: talk about it with your photographer and get their approach. Discuss your feelings and allow them to walk you through the process of what a First Look looks like in your wedding day schedule. Since wedding photographers write up your photography timeline, we have to know when things are going to happen in which order plus how much time is allotted for what element of the day. The first question a photographer will ask any couple is whether or not they plan to do a First Look as this will determine when we capture the 3 most important portraits of the day: Portraits with the Bride and Groom, wedding party portraits and formal family portraits. From there, we’ll work backwards from the ceremony start time to plan an ideal wedding day schedule. I've been able to be a part of many First Looks when I've assisted other photographers and man are they emotional. Some brides choose to not add it merely based on their own feelings and opinions on it when presented with the option to add it to their wedding day timeline. And it's okay if you don't want to have a First Look. There is nothing written in the Laws of Wedding Day Scheduling does it say you must do one. Photographers just know that you as the bride are getting all the feels about your wedding day. It's nerve wracking and you just want everything to be perfect. And it will be. Just take a breath and trust us to be your guide. And sometimes, when the nerves are running high, you just want to see your person because you know they will make everything alright and calm you down.

Second Shot with Mary Neumann Photography When it comes to discussing with your photographer about the timeline for your wedding, we know that a First Look comes with some portrait time, so we like to have a good amount of time to include portraits of you and your hubby-to-be-together. And we want to do this and be finished before 15-30 minutes the guests start arriving to get you both hidden away. Sometimes, we can manage to get bridal party portraits in after you and the groom see one another. And then we can save the formal family portraits for right after the ceremony. I am sure you want to be able to enjoy some if not most of cocktail hour, so the time you allow us to capture all those special moments prior to the ceremony, the more time you have to enjoy cocktail hour. You can see a sample timeline with and without a First Look a little bit later in the blog post.


Whether you opt not to do a First Look is completely your call. If you want to read letters to one another or pray together, that is just as special as a First Look. Or if you want to forego it completely, that's alright. Regardless of your decision, your wedding day will be amazing and special. Whether you see the groom cry before you walk down the aisle in some private time together or see him crying at the end of the aisle as you walk towards him, it will be special no matter what. Your photographer just needs to know ahead of time when discussing the wedding day schedule outline.

Second Shot with Jennifer Simmons Photography Below I have included some sample timelines with and without a First Look

8 HOURS OF WEDDING DAY COVERAGE

WITH A FIRST-LOOK


1:00 pm | Photographer arrives at the Bridal suite or getting ready location to capture the bride and bridesmaids getting ready * During this time the main photographer or the 2nd will also capture the final details of the groom and groomsmen getting ready 2:00 pm | Bride puts on the dress

2:30 pm | Bride & groom depart separately for first-look

2:45 pm | First-look and bride & groom photos

3:15 pm | Wedding party photos (bride & bridesmaids, groom & groomsmen, full wedding party)

4:00 pm | Family Photos

4:30 pm | Bride freshens up, gets tucked away from early arriving guests * photograph ceremony decor & candids of guests arriving

5:00 pm | Ceremony begins 5:30 pm | Ceremony ends and cocktail hour begins *photograph reception decor and signing of the marriage license, more family photos if needed

6:15 pm | Reception doors open

6:30 pm | Grand entrance of wedding party

6:40 pm | Bride & groom Enter and go into first dance 6:50 pm | Father-daughter dance

6:55 pm | Mother-son dance 7:00 pm | Speeches

7:15 pm | Dinner is served

8:00 pm | Sunset or nighttime photos of bride & groom

8:15 pm | Cake Cutting

8:15 pm | Dance Floor Opens

8:30 pm | Bouquet toss, garter toss, etc.

8:35 pm | Open dancing

9:00pm | Photography coverage ends

Things to keep in mind:

In this sample wedding day timeline with a first-look, you’ll notice that we’re able to get through the three major types of portraits all before the ceremony, leaving a more relaxed and flexible schedule after the ceremony. This allows the couple to make it to their cocktail hour if they choose, or begin the reception earlier so guests aren’t kept waiting. This also provides a buffer of time after the ceremony should something earlier in the day set the schedule behind. There’s now 30 to 60 minutes before the reception starts that can be used for photos (or anything else) if need be! This schedule allows adequate time for all portraits and ceremony as well as reception decor photos.


8 HOURS OF WEDDING DAY COVERAGE

WITHOUT A FIRST-LOOK

2:00 pm | Photographer arrives at the bridal suite or bride’s getting ready location to capture the bride and bridesmaids getting ready *During this time, I or a 2nd photographer will also capture final details of the groom & groomsmen getting ready

3:30 pm | Groom & groomsmen portraits 3:45 pm | Bride puts on the dress

4:15 pm | Bride & bridesmaids portraits

4:30 pm | Bride freshens up, gets tucked away from early arriving guests *photograph ceremony decor & reception decor 5:00 pm | Ceremony begins

5:30 pm | Ceremony ends

5:30 pm | Family photos as reception starts

5:45 pm | Wedding party photos

6:00 pm | Bride & groom photos

6:30 pm | Reception doors open

6:45 pm | Grand entrance of wedding party

6:55 pm | Bride and Groom Enter and go into First Dance 7:00 pm | Father-daughter dance 7:05 pm | Mother-son dance 7:15 pm |Speeches

7:15 pm | Dinner is served

8:05 pm | Cake Cutting

8:15 pm | Dance floor opens

8:30 pm | Sunset or nighttime photos of bride & groom

8:45 pm | Bouquet toss, garter toss, etc.

8:50 pm | Open dancing

10:00pm | Photography coverage ends

Things to keep in mind:

Without a first-look, the day can start a bit later, leaving more time for hair and make-up prior to the photographer’s arrival. However, there’s a bit more coordinating to do between groups to keep the bride and groom apart while getting the groom & groomsmen portraits as well as the bride & bridesmaids portraits crossed off the list. Following the ceremony, you’ll want to allot more time for portraits during the cocktail hour which you will more than likely not be apart of. This schedule allows adequate time for all portraits and time for ceremony and reception decor photos. And of course, without a first-look, the big reveal is saved for the altar. It is best to have all this planned out at least 4 weeks before your wedding day. It gives us time as photographers to plan ahead and send the timeline to our second shooter if need be. The more ahead of the game we are, the smoother the day will go. Just Breathe. Stay Calm. And Happy Planning! xo, Casi


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CASI DENTON PHOTOGRAPHY

weddings + families 

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