I always have couples asking me if they should do a first look on their wedding day. If you are unsure what a first look is it's when a bride and groom see each other before the ceremony. You get to meet in a private location and have an intimate moment with your significant other It sometimes creates for more emotional images as a groom may not be embarrassed to shed a tear alone in front of his wife whereas at the church he may try to hold his tears in so he doesn’t get embarrassed. It is also a time when the bride and groom can calm their nerves too and enjoy the rest of the day. An easier way to answer the question to have a first look or not is do you want to stay as traditional as possible or not? It really is a personal preference in the end. One great thing about having the first look is with my clients first looks usually last around 15-20 minutes with just the bride and groom and we end up creating some amazing images as both the bride and groom are on cloud nine with seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day. Once we are done with just the bride and groom then usually wedding party and family will come along to do their photos. If you end up doing this route and taking all your pictures before the ceremony it in the end allows you to enjoy the rest of your day with your guests and socialize with everyone else who is important in your life. While you are doing this we are going around taking photos of you hanging out with old friends or doing details of the cocktail hour and every other detail that is important on your wedding day.
Picture lists are a huge part of ensuring that what you want documented gets documented. I send my clients two forms to fill out. The first form is a family picture list which is straight forward and lets me know which family members will be in what photos. When it comes time to the family photo portion of the wedding day I only allocate 30 minutes for these photos. If there are 10 photos on your list and we only get through 6 in 30 minutes I highly recommend we stop taking the family photos and finish them during a down time in dinner. Family photos are important no doubt about it, but so are the portraits of the bride and groom that will hang in their living room or in their bedroom for the rest of their marriage. It’s best to try and find a balance with how many family images are appropriate. Discussing this with your photographer will definitely help and they can make suggestions on the best paths to take.
The second picture list is called the significant photo list. This list is what helps make your wedding “yours” versus just another wedding that is photographed. This list includes details that have family ties for images. An examples of this is maybe the bride has her mom’s veil wrapped around her bouquet or maybe the groom is using the same tie that his dad wore on his wedding day. Knowing more about the photos that connect with your family and the story behind them will help me take a photograph in a way that represents the meaning behind it as well.
A detailed generalized timeline that everyone can relate to
Having a detailed timeline of your wedding day so all parties involved can look at is very important. Some previous brides of mine created a timeline with addresses, phone numbers, times when the florist was coming to set up, when the photographer would arrive, when the last shuttle was coming to pick up the wedding guests etc. Having a timeline with ALL times and ALL vendor involvement ensures everyone knows what everyone is doing.
First Aid Kit also known as a survival kit for wedding days
Having things such as bandaids , a sewing kit with thread thats white and also a thread color that matches the bridesmaids dresses and grooms attire is important. Other things to include are umbrellas, deodorant, hairspray, tylenol for headaches and snacks so you don’t get hungry.
If you are having your wedding photographs taken at a location that needs a permit make sure you have a hard copy on file so if you have to show it to an employee at the property you won't have any issues.
For the groom and groomsmen
I highly suggest bringing another dress shirt on the wedding day. If it is summer weather you may sweat a lot resulting in your dress shirt showing perspiration. I suggest freshening up and changing before the reception starts so you know you’re good for the rest of the night.
Hire a wedding planner for either day of planning or full planning.
A wedding planner knows the ins and outs of a wedding and knows exactly what to do if something goes wrong.