Welcome back to our series of posts geared towards helping you craft your timeline, from start to finish! This week, we’re jumping off from “getting ready” to the best part! The first time you see your best friend!!
When it comes to the battle of the first look vs. the aisle reveal…
I’m going to give it to you straight. As wedding photographers and as a couple, we are huge proponents of a first look. There are about a million reasons technically why it makes a more logical schedule for a wedding day. There’s the way the light will be. The way we can effectively fit our coverage into your schedule. We’ll get into a few of those million, at least when it comes to how it affects you! Especially when it comes to your timeline, because that’s what this series is all about! For now let’s start with the most obvious way a first look can improve your day:
01. It will calm your nerves.
I’m sure you’ve heard this so many times. And that’s because it’s true.
Without a first look, the anticipation inevitably builds throughout the day. And so do your nerves.
And they build, and they build, and they build.
And sometimes they can turn to anxiety, or high expectations, or other feelings that can lead to stress.
When you cut the day with a first look in the middle, you only have nerves to build for the first few hours of the day. And from what we’ve usually seen, things are so busy in the morning! The nerves don’t really kick in until the moment before the first look.
You get to spend your getting ready time getting pumped with your bridesmaids, knowing that in just a few hours you’ll get to see your best friend – your husband to be.
This leaves no time for that excitement to build up and morph into anxiety and stress. You know this monumental moment will come early in the day, so you literally don’t have time to worry! Once you see each other, all the other stress or small issues from the day melt away into nothing, because this much anticipated moment is behind you.
02. You’ll Get More Family Time:
After your first look, it’s going to be time for family formals. I’m planning on doing a separate post on that because it’s a whole other ball game. It’s super important for us to be able to provide those meaningful, traditional family formals.
Post-ceremony, this can be a rushed experience. People are ready to get to the cocktail hour or reception, or they’re antsy after sitting for a while. A first look allows family formals to get done pre-ceremony!
This provides a time where everyone is more relaxed. It can create a more genuine atmosphere for those sweet portraits. And you get to spend a little extra time with your family!
03. Downtime is Included
Here are one of those million reasons we love a first look! 🙂
From a vendor’s perspective, this may be the most compelling reason. A first look early in the day allows us to group the two of you together for family formals and bridal party portraits. So we won’t have to be sneaking around all morning trying to hide you two from each other!
And you’re free to tackle the less sentimental things, like speaking with the officiant side by side!
A traditional aisle reveal wedding timeline is very tight. There’s almost no wiggle room. But with a first look, it becomes easy to add cushion time. If you’re running early or late, we always have buffer time around the First Look. This is to ensure that your day continues to run as smoothly as possible.
It also means you’ll have a moment to breathe with your best friend if things get too stressful.
We have yet to have a timeline run really off-track when they had a first look built in – that says something about how impactful they can be logistically!
04. Surprise Gift to Your Bridal Party:
Depending on how many weddings your bridal party has been in, they may have certain expectations for photos post-ceremony. And it’s possible they’re not looking forward to it.
Imagine getting to say “Surprise, you’re done! No more photos. Your only job for the rest of the day is to have as much fun as possible!”
The cocktail hour is a little trick that really just adds a buffer between ceremony and reception. Your bridal party, even if they know what’s going on will still be surprised when they’re done with photos. You might have a notion that it’s something you won’t get to really be a part of.
But what if I told you…you could join your own cocktail hour!
That means you could start greeting people early and not have to walk around each table. Which just gets you on the dance floor earlier, and that, my friend, is the end goal.
05. The Emotional Angle
It’s time to get all sentimental, y’all.
Your wedding day is going to be a complex events with hundreds of constantly moving pieces.
There will be a million things on your mind from the start of the day all the way through.
And there are so many logistical (i.e.: not as romantic) parts of your ceremony, no matter how you do it. It’s so easily possible that your big “moment” can sometimes not happen.
For your groom, there can be a lot of pressure for that ‘aisle reveal’. Your friends and family (including that cousin you haven’t talked to in years) will be watching him closely.
But imagine that you’ve already seen your groom earlier that day. And you got to hug him. And ask him how his morning has been. And vent about how your mom is driving you crazy.
This is your best friend. Who knows you, loves you, and knows how to give you the support you need on this crazy day.
Taking a moment alone for your first look might be the only alone time you get the entire day.
And now imagine walking down the aisle. Locking eyes with him, and knowing that y’all got this. And that you’re in this together.
Now that you know the why to First Look
Here are the logistics of how it should fit into your timeline, leading up to the ceremony! At this point in the day, you are in your dress, ready to go.
Walk to First Look location: 5 minutes
First Look! : 10 MINUTEs
Bride & Groom Portraits: 30 MINUTES
All Wedding Party Portraits: 45 minutes
Family Formals: 30 minutes
Bride & Groom in Hiding: 30 minutes
TOTAL First Look & Portrait TIME: 2.5 HOURS
Pro Tip: After last week’s post on getting ready, you can figure this out two ways.
If you have a ceremony time you want to stick to – Simply subtract 4.5 hours and you have your photography coverage start time!
If you have the time hair and make up will be complete – Add 3.5 hours and you have your ceremony time!
Next week we’ll dive into the sometimes crazy mess that is family formals. How to prep your family, what to expect, and how to fit it into your timeline! Tune in next Wednesday to see!