Things To Consider For Your Wedding Day
Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to either photograph or be a part of over 100 weddings. I have seen a lot and there are very few things that come as a surprise to me. However, this is not the case for most couples, who may only see a few in their lifetime. Below, I have compiled some of the most important things from a photographer’s perspective to consider when planning your wedding day.
The “First Look”
The first look is the part of the wedding day when the groom gets to see the bride for the first time in her wedding dress. It is one of the most special moments of the wedding day for many couples who decide to have one. The bride has spent the last few hours having her makeup and hair manicured to perfection. She has planned for this moment carefully; choosing her dress, picking out her hair style and makeup, and planning exactly how she wants to look when her soon-to-be husband gets to see her for the first time.
In regards to couples and a first look, there are three categories: those who want to have a first look, those who are uncertain one way or the other, and those who want to stick to the tradition of not seeing each other till the ceremony, no questions asked.
Regardless of where you fall within these categories, let me explain three reasons why I believe every couple should have a first look and alternatives if you still do not wish to do so.
Other than the obvious reason of getting to see each other for the first time, the thing I hear most from couples who decided to have a first look is that they loved the time they got to actually spend together “alone”. It is very rare on your wedding day that you actually get one- on-one time alone together to just talk and enjoy each other’s company. having a first look allows for you to do just that. You get to express nerves about the wedding day or laugh at mishaps or things that happened earlier that day.
Next, one of the most common arguments I hear from brides who do not want a first look is that they are worried that “the first look may ruin the reaction they might receive from the groom as he sees her for the first time walking down the aisle”. Let me tell you that it is simply not the case. Regardless of whether you have a first look or not, I assure you that if there will be a “reaction” of any kind, it will happen at this time. Guys who shed tears during the first look do so as the bride walks down the aisle or during their vows. Never have I seen a reaction at the first look followed by little to no reaction at the ceremony.
Lastly, on a more practical side, having a first look allows for more photos pre-ceremony than you would have without one. Those who do not have a first look do not have a “portrait session” and have to rely on the “sunset photos” for amazing photos. When asked, many couples say that their favorite photos come from the couple’s portrait session or the sunset photos so getting both options is clearly optimal. By not having a first look, you will also have to wait till after the ceremony for family photos and bridal party photos with both sides all together. Though I do this often enough, getting all photos taken care of before the ceremony is always optimal and tends to be the most smooth option.
If you are still set on not seeing each other, that is completely fine! I do have one other option that is very popular and still makes for great photos. Often times I will set couples just around the corner of a building from each other or on the other side of some kind of object. Then they can still talk and even touch hands around the corner but do not actually see each other. This is a great alternative and I am always happy when couples wish to do so.
The Second “First Look”
Wait, there is a first look AND a second? Is this a joke? No, I assure you, it is becoming more and more popular for brides to have a first look with their fathers or with someone who they cherish. Just like the first look with the groom, it can result in some amazing reactions and a great moment. There really are few reasons why you should not have one.
Side note: if you do choose to have one, it is VERY important to let the individual know you do not want to see them until this point in time so that they do not wander or see you beforehand!
The “Unplugged Ceremony”
The unplugged ceremony may be the best choice you will make for your ceremony. The #1 enemy to all wedding photographers during the ceremony are unplanned “paparazzi’s.” There are countless stories of people jumping into the aisle during the first kiss to get a quick shot with their phones or cameras only to block the wedding photographer from getting the shot they need (and you want). It can be distracting to the couple to have people taking photos and, let’s be honest, people holding up cameras above the crowd or in the aisle never looks great in the final product you receive from your wedding photographer.
If you choose to go “unplugged”, simply ask your officiant to make an announcement at the beginning of the ceremony to turn off all phones and refrain from taking photos as the wedding photographer has it covered.
Side note: people don’t often read signs if that is all you rely on to make the announcement so it is best to ask the officiant to announce it.
The Bane of All Wedding Schedules
Not every wedding photographer writes schedules for their brides but any photographer would say that there are two specific times during the day that sets couples behind: family photos and “prep time” (time spent getting ready).
Family photos are something that, for the most part, are outside of the control of the couple and photographer. The photographer should communicate with the couple on when family photos will take place and they should let the family know when that is and to be there ON TIME; however, beyond that, it is up to the family to show up as scheduled.
Prep time is one of the largest contributors to getting behind in your schedule. Your wedding photographer should let you know when you need to be ready by and then it is up to you to let your hair-stylist and make-up artist know when the cutoff is so they can finish in that time-frame. If you, one of your friends, or a family member is doing your make-up and hair, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you do a run-through a week or so in advance to see how long it will take. Do your make-up and hair just like you will for your wedding day and time how long it takes so you know when to start to get done on time.
He Unfortunate Fact That Something May (and Most Likely Will) Go Unplanned
Unfortunately, this is a matter of “when” not “if”. It is important for brides to accept that something, whether large or small, will go unplanned on their wedding day; and I have seen too many brides loose their happiness over something going wrong. Honestly, it really comes down to two things: expectations and reality.
First off, your expectations. You should expect your day to be amazing, I would not argue otherwise. However, as the saying goes, “do not let the idea of perfection ruin something wonderful.” This is so true on your wedding day. I would encourage you to accept the fact that something will probably go unplanned on your wedding day. The best way to get around things that may have been forgotten, missed, or just gone unplanned are to either move on and forget about it or delegate. The worst thing you could do is let it get to your head or effect your special day.
Second, and honestly the most important reality of the entire day is that you are getting married to the LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. You have chosen your partner and are committing yourself to them and that is truly what this day is about. I believe that if you keep this at the front of your mind, nothing that happens unexpectedly will taint your happiness. Don’t let your idea of your wedding day get in the way of your actual wedding day.