When we meet with our prospective clients, we ask them about the vision of their big day and if they have considered the idea of a “first look”. While we can certainly make a wedding day shot list work without one, we do enjoy when clients opt for the first look experience. Working a first look into the wedding day timeline has a few advantages. It allows the couple to get their personal photos done and out of the way so they can be apart of some or all of their cocktail hour. It can also allow the couple to spend more time together on their best day ever! Additionally, it gives Sarah more time with them to explore the venue and make creative images. So, if you are thinking of choosing a first look, we would recommend planning at least 30 minutes for family photos (more if you have an extensive list for photos), 30 to 40 minutes for creative and formal wedding party photos, and at least 30 to 40 minutes for a first look, including a mini session with the couple. Two hours would be the ideal time allotment for completing these 3 sets of photos before the ceremony. Some people chose to modify this timeline a bit and do just the first look along with their mini session and wedding party beforehand and family photos after the ceremony, which is also a great way to lay out your photography timeline.
With that being said, this brings us to the fourth installment of our Winter Series! When clients opt for the first look experience, they are choosing to see each other before their ceremony. By doing so, this may allow for a combination of things – shaking some jitters (you’re about to see everyone you love in one room!), allowing more time for the lovebirds to be side by side on their big day, and/or providing a more relaxed or ample timeline for photography.
We’ve chosen a few first looks from our 2016 season to briefly explain how we provide a special first look experience for clients that choose to incorporate one!
First, we have Caitlin & Tom‘s first look. Jenn spent the morning with Tom and his guys documenting their experience as Sarah and Wesley did so for Caitlin. Tom got ready right at the wedding venue, so at one of our pre-wedding day meetings, we all decided the best place for the first look would be the Everson Museum – right across the street from the wedding venue, The Oncenter. Once the men were ready, they met on the courtyard side of the museum to wait. Jenn and Sarah communicated their whereabouts to each other to ensure the love birds would not get a glimpse of each other too soon. Once Tom, Sarah & Jenn were in place, Wesley instructed Caitlin to walk up to her soon to be husband… This is what happened next:
Next, is Stephanie & Alan‘s Lake Placid first look experience. Sarah and Wesley met Stephanie at her hotel room, while Jenn met up with Alan and his fellas at a condo near by. Once the guys were ready, they graciously drove Jenn to the First Look location. While they waited for the ladies, Jenn grabbed some shots of the guys and Alan with his parents. Once Stephanie arrived with Sarah & Wesley, we communicated via phone call to make sure Stephanie was in place without Alan seeing her. Then we got Alan in place, his back to the corner where Stephanie stood, and Sarah gave Stephanie the go ahead to allow this to happen:
We had planned to photograph Heather & Matt‘s first look at her father’s golf course, but the weather would not cooperate. Heather was getting ready at the wedding ceremony location, DoubleTree Inn, so Matt, his guys, and Jenn decided to head there instead of the golf course. While the guys had a drink in the bar, Sarah, Jenn & Wesley scoped the hotel for a photogenic area to do the first look. Once we found a nice corner, we placed Matt against the wall so he would not see Heather approaching. Sarah then instructed Heather to pause as she approached to allow her to grasp Matt’s hand before seeing each other; at this point, they exchanged letters to each other and the rest unfolded as such:
Finally, we have Kalee & John‘s first look experience at Hayloft on the Arch. While the weather didn’t cooperate for the outdoor ceremony they had planned, but it did give us a lovely hazy break so they could at least have their first look outdoors. After Sarah and Wesley moved about a million chairs (anything for the shot!! [We all put them back after – phew!]), Sarah placed John at the arch with his back facing the venue. Kalee was escorted down the stairs by her mom, which was so sweet. Once she was close enough to touch John, Sarah asked Kalee to pause and instructed John to turn to look at her:
After the first look experience, we have time to photograph the couple together in various settings and alone for formal portraits. Sometimes we even have time to photograph the bridal party and family! Once these things are complete, it allows for the couple to go into their ceremony with a lot accomplished and a lot of fun to look forward to experiencing!