Seeing the bride before the ceremony used to mean that the marriage was on a rocky path even before it started.  This superstition dates back to the time of arranged marriages, when people believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony, it would give them a chance to change their minds about the wedding. Today, however, I see about a 70/30 split with my couples  that choose to do a First Look for their wedding.  There are Pros and Cons in both situations.

Pro First Look

  • It will probably be the most romantic and intimate moment that you will have all day as a couple.  Those 10-15 minutes that you will share together will more than likely be your favorite part of the day for you. First Look
  • Having a first look alleviates a lot of the wedding day nerves and allows you to be more relaxed for the ceremony and for the rest of the wedding day.  You can then focus on the wedding ceremony rather than spending the pre ceremony time trying to stay out of each other’s line of sight.
  • If you want to take part in your cocktail hour, a First Look can help you do that.  Having a first look means that you can have a majority, if not all of your pictures done before the ceremony.  Having the pictures done of you and your groom, as well as your bridal party before the ceremony also insures that you will look your best rather than waiting until later in the day.   Also, you usually end up with more pictures together with your Groom, because you typically have more time together.
  • The time of your ceremony  can also be a consideration when you do a first look.  It’s important to build a timeline for your wedding day with your photographer to make sure you not only have enough time allotted for your pictures but also the best time to have those images taken.  If your ceremony starts later in the day, having a first look can mean the difference of having good light for your images, versus trying to take images in the dark.

 

Pro Traditional

  • One of the biggest reason I hear from brides that still want to go the traditional route and not see their groom until the ceremony is they want that big reveal.  The idea of the stepping up to the aisle and seeing your groom waiting for you on the other end can be a magical experience.Baltimore Bride walking down the aisle
  • Traditions are sometimes hard to let go.   They have been around a long time for a reason, and sometimes the breaking of tradition can sometimes be problematic with family members.   Sometimes the breaking of a tradition is great, but for some people the traditions that go along with your wedding day are sacred and shouldn’t be messed with.
  • All your pre-ceremony pictures will not have one important element in them, your wedding bands.  This is something that most people don’t think about when they choose to do pictures before the ceremony.  Granted, it would probably be hard to notice in most of your images if you don’t have your wedding bands on, but to some people, not having those wedding rings in your wedding pictures is a big deal.

Alternatives

  • The idea of a first look doesn’t always have to be with the groom.   Having a first look reveal with the Father of the Bride is a great alternative.  The moment is still packed with the emotion of Dad seeing his little girl in her dress for the first time.  This allows you to have that intimate moment of a first look, yet still keep the excitement of seeing your groom as you walk down the aisle for the first time.
  • Another alternative is to have your groom blindfolded during the first look.  That way you can have that intimate moment with each other without having the big reveal before the ceremony.

Ultimately, deciding on whether you should or should not have a first look is between you and your Groom.  It’s definitely something you should talk to your photographer about so that they can advise you on your options  and how it can impact your images and your wedding day timeline.   Any experienced photographer will be able to work with whatever you decide.

Your wedding cake is one of the first things in your wedding that quickly disappears. Considering how amazing some of today’s wedding cakes are, wouldn’t it be great to find a way to preserve the memory of yours for years to come?  The tradition of newlyweds keeping a part of their wedding cake has been elevated to a new level by Aberrant Ornaments.  They have come up with the perfect solution.  You send them pictures of your wedding cake and they produce a handmade mini replica of it.  It’s such a great way to capture the beauty of your wedding cake beyond just the day of your wedding.  Below is an example of one of their mini cake creations from their website. Aberrant Ornaments cake ornaments

Let’s face it, choosing a wedding photographer is probably one of the most daunting decision an engaged couple will have to make during the wedding planning process.  With so many options out there, it’s difficult to know how to narrow down the choices to find the perfect one for you.  I compiled some tips to help guide you towards finding a wedding photographer that not only fits your needs but will provide you the amazing images that you are looking for.  

Personality is key

On your wedding day, the one person that will be by your side from the beginning of the day, till the end of the night is your photographer.  Now, imagine that photographer is someone you don’t really care for.    If you don’t feel comfortable with your photographer, then chances are your pictures will reflect that.  The best way to get a sense of a photographer’s personality is to have an in-person meeting before you book.  Not only will this meeting give you a chance to meet face to face, it will allow to get to know each other and make sure you’ll be a good fit for each other.

Style

Make sure that the photographer that you choose shoots in a style that you love.  If you like vibrant colors and dramatic B&W images and choose a photographer that has a portfolio full of light and airy images, chances are you will not be happy with your final images.  When looking at a photographer’s portfolio, think of it as a preview to what your images may look like.

Another aspect of style to consider is whether you are looking for a more traditional ( more posing than candid shots) or contemporary ( more candid than posed shots) look to your images.  A great way to find out what style your photographer has is to ask them “What is your approach to shooting a wedding?”  Woodlawn Manor Red Barn

 

There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

This is more than likely the first time you are going through the wedding planning process, so you are going to have a lot of questions and that is totally fine.  So make sure you find a photographer that will take the time to answer those questions for you, and help walk you through the wedding process.  Planning a wedding is complicated and expensive, and a photographer that is an expert in their field will be there to help guide you through the process of planning your photography. This includes building a timeline for your wedding day that will allow for enough time to get the images you want and help your day run smoothly.

More than just Files

When you are reviewing a photographer’s packages, the first thing  you should look for is do you get more than just your digital files.  While digital files are great, and are a necessity for archiving your wedding images, they should not be the only product you receive after your wedding is over.  A wedding album is a must have.  Not only does it tell the story of your wedding day, there is nothing like holding your beautiful handmade and  professionally designed wedding album in your hands and sitting down with your friends and family to relive your day through the album.  There are so many stories of couples that only received digital files from their wedding and have never printed a single image.  The advancement of technology, you can rest assured that your wedding album will never go out of date.

Engagement ring with Scrabble letters

Rain or Shine

When it comes to weddings, the weather, the environment and the lighting can sometimes be very unpredictable.  It’s essential that your photographer be able to work in less than ideal conditions and be able to easily accommodate any unplanned changes.  Not many brides look forward to rain on their wedding day, but unfortunately it happens and your photographer should be able to work around or even with the rain (depending on how daring he/she is).  If you are having a wedding at night and are looking at a photographer’s portfolio full of only bright, sunny images, you want to make sure to ask that photographer how they handle low light conditions that are usually present during a reception or evening wedding.    The last thing you want is dark, blurry photos by a photographer that is not experienced with different lighting techniques.

Price and Budget

Although price should not be the first thing you look for in a wedding photographer it obviously plays a substantial roll in choosing your photographer.    Every wedding couple has a budget and if your wedding photography is really important to you it will probably take up a good chunk of that budget.  A good way to make the most of your budget is to find a wedding photographer that offers packages rather than just an A La Carte selection.  Most photographers’ packages are bundled together to help offer couples more savings and a better value.    Another tip is to ask if the photographer has a payment plan that will allow you to break up your payments into smaller, more manageable chunks.

The Whole Story

Before booking your wedding photographer, it is important to see a few full weddings they have shot, not just highlight images.   This leads to the other advantage of an in person meeting, because this is usually the time that most photographers will introduce their albums to you and allow you to see a full wedding.  This will give you a chance  to see how the photographer tells the story of a wedding day.   This will also give you another opportunity to look at their style and see how they captured the wedding day.