If you are planning a wedding you are quickly learning about all of the options, new trends and creative ways to plan your day.  Photography is not excluded from this! You can choose to have every moment of the day captured to just the highlights. The ‘standard’ has pretty much left the building and as a photographer I am cool with that. You should be able to design the day how you want, this is your love celebration!  One of the big questions, regarding the photography timeline, is whether or not to do a first look. A first look is when the couple decide to see each other prior to the marriage ceremony and is usually followed by the couple and the couple’s wedding party portrait session. Now as a photographer it is my job to hear you and listen to how you want the day to go and then give you information on what I am able to deliver with that desired schedule. If its limited variety I will be honest with you.  I say it all the time and I will say it again, this is your wedding day and not my day to take pictures.  As long as I am setting proper expectations that’s all that matters. Who am I to tell you to do one thing because it will be easier for pictures when you’ve been dreaming of doing something else? Yes, there are some logistical decision that if made one way will allow more time for photos, and I will inform you about that, but the ultimate decision is yours. 
The number one reason couples decide to do a first look is so that they can attend their cocktail hour. These situations mostly occur when all events (ceremony, cocktail hour, reception) happen at one location without any time lapsing between them. 
This can also occur if the ceremony is in another location but there is not much time between the end of the ceremony and the start to cocktail hour once you include travel. 
Lastly is plain old preference.  People are booking vendors early enough where they can take all this information and choose to do a first look so they are do not have to provide time in between the ceremony and reception. Also if you know want more time for portraits to visit multiple locations or to have more time to explore one location than a first look it is.
When it is decided to have a first look we create how its done together. I give you my advice on location and the how and then we create a special moment for the two of you.  This can be done in private or can be opened up for your family and wedding party to watch. 
With all this said if it has always been held in your heart to see your partner as you walk down the aisle, or watch them walk down the aisle towards you, then who am I to tell you not to?!?!? I want you to experience the day how you always imagined.  So keep this information in mind when scheduling your day and  make sure there is ample time between events for photos or see if your venue offers an extended cocktail hour. As your photographer I can definitely help you with all of this. 
Clients always ask what I did and for Russell and I a first look was best.  We got married on a beautiful farm that I really wanted to take advantage of.  We chose it for a reason! So not only did I want to have ample time for our portrait session we both really wanted to enjoy our cocktail hour at which time we were able to greet all of our guests.  This also allowed for us to spend more of the day together. That time before the ceremony was so special for us. With so much excitement going on during the reception it was hard to actually be with each other so I appreciated that ‘extra’ time. Plus we really wanted our dogs in some pictures and logistically it worked better for that too.
The most important thing to remember is to enjoy every minute, no matter how you structure the day. It goes fast. 


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