Is a ‘first look’ right for my wedding day? | Mapping out your wedding day- Key factors and timeline options

The day is getting close, I know you’re so excited! But it all goes by so fast, so giving a little thought ahead of time to some specifics will go a long way in making sure that your day is not only how you’d like it to look, but also how you’d like it to feel. There is no wrong way to arrange your wedding day. Let it reflect you and your love, be true to who you are as a couple and make decisions together.

Having had the privilege of calling photographing so much love a job for over a decade, I’ve seen what seems to work for most couples and have created a sample timeline as well as some key factors to consider while planning your big day. Whether it’s an intimate affair or a grand soirée, the way your days feels matters. Those small, quiet, in between moments are yours to be savored and breathed in with calm excitement and intention. I’ll help guide you in think of a few things:

First look

If you’re anything like me, limelight has never been quite your color and then you add all of the emotion in the world on top of that and who knows what kind of fate is awaiting you when all eyes are on you during this very emotional walking-down-the-aisle moment!! Having a first look before the ceremony can help put some of those nerves to rest. Part of why you love your partner is knowing that you can lean on each other and that you’re in it together, right?

Couples have told me that they’re worried if they do a first look that it will make walking down the aisle less special. But in reality, it doesn’t diminish the sweetness and gravity of the walking down the aisle moment. If anything, if can give you a bit more time to process after seeing each other for the first time and take everything in, be present and with each other during the ceremony. 

The third reason is less emotional and a bit more practical: it helps the day flow smoothly. I’ve always felt bad as a photographer taking away my couple for over an hour knocking out family photos, bridal party photos and couples photos when they could be partying with their friends and family during the reception. First looks cut down on time spent away from your guests after the ceremony, so it’s “I do” and on to the party!

Ultimately, I want you to be true to who you are and have exactly what you’ve dreamed of for this important and ceremonious day. If you decide a ‘first look’ isn’t your style, that’s okay! I’m here to support you and tell your story with honesty and beauty, however that may look and feel.

Family photos

When doing family photos, think about what groupings you would like beforehand. Your photographer won’t know who is important and who may not vibe well within your family. Communication is key, as always. Give your photographer a list of names to call out, they may reorganize this list, but everyone you’d like included in formal family photos will definitely be photographed this way. Specify a time and place for family to be for photos, this will help things run smoothly and will get Uncle Harry back to cocktail hour just as quickly as possible.


When choosing a venue or location, think about how photogenic it is. Indoor or outside, think about lighting, think about how it makes you feel. It may be someplace sentimental that holds great value to you, it make be a beautifully window lit, indoor space equipped with greenery and exposed brick walls. If you’re planning an elopement and choosing to include some close family, consider your setting and how easy Grandma Jane may be able to make it up to that viewpoint on the hill.

Intimate elopement vs. big wedding? 

If you’re still unsure what kind of wedding you’ll be planning, the timeline I have outlined should hit some high points and be easily modified to fit the day that feels most like you. I am here fore any questions or help you may need. Utilize the (I will scout of locations and plan timing)

Ask for help

Consider using a wedding planner. Even if you’re planning a tiny, sweet elopement, using a coordinator can be a life saver. If that’s not the route you decide to go, I can’t tell you how important it is that you know when I’m involved in a wedding I am here to help, scout locations, time out hikes to ceremony sites for optimal lighting, do research on when/where the best lighting is going to be, help customize timelines, etc. We’re in this together.


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *