So this week I think I want to just touch base on one “find” that isn’t a thing, but ideas. Ideas themselves can possibly be the best “find” there is when shared with others. That said, after having attended numerous weddings, working with professionals that have been doing this for years and hearing what they have to say, and speaking with a ton of couples after their wedding day is over, I have a ton of ideas and thoughts on what a wedding day really, truly, looks like, as opposed to what it is thought it “ought” to be, and what couples are always told they “should” be.
Your wedding day is just that. YOURS and DAY are the two operative terms I’d like you to pay attention to here. It is your day, so make it as unique and awesome as you are! Don’t do things because they are expected of you by others, do them because you want to and it shows off who you are both as individuals and as a couple! Own it, make it all about the two of you, because it is! I am sensitive to the fact that many couples have family and friends that may contribute to the wedding day financially, so here is your first tip… A great way to allow them to make their desired contribution and still keep the decision making under control, get a bank account or savings that is ONLY for your wedding. If everyone is wanting to chip in, they put the money in the account for you to use as needed. That way no one can argue over what kind of cake you are getting because “they” paid for it…
The second part of this idea is that it is your DAY. That’s right, a wedding is not just a few hours and boom you are done. It is ALL day long, and if done well, it will be a long day. A concept that, in American society, seems to be lost in translation… Why does everyone rush through it all so very fast? Remember to slow down, take your time, enjoy it, remember it… How do you do that? Well the first rule of thumb is to plan ahead what a rough time line will be for your day, then add lots of “cushion” time. If you have a coordinator, talk with them about it, if not, often times your photographer can be a huge help – yes I said it, your photographer. I work on this with every couple, and some take the advice and have an amazing and relaxing day, and others do not, and it is still beautiful, but usually very hectic, rushed, and stressful.
Keep in mind that lace up gown you got, when put in the hands of your mother, or maid of honor to lace up on your wedding day, takes up to twenty minutes to get into… Time you planned on that one little “event” usually about five minutes… Time you are now behind, fifteen… Time it takes to get your hair and makeup done, est comes from the salon, an hour, reality is it often runs up to two depending on if it is just you or your whole wedding party… Especially if you are not happy with how the first run turned out (things happen if you went in for a “trial run” earlier on). Time you planned on being out of the salon, 2pm, time you really are out of the salon, 245, time you’ve lost, 45 minutes… You see how this often adds up. And I see it time and time again. So add in that cushion time! When it comes down to it and you are walking down the isle, you’ll be there on time and relaxed!
One thing that couples often don’t plan in the time line is sufficient time for photos. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit there and pose for photos the entire day, on the contrary, my style is to do as little posing on a wedding day as possible. But you still need to allow time for the posed shots, and have fun while doing it, instead of stressing out over how much time you have or don’t have. Want those amazing bridal shots, and some awesome photos of you and your groom, those take time, and the number one best way to get that time in is to do a first look. Don’t care to do one? That’s is fine, but then you need to make that time after your ceremony to do them. Either way, the one thing that couples often don’t consider is that the best way to do these shots is before you walk down the isle (even if you are not doing a first look). All wedding party shots, family shots, etc, can be done well in advance to the ceremony, and you can have plenty of time after these photos to relax, touch up your makeup, get off your feet, and chill with your wedding party and THEN go to the ceremony.
Not only does this allow time for concentrating on the fun things later on (as most all photos after the “formals” are done are all candids) but it allows for your formal shots to be taken in beautiful light. There is a difference in what sort of photos you get at the end of the day based on how much time you allot for them. Of course, I showcase my favorite photos, if you notice, most all of them are done in what photographers call “natural light.” I just think they are the most stunning, gorgeous photos you can get, and a lot of photographers agree. Getting married at 5pm in the Fall? You aren’t going to have many, if any, natural light photos after your ceremony. Can we still do them? Of course, that is what flash is for, but it isn’t the same look, and it is the look you most likely hired me for and expect.
So what is a First Look? It is when the Bride and Groom take a special, private moment before the ceremony to see one another. Before I loose all the traditionalist out there that believe in superstition, hear me out. The tradition of not seeing one another before the ceremony stems from the era where arranged marriages were the standard, and the bride and groom often didn’t lay eyes on one another prior to the wedding day at all. Parents that arranged the marriage didn’t want the parties getting married to skip out of town because they were not attracted to their future spouse. Something, one would hope, you and your spouse to be have no issue with!
How does a First Look work? After you are both all dressed for the day and ready to go, we go to a location of your choice. Imagine it, you are in a beautiful setting, alone (well virtually, I’ll be there of course, but out of the way) with your husband to be standing over there, his back to you… You walk up behind him, nervous, but glowing, absolutely gorgeous… and you place your hand on his shoulder. He turns around, and wow is he so very handsome, and his reaction to you? He is most likely to do any number of things, hug you, cry, kiss you, whatever you guys want to do in this moment, you can because you don’t have to turn to your officiant right now, you don’t have 300 guests eyes on you, and you have time to do whatever you like! What would you do?
You spend as much time as you want, talk, laugh, cry, kiss… whatever you feel in that moment, and then whenever you are ready, you let me know and we go take those stunning photos of the two of you before your ceremony. Then we take photos of you with your bridal party, then your family, then you can relax, do your touch ups, grab a drink and put your feet up. You are laughing and having a great time, relaxed, and much less nervous than before. Now you are ready to walk down the isle. And after talking with so many brides that choose to go this route, they all say one thing. They wouldn’t have done the day any differently, in fact, it made it even more special walking down the isle because they could concentrate on the emotions at hand, the things going on around them, instead of being a ball of nerves the entire time! Not to mention, it is often the only time you will get to be alone together all day!
Do you have to do a first look? Nope. But even if you don’t remember to plan, plan, plan, that time line… and take all day for your wedding, don’t rush things, enjoy it. If you need help, that’s what I’m here for!Happy planning!