All The Details
RINGS, SHOES, JEWELS… The whole day begins with the DETAILS! This is one of my favorite parts of the wedding day because it allows me to prepare and get my creative side warmed up for the rest of the day. I photograph a bride’s details in a way that matches and showcases the style of the entire wedding day. So, in some ways, the details set the stage for the look of the whole wedding and I love having ample time to stylize and shoot everything from the dress to the jewelry to grandma’s handkerchief! Below you’ll find a list of the most common details that I shoot. I ask brides (or delegate to your M.O.H) to gather any details they have before I arrive so that I can walk in, say hello, give you a huge hug and then begin with all the goodies!
(Please assure Mama that I will take GREAT care of the dress, I promise!)
There is love in the details.
Wedding days are WILD because so much time, thought, energy (& let’s be honest, MONEY) go into planning and considering all of the unique and special details that work together to make the day. The following is some advice that I’ve noticed from photographing 25+ weddings about what details to pay special attention to, and how to know when it is time to delegate, rest and enjoy your one and only wedding day.
Some of the most meaningful and memorable details on a wedding day are all of the little things that might not have been intentionally planned and require special attention to take in and enjoy. Things like waking up next to your sister on your last sleepover as a single lady. Your mom’s emotion as she helps you into your wedding dress. The joy and jokes of getting ready with your most beloved chosen friends and family the morning of your wedding day. The nervous and excited butterflies that you feel when you think of joining together at the altar and committing to a lifetime together. You’ll spend many months planning it all, remind yourself throughout the day to be intentional about taking moments here and there to take it all in.
Sometimes, depending on the theme and "look" of the wedding day, there may be some extra elements that you could include when you gather your details. For example, if you're styling your tables with eucalyptus, save a small piece of for me to use when I'm shooting your rings and jewelry. This REALLY makes for beautiful, consistent album spreads!
If possible, collect all of your details before I arrive so that I can begin quickly and have more time for some "getting ready" shots of you and your girls! An easy place to collect these items is a shoe box.
KEEP ALL THREE RINGS.
The most common detail missing when I arrive are the rings! Moms, officiants and planners will tell you to hand over your wedding band to the best man before the day begins. However, it's actually better to hand it over during the bridal party portraits so that I can shoot some great ring shots in the AM!
BRING THE BOQUET
Don't forget the bouquet! Have the bouquets and bouts delivered to the bride before the first look so that she can have her bouquet in her portraits. No worries, if it's hot, we'll be sure to keep it in water as much as possible before the ceremony!
All About A First Look
Your first look is an amazing part of your wedding day! If you aren't sure about this tradition, the next few pages will explain why it would be a romantic addition to your wedding day celebration that not only adds to the experience but also reduces stress. Please know that I would never want any of my couples to feel pressured to go with this option, and I will support you a hundred and fifty percent with whatever direction you decide to go. However, I do want to make sure that I share all of the benefits of a first look because there is a reason 75% of my coupes do it and LOVE it!
THE FIRST LOOK EXPLAINED:
I have confessed my deep love for “First Looks” numerous times, and there is a reason for this. They’re AWESOME. However, not everyone is aware of how awesome they are because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off. I can understand those bride’s position. I understand wanting a huge reaction… wanting your husband to be so surprised and overcome with joy when you walk down the aisle that he’ll bawl at the first sight of you! Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction? Luckily, I’ve seen many times that brides can have the best of both worlds because a first look provides an intimacy on a wedding day, AND many times the groom is still overcome with emotion when their bride comes down the aisle. Walking down the aisle on your wedding day should be a moment that you treasure for a lifetime!
After shooting dozens of weddings, I’ve come to this conclusion. Some brides love the “traditions”, but what a bride really wants when it comes to her groom seeing her for the first time is a REACTION. Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. What I have found is so ironic! Please indulge me as I share with you this story about how a wedding day with a First Look can go:
Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom. The whole day is focused on them, they need to look their best, they need to be on time, the groom has no idea what side the boutonniere is supposed to go on and little by little… the tension grows. For most grooms, the nerves kick in before they see their bride because when they see her, everything becomes VERY real! So when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping the groom in a secluded space until the wedding coordinator queues his time to enter the ceremony, what if you took him to a private place, no people, no onlookers, no distractions, and you let his beautiful bride, the love of his life, quietly call his name and have him turn around to see her for the first time. He would turn around and finally get his first look at his stunning bride. Not only would he get to see her, he could embrace her, cry with her, kiss her, pray with her, and ENJOY that moment with her for as long as they wanted. As she shows him her dress, twirls a few times and then asks him what he thinks… his nerves start to diminish. After all, she’s the one who can make him most comfortable anyway.
Because they aren’t on a time crunch, they casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer, capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be TOGETHER… and to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look, it doesn’t. After their romantic portraits are done, they meet up with their best friends. Their bridal party joins them and because they still have plenty of time to spare, the bride touches up a little makeup while the boys are acting like boys. After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN.
There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s wonderful!
After portraits are done, the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. The groom clasps his hands in excitement. The music builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up and here comes the bride. His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart… and she’s absolutely stunning. The closer she gets, the bigger he smiles.
Now let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue. My clients are NOT required to do a First Look by any means! I used to feel bad for sharing this option with couples who were against it because I didn’t want to push anything on them. However, I’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again and so I share this because I want the BEST for my couples! It’s totally okay if couples choose not to share a first look! For brides not interested in a First Look, let’s start chatting soon about how we’ll create a special timeline to fit everything in!
FIRST LOOK | WHY IT'S WORTH IT
40% MORE PORTRAITS
You're investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look, you'll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you... and those are the images you will decorate your first home with! With a first look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.
ENJOY THE SURPRISE FREELY
You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides don't realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with how amazing you look, he can't tell you, embrace you, or speak to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look.
EXTEND YOUR DAY BY 3 HOURS
First looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you're not late for the introductions and then it's reception time. With a first look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits... you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your best friends on your wedding day. The WHOLE first half of my client's wedding albums are filled with images just from this time together before the ceremony.
YOUR ONLY ALONE TIME
First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. You get to share romantic, intimate moments, and then you are in a perfect mood for your romantic portraits. With the "traditional" wedding day, normally Just Married portraits are rushed after the family formals, and it can be hard to get into the "lovey dovey" mode when you know that all of your guests are waiting for you... especially with family and guests still around watching! When you have just shared your First Look, you're ready and excited to love on each other and take some super sweet, private images during those moments.
You get rid of your nerves! I have testimonials from so many grooms who initially weren't a fan of the idea of having a First Look... but afterwards admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!
FOR THE BRIDE: FIRST LOOK EXPECTATIONS
Brides, if you have never seen your man cry or get emotional, you can’t expect him to be overly emotional on your wedding day. Some guys just embrace their brides and never cry… and that’s OK! I guarantee we will capture his genuine smiles as he sees you for the first time. Some guys show very little emotion when their bride is coming down the aisle and that’s ok too. Just enjoy this amazing day and try not to put any expectations on him. One thing we have noticed after shooting dozens of weddings is that the stress and nerves that come with a wedding day can sometimes make it hard for some grooms to truly express their emotions. It’s just a lot to take in all at once. This is a great reason to share a first look and also a great reason to give some grace to your guy! Enjoy this time together, no matter what his reaction is like!
Your Bridal Party
Lets chat about your bridal party! This is when the fun really begins! I know from experience that all brides want their closest friends to have an amazing time during their big day and I will make sure that happens! Bridal party portraits should be a ton of FUN! After you share your first look, depending on the locations and the timing of the day, your bridal party will join us for portraits. If all goes well, we will be able to accomplish ALL of your bridal party portraits before the ceremony. This means that your guys and gals will be free to mingle at cocktail hour if they wish! If there are flower girls and ring bearers involved, they can either join us for the pre-ceremony portraits or we can take one final group photo after the ceremony, before family formals. Be sure your groomsmen arrive with boutonnieres and your bridesmaids arrive with bouquets!
Since the majority of my couples opt for a First Look, we have options for the bridal veil! I recommend that the bride only wear her veil when she comes down the aisle and I recommend this for three different reasons. 1. This is something new for your groom to see when you’re walking down the aisle! 2. A lot of times, during a First Look, the groom is so excited to see his bride that he accidentally pulls the veil out when he throws his arms around her! And 3. Saving the veil for the ceremony ensures that I will get some “Just Married” portrait time with the couple because EVERY bride needs to have a “Veil Blowing in the Wind” shot of their own! This isn’t a rule that I ask all brides to follow, it’s simply a suggestion that I make. If you love your veil and want to rock it during your pre-ceremony portrait time, go for it! I’ll be the happiest photographer either-way!