Should I do a first look?

Should I do a first look? When I’m in the planning process with my couples, this one question comes up a lot. I’m going to dig into this today with all of the factors you should take into consideration when making this decision.

Some factors to consider:

  1. Are there religious reasons for seeing your significant other while walking down the aisle?

  2. Would you two prefer to have some time just the two of you?

  3. Do you want to be there at cocktail hour or does that not matter as much to you?

  4. How many family/bridal party group photos do you want to get? Is there a lot or not as much?

  5. Do you want more images of just the two of you?

 
Click over to see more from this spring, church wedding.

Click over to see more from this spring, church wedding.

First question:

Are there religious reasons for seeing your significant other while walking down the aisle?

This to me is a very important point that I want to honor. While I as a photographer do believe there are tons of reasons for doing a first look, I want to first make sure that I am honoring your religious traditions. If in your religion, it is important to honor not seeing each other until walking down the aisle, then we will work the photography timeline for the day around this.

 
Click over to see more from this summer, garden wedding in Wellesley.

Click over to see more from this summer, garden wedding in Wellesley.

Second question:

Would you two prefer to have some time just the two of you?

Your wedding day is usually scheduled down to the minute, you are usually doing something or will be talking to different guests. The time during a first look allows you and your significant other to have some time that is just for the two of you. While I will be there capturing images, this time is just yours. A brief moment in the day where you can soak it all in and be completely in the moment.

 
Click to see more from this beautiful, summer wedding in Cranston.

Click to see more from this beautiful, summer wedding in Cranston.

Third question:

Do you want to be there at cocktail hour of does that not matter as much to you?

If you do not do a first look, that means that most of the family and wedding party portraits will most likely have to take place during cocktail hour. If you are ok with missing cocktail hour then we can capture all of the portraits then. One thing is just to let your family and wedding party know where to meet for photos, otherwise we may lose them in the crowd going to cocktail hour (which then becomes more difficult to get them back at that point). If however, you do want to be at cocktail hour, I recommend doing a first look. If you do a first look, then all of these portraits are done prior to the ceremony. Then you will have that free time to enjoy the drinks and apps.

 
Click over to see more from this autumn coastal wedding.

Click over to see more from this autumn coastal wedding.

Fourth question:

How many family/wedding party group photos do you want to capture? Is there a lot on the list or not as much?

Weddings are definitely a good time to capture group photos of family and friends. I totally understand wanting to get as many photos as possible on these special occasions because they can be far between. If you have a big list of groups, I definitely recommend considering doing a first look. Otherwise we may run out of time to do these during cocktail hour, you would be surprised at how quickly that hour goes by.

 
Click over to see more from this winter Bedford Village Inn wedding.

Click over to see more from this winter Bedford Village Inn wedding.

Fifth question:

Do you want more photos of just the two of you?

As I said previously, the wedding day goes by so quickly and is usually filled with moments with other people. Doing a first look with your significant other will guarantee that there’s more time for portraits of just the two of you. Usually that’s an extra 20-30 minutes of time for portraits of just you two. When there’s so much time dedicated to capturing portraits of other people, this is a nice bit of time for portraits of just the two of you. Since the wedding day is about celebrating your relationship, I always think this is nice to have more portraits of just the two of you.

So the question has a lot of answers. It’s a deeply personal thing, and I recommend using this post as a tool to figure out whether a first look works for you and your significant other. Should I do a first look? It’s totally up to you!

Maggie and Alex's Wedding || Bedford Village Inn || Bedford, NH

I had been so excited for Maggie and Alex’s wedding since we did their engagement session in the fall. These two are just so much fun and the absolute sweetest people ever. After I drove up to Bedford, New Hampshire that morning I was so excited to see there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground. Something I knew that Maggie had been hoping for to add a special something for photos. I started with details up in Maggie’s hotel suite, and then all the ladies came up after getting their hair and make up done at the Luxe Salon. These ladies were so cheerful and relaxed, it was such an easy and awesome start to the day. Maggie read a letter from Alex that made her tear up, and then read a bit out loud for her ladies. Everyone was just saying how sweet it was, and it started the day off showing what a beautiful connection Maggie and Alex have. I had my second photographer Lorna Stell hanging with the guys and capturing that fun. After capturing a few group photos of the ladies in the suite, it was time for Maggie to get into her gorgeous wedding dress. Maggie looked like a model in her dress, and with that fur shawl, she was a stunning winter bride.

Once she was ready, Maggie and I walked over to where she and Alex were doing their first look. On the way she kept getting greeted by family and friends who were absolutely thrilled to see her. Everyone kept saying how beautiful she looked, giving her hugs and high fives. We had Maggie wait behind the building while we got Alex into place, and then one of my favorite moments of the day happened. When Maggie and Alex saw each other for the first time that day, they were both crying and grinning from ear to ear. These two were so happy to be in each other’s presence that day.

After taking couple’s portraits of just the two of them, to which both of them were amazing to be walking around in the snow for photos, we grabbed the rest of the wedding party. The wedding party all had a good laugh over something that Maggie and Alex told me to bring up, and then we grabbed photos of just the ladies and the guys. This was such a fun group, and everyone was giggling the whole time.

With family portraits, we made sure to do them close to the entry way so that people could run in and out (it was January in New Hampshire after all). This group was so efficient that we finished all the portraits early, so that the group could have some downtime before the ceremony.

The ceremony was beautiful, with Alex crying when he saw Maggie walking down the aisle and Maggie crying as her dad walked her down the aisle. There were lots of laughs during the ceremony, and then tons of cheers and excitement when these two awesome people tied the knot.

The reception started with lots of big family portraits, and then came Maggie and Alex’s introduction, which was greeted with booming applause and cheers. These two shared a sweet first dance to “Your Song” which by the way is a favorite song of mine. After their first dance we had some amazing speeches by their family and friends. It started with Maggie’s dad, who gave such a touching speech about Maggie growing up until now, and had everyone crying. Next, Alex's siblings Ravi and Carly gave a speech that both cracked a few jokes and also honored the memory of their sibling who passed away. Maggie’s cousins shared a speech with memories of Maggie which made everyone laugh a lot, and then finally sang to her the song “Maggie May.” The last speech of the night was by Alex’s best man, his longtime friend Ricky. He had everyone cracking up, and then also made quite a controversial comment in the room of agreeing with Alex that Tom Brady was the best quarterback of all time. The Philadelphia contingent of the wedding guests was not happy about that, but personally it made me laugh (since I’m both from Philly and am a Patriots fan).

The dancing kicked off with Maggie and her dad dancing absolutely beautifully and having such a lovely moment just the two of them. After that Alex and his mom danced to “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It was a dedication to his brother that passed because that was his favorite song. These two did a whole choreographed dance to it, and even now when I hear that song it makes me smile thinking about this sweet moment with Alex and his mom. This is what kicked off the dancing for the night, and the whole floor filled up immediately. This was a group that absolutely loved dancing, and had so much fun with it. The last photos captured that night were when I sneaked Maggie and Alex out for a few last photos underneath the twinkle lights outside. These two were just so sweet, and I loved that this was the last group of images from the night, just the two of them enjoying being together. Congratulations again Maggie and Alex, thank you so much for being the best first wedding of 2019 that I could have asked for!!

 

Vendors:

Venue: Bedford Village Inn || https://www.bedfordvillageinn.com/

Church: Bedford Presbyterian Church || https://bedfordpresbyterian.org/

Second photographer: Lorna Stell || https://www.lornastell.com/

Hair and Makeup: Luxe Salon || https://www.bedfordvillageinn.com/luxe/

Florals: Celeste’s Flower Barn || https://www.celesteflowerbarn.com/

Band: Clockwork Band Boston || http://clockworkboston.com/

Wedding Dress: BHDLN || https://www.bhldn.com/

Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulu’s || https://www.lulus.com/bridal

Suits: Suit Supply || https://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/home

 
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Kelsie and Brian's Wedding || Alden Castle || Brookline, MA

It was a beautiful fall morning when I headed to the Hotel Buckminster in Kenmore Square, to meet Kelsie and her bridesmaids. When I arrived I could tell the energy was so positive and full of joy. Everyone was so excited for the day ahead, and Kelsie was all smiles. It was so cool to photograph these ladies and look out to see Fenway Park right there. It was such a fun start to the day, and I knew that it was going to be an awesome wedding day by just the start of it.

After the ladies finished up hair and makeup, we headed over to Kelsie’s parents’ room for her to put on the wedding dress. It was a beautiful throwback to the 1920s, so much gorgeous beading and it fit Kelsie perfectly. Once we got on the bus over to Alden Castle, the ladies were so excited. Shortly after I grabbed Kelsie and we headed over to the Emerald Necklace to do Kelsie and Brian’s first look. I cannot tell you how excited these two were to see each other. You could see the joy in their eyes, and there were lots of happy tears while seeing each other for the first time. They took a few steps away to read each other cards that they wrote, and it was one of the sweetest moments of the day. These two are so completely each other’s match, and you could tell how thrilled they were to get married. There was a funny moment when some local geese started walking up really close to them while they were reading their cards, but luckily they didn’t notice.

We walked around the Emerald Necklace area with many congratulations from passersby until we heard loud cheers coming from the stairs near the MBTA T station.  That’s when the entire wedding party cheering as they walked arrived for some more fun portraits. This was such a fun-loving, awesome group to work with.

The ceremony in Alden Castle was beautiful, with both of Kelsie’s parents giving her away and Brian absolutely beaming to see Kelsie walking down the aisle it was a lovely start the ceremony. There were lots of laughs throughout and then they were officially announced as a couple. Right after the ceremony, Brian and I got Kelsie to come outside where he gave her a gift I was hiding for him. Brian had bought Kelsie a ring that she had wanted for the wedding as a gift, and it was a perfect surprise for her. The two laughing and smiling, walked into their cocktail hour together on “cloud 9.”

The reception started off with an amazing sequence of entrances by the wedding party, everyone showing off their awesome dance skills and the room erupted in cheers when Kelsie and Brian walked in. They started into their first dance to the song, “Tenerife Sea” by Ed Sheeran. It was such a beautiful first dance, with the two of them looking so insanely happy that it made me tear up a bit. There were really beautiful dances with Kelsie and her dad, and then Brian and his mom, and then the speeches started. Kelsie’s sister and maid of honor, Allison started with a beautiful speech in which she started tearing up, which then made a lot of us tear up. It just showed how close those two are, and what a great sister relationship they have. It was followed up with a speech from Brian’s best man, Alex who had everyone in stitches. He decided to end it with a gift of “icing” the two of them and himself.

From there the party got started with a special surprise for Kelsie’s sister. It was her birthday, so they brought out a cupcake with a candle on it and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to her. After this everyone went into full dancing mode. This wedding had everyone up on the dance floor, I saw a dance contest between Kelsie’s grandmother and one of the younger guests. It was by far the best end to my 2018 wedding season that I could have asked for. It was such a beautiful and amazing wedding ceremony, followed by an insanely fun reception. Congratulations again to you two Kelsie and Brian, I know you will have a long and happy life together!

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Vendors:

Venue: Alden Castle, a Longwood Venue || https://longwoodvenues.com

Second photographer: Lorna Stell || https://lornastell.com

Florals: Kinship Floral || www.kinshipfloral.com

Hair and Makeup: Shana Cherico and Samantha Lombardi

Dress: Kleinfeld Bridal || www.kleinfeldbridal.com