Scheduling your Wedding Day can be overwhelming, but don't worry, I am here to help you out! Today I will discuss the age-old question - to First Looks or not to First Looks. Having a first look can seriously impact your wedding day timeline so it is good to make this decision early on.

The Frist Looks Option

What is a First Look?

First off. What is a First Look? Well, the first look is a modern tradition involving a one-on-one photo session between the bride and groom where they see each other for the first time prior to the ceremony vs down the aisle. Not only does this allow for some special moments and emotional images but also has many logistical benefits as explained below.

PROS OF THE FIRST LOOK


AN INTIMATE MOMENT

A First Look is a great way to spend some quality time with your partner on your big day.


SCHEDULING 

Having a First Look allows for much more flexibility in the timetable to be allotted for photography. This means more time for couple portraits, wedding party portraits, and family photos (if you choose to do them all before the ceremony).


COCKTAIL HOUR

With the photos taken prior to the ceremony, you have all the time after free to actually mingle with your guests during cocktail hour and take in the day! 


WINTER WEDDINGS

Since it gets dark out much earlier, it may be too dark to take images after the ceremony. The First Looks is a great solution to this if you prefer outdoor images (I know do!)

CONS OF THE FIRST LOOK


LIGHTING

First looks usually occur mid-day when the light is quite harsh given it’s a sunny day. But no need to worry, we will stick to the shade! Also, I always recommend taking out 20 minutes or so in the evening to have a little golden hour couple session


EARLIER START TO THE DAY

Since more time is set aside solely for photography rather than running in parallel with the cocktail hour, everyone will typically have to get ready earlier in the day.

A Typical FIRST LOOKS TIMELINE

I have provided an example of a typical first looks wedding day timeline below along with time estimates of how long each part of the day usually takes in terms of photography coverage. Make sure to account for travel time between locations when planning your day! Of course, it's always good to leave some buffer time too in case things run late.


GETTING READY

1-1.5 HOURS

FIRST LOOKS

5-10 MINUTES

COUPLE PORTRAITS

30-40 MINUTES

WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

30-40 MINUTES

CEREMONY

30-60 MINUTES

FAMILY PHOTOS

20-30 MINUTES

COCKTAIL HOUR

30-60 MINUTES

GRAND ENTRANCES

10-15 MINUTES

DINNER & SPEECHES

2-3 Hours

CAKE CUTTING

5-10 MINUTES

FIRST DANCES

10-20 MINUTES

GRAND EXITS

15-20 MINUTES

The Traditional Option

Keeping it Classic

With the Traditional Option, you do not see your partner before the ceremony, instead, the grand reveal happens at the start of the ceremony. A First Looks isn't for everyone - and that's ok! It's your day and you make the calls! But if you're still not sure, I have provided some pros and cons of the traditional timeline option below.

PROS of the TRADITIONAL Option


TRADITION

Maybe you have always dreamed of your fiancé seeing you for the first time as you walk down the aisle. That’s totally awesome – the traditional timeline is definitely for you!


LIGHTING

Generally, outdoor lighting is nicer as the day nears closer to sunset. The opium lighting is of course Golden Hour (which you may be familiar with from the engagement session!) which is the hour before sunset when the light is soft and warm. Depending on the time of year, the light may be better after the ceremony versus earlier in the day after a first looks. If you want to be sure for you wedding date check out: https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/canada/hamilton 

Cons OF THE TRADITIONAL OPTION


SCHEDULING:

Depending on your wedding, there may only be enough time for about 1 hour of photos in the time between the ceremony and reception. This means that family formals, wedding party, and your portrait sessions all have to happen in that 1 hour. This is totally doable, but keep in mind there may be less time to get lots of different variations of images.


COCKTAIL HOUR:

Wedding Party Photos and Couple Portraits typically take place at the same time as the cocktail hour. This leaves you little time to mingle with guests and enjoy the cocktail hour yourself. If you have a second photographer, they can still capture your guests during this time.


Alternatively, you may have a break in your schedule for an hour or two. While this is great for me as the photographer, it can be awkward for guests who don't know what to do during this break in the day.

A Typical TRADITIONAL Styled TIMELINE

I have provided an example of a typical traditional wedding day timeline below along with time estimates of how long each part of the day usually takes in terms of photography coverage. Make sure to account for travel time between locations when planning your day! Of course, it's always good to leave some buffer time too in case things run late.


GETTING READY

1-1.5 HOURS

CEREMONY

30-60 MINUTES

FAMILY PHOTOS

20-30 MINUTES

WEDDING PARTY PHOTOS

30-40 MINUTES

COUPLE PORTRAITS

30-40 MINUTES

COCKTAIL HOUR

0-60 MINUTES

GRAND ENTRANCES

10-15 MINUTES

DINNER & SPEECHES

2-3 HOURS

CAKE CUTTING

5-10 MINUTES

FIRST DANCES

10-20 MINUTES

GRAND EXITS

15-20 MINUTES

Now it's up to you! Let me know what you decide or if you have any questions specific to your wedding day - I am happy to help!