When it comes to your wedding day, the biggest request we hear over and over again is: “we would like to spend as much time with our family and friends as possible and not feel rushed throughout the day.”  Our number one response is: “have you heard about first look photo sessions?”  For those of you that may not have ever heard of these…we think they are amazing.  Usually we will set our couple up to see one another prior to the ceremony.  This allows to take a huge portion of photos prior to the ceremony and more time with the majority of your guests after the wedding ceremony.  Plus, you are marrying your best friend right?  That probably means you definitely want to spend more time with them.  Why wait all day to see them? 

Are you worried you want have the same feeling seeing one another for the first time at opposite ends of the aisle?  Don’t worry, you will!  There is something magical that happens at that moment.  Plus by doing the first look prior to the ceremony in a private area only involving the couple, photographers and videographers.  I truly believe this is a moment just for the couple.  I typically set it up, fluff the dress (if necessary) and walk away.  Once I’m out of the frame, they can share a few minutes taking the day in.  I personally think this is one of the biggest stress relievers because you already know the other person is there, the excitement of the day can be settled and you can spend a few moments alone together.  Because it may one of the few minutes you two get to do that, once the day is in full motion everyone is going to be demanding your attention. 

Traditionally here is the list of photos (short list)

·         Bride alone, then bride with bridal party (for same sex couples one usually goes before the other) if they don’t see one another prior to ceremony…then with parents & siblings

·         Groom alone, then with groomsmen, then with bridal party, following his parents and siblings and ushers

·         Following ceremony the couple and their parents & grandparents, with parents then add siblings, don’t forget the extended family and  other important guests (greeters, program attendants, readers, soloists etc.)

·         After all of those photos then it’s the full wedding party, followed by bride and groomsmen

·         Then finally you may have 5-20 minutes of time for photos for the two of you before introductions (remember most cocktail hours should only be 45 minutes to an hour max)

What if I told you could take all of those photos but spend more time with your loved ones?  It’s okay to break some traditions and see one another before you say I do!  Take thirty minutes of photos with one another, then add your wedding party.  You can take a ton of fun and formal photos all over your venue prior to guests arriving.  Then go ahead and take photos with your parents and siblings if you can.  Once that’s done plan to have a fruit and cheese tray with crackers for everyone to take a break together and snack on before the ceremony.  This gives you even more time with your family and friends while all of your guests arrive.  This is another reason why I encourage both ushers and groomsmen.   Once the ceremony is complete you can snap a few quick group photos with extend family members and grandparents.  Then you can take 10 more minutes and take a few photos of your wedding glow while guests find their seats back at the reception.  At the end of the day you’ll have even more photos than you ever thought you would have and you would have spent most of your day with your loved ones.  And at the end of the day, isn’t that really what it’s all about?  We think so.  
(Photo credit: Michelle Robinson Photography)