First Look: Traditional or Non Traditional?


The BIG planning question for us with our clients is always are you going to see each other first or stay traditional? We are truly fine with whatever you decide and will work with you to ensure everything goes smoothly and as planned. Part of this process is sharing what we have learned from shooting over 500 weddings & by providing you with what we have experienced. We are not necessarily trying to change your mind, We are just helping you do the best we can to ensure your day is amazing and not frustrating etc…

So usually we have a rule with wedding photography… either be traditional or don’t; it seldom works well to mix the two. What I mean by this is a traditional wedding is at noon or 1:00 in a little church in the country followed by family photos and bridal party romantic from 2-6 then cocktails from 6-7 followed by dinner at the “country club” or whatever the case… it works well because your photographer gets the party for an insanely long time in the middle of the day and gives you “time to burn” travel and relax. This style of wedding works great but makes for a crazy long day but gives you the best amount of time for photos. It is a long day for guests, but in a resort town or wedding close to the hotel guests are staying seems to work well. Still, we sometimes call this holding your guests in captivity.

The newer style of weddings is non traditional and is sometime referred to as a resort wedding. It is a quicker day especially for your guests. It can seem rushed and often our clients need to pick specifically the images they want because we don’t have the luxury of time, ESPECIALLY with large bridal parties; to get all the shots we would like to. Typically these ceremonies are at 4:00 or so and the guests go right into a cocktail hour then to dinner. There really isn’t enough time to get bridal party photos and romantics unless you have a small bridal party and are ok with missing your cocktail hour, are minimalistic in what you want, and are willing to provide with some examples of images you like and your style and realize that in this shorter time we likely will not be able to get EVERYTHING you want. In my experience if you stay traditional with your wedding (not seeing each other first) you’re going to miss images that you would have liked to have gotten at some point.

So when most people choose a non traditional resort wedding they also choose to be non traditional and see each other first. They would do a first look around one or so and spend 2 hours shooting romantics with the bridal party. We have grown to love this style and have found that our clients o to. Here are some reasons why…

  • Being able to embrace and take a few minutes to express your love at the first look is the BEST interaction of emotion all day and makes for AMAZING photos… when you go traditional you miss the ability to capture this on film.

  • Your bridal party actually enjoys the process. The mindset is different… When you stay traditional and shoot after the ceremony everyone wants to finish photos as fast as possible so they can go to the bar or get free drinks at the cocktail hour. Bridal parties despise missing part of the cocktail hour. So when you stay traditional it is really hard to get bridal parties to cooperate, if we shoot before they are super excited and totally into the process.

  • I hate to call photography work, but the work is done! It is a great feeling to go into your ceremony knowing that afterwards you may have a few quick family photos and the rest of the night is pure fun and excitement. It is a long day no matter what style you choose… we find brides get re-energized after the ceremony if they are done shooting and often ready for another quick sunset session which is the most amazing light of the day. Brides that stay traditional often feel tired by sunset and don’t want to reshoot during great light.

  • If we are doing a photofusion this format gives us more time to edit and it will be better.

  • Your with your guests for the cocktail hour!

  • And lastly, brides NEVER regret doing this. As hard as a decision as it might seem up front; we have NEVER had a bride regret doing a first look… but we have a lot of brides that say something like “this was a crazy long day, or I hope I never have to do this again, or we should have done a first look” almost EVERY time a bride decides to go traditional.

We hope this helps you make some great decisions!

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