Tag Archives: Wedding Vendor Advice

The First Look – To Reveal or Not to Reveal

I get asked all the time by my couples about the pros and cons of having a First Look. Many question if it’s something they should consider, if it will take away from the ceremony, and how the timing of the day will play out if they have one. In today’s post, I am going to share my thoughts about First Looks, and answer all your questions!

What to Consider If a First Look is Right For You:

Timing of Your Ceremony

This is the most crucial aspect to consider. If you are having a traditional church ceremony in the morning or early afternoon, you will likely not do a First Look. Why? Because you will have a gap once the ceremony ends, before the reception starts, and should have plenty of time to get your photos done then. If you’re nervous and want to see each other before the ceremony, a quick First Look can always be added in.

If your ceremony is later in the afternoon or early evening and your schedule of events are back-to-back (i.e. ceremony flows into cocktail hour which then flows into dinner) you will not have a lot of time to do your Bride & Groom Photos, Bridal Party Photos, and Family Photos, and I would strongly advise having a First Look in this case.

Flow of Events

You could have a prolonged cocktail hour (like 1.5-2 hours long) to try and get all those photos done during that time, but I would advise you to consider this from a guest perspective: if you were a guest at a wedding, would you want to stand for 1.5 to 2 hours during cocktail hour while the entire family was off doing photos? The answer is likely no.

Photo Location

If you are planning to take all your photos during cocktail hour and not have a First Look, is there a space that you will adequately be able to do so? If you’re planning to do photos outside, is there an ideal rain back-up location? Will you be separated enough from your guests during cocktail hour that they won’t try coming up to you while you’re busy doing photos? Keep in mind that if your reception room requires a room flip, you will not have access to that space during cocktail hour for photos.

Timing of Your Cocktail Hour

I never want my couples to feel rushed at any point on their wedding day. If you have a First Look earlier in the day, you are able to get the majority of your photos out of the way, so that during cocktail hour, you can either:

A. Join your guests, relax and enjoy with them.

B. Stay in the bridal suite and have a private moment as Bride & Groom (as your planner I will always ensure hors d’oeuvres and your fav drinks are brought to you there!) 

C. Take extended family photos, and then join your guests.

Will it Make My Ceremony Less Special?

My short answer is: absolutely not! In fact, I have been told by many couples that the First Look was one of the most special moments of their day, and made them feel less nervous and more excited for their ceremony. It’s a great decision for couples who want to spend some quiet time together before the ceremony.

Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer, it is a personal decision based on many factors, as noted above. If you are more traditional, and your wedding schedule allows it, maybe you want to skip the First Look. But if you want to ease wedding day nerves and give yourself more time to enjoy your cocktail hour, a First Look may be the right choice for you. Speak to your photographer and planner if you’re on the fence, and I’m sure you will end up making the best decision for your wedding day!

What to Consider When Hiring a Photographer for your Wedding Day

Your vendor team is one of the most crucial aspects of your wedding day – after all, your vendors will be the ones bringing the day to life. It is imperative that you pick vendors that will match your style and aesthetic and help make your vision a reality. One of the most important vendor decisions is your photographer. Certain weddings turn to pure magic behind the lens of the right person.

Personality and style plays a key role in this decision. There are different photography styles from light and airy to dark and moody. Below you will find two gorgeous bridesmaids shots, with very different photography styles. Take a look at different photographers portfolios or Instagram accounts and see what style you vibe with. From there you can make a running list of photographers you’re interested in.

The next step would be to reach out for availability and pricing. If they are available and their pricing is in-line with your budget, set up a call or in-person meeting with your top two choices. It is important to ensure you like their personality, since they’ll be with you for many hours on one of the most important days of your life. Aside from personality, there are other key questions to ask so you can have all the info you need to book the right photographer.

Important Questions to Ask:

1. How long have they been doing this for? How long have they had their current business?

2. Who do they use as a second shooter or assistant? Do they assist with lighting as well?

3. Do they bring extra memory cards the day of? Do they back up on site the day of the wedding?

4. Do they have a back up photographer they can send in case something were to happen the day of (sickness, accident, etc.) 

5. How long after the wedding day does it take for you to receive the edited photos? Approximately how many edited photos will you receive?

6. How long after your wedding do they keep your files/ photos stored for? 

7. How would they describe their photography style?

8. Do they take a lot of posed photos or more candid shots? 

9. If they notice your dress is out of place, will they or their assistant help fix that while shooting?

10. Have they worked at your venue before?

11. Are they familiar with the area around your venue? 

12. What has been their favourite wedding to shoot so far and why?

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Swoon Events

Toronto, ON
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