YOUR IDEAL WEDDING TIMELINE

For our own wedding we chose to have a first look and to schedule our family portraits before the ceremony. This ended up working out beautifully— our families had an exclusive event to attend before the festivities began, and we had a gleeful and emotional time alone without any onlookers. While we understand that a first look is not in every couple’s plans, we encourage you to consider it! It’s one of our favorite moments from our day. Read on for info about both options.


Alex + Mel chose to have a first look...
...while david + lisa met at their ceremony.

Ritz Carlton Wedding Photographers Capture First LookMature Couple Wedding Photos at The Breakers Palm Beach
Both couples had wonderful, emotional, beautiful wedding days. Want to learn more? Read on.

We love creating timeless, classic images of every wedding day. In order to give us the flexibility and time we need to make these images, we’ve developed an ideal timeline to help the day run smoothly and to allow us plenty of time for romantic portraits, beautiful family formals, and capturing the details you’ve spent so much time selecting during the wedding planning process. 

SO YOU'D LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT...

THE FIRST LOOK

Picture this: you’ve spent the day of your wedding getting dressed in your beautiful clothes, laughing and playing with your wedding party, and preparing to make a commitment to the one you love the most. You  may be feeling a little anxious— despite best efforts, a wedding can be a nerve-wracking experience!

Hyatt Pier 66 Fort Lauderdale Wedding Indoor First Look

Above: Angela + John held hands and spoke a few words before turning to see each other (below). Best faces EVER.
Groom's Ecstatic Reaction at South Florida First LookBride's Ecstatic Reaction at South Florida First Look

A first look lets you show yourself to the love of your life in private, with nothing to stop you from laughing, shrieking, crying or simply talking excitedly about all that has happened and all that is about to happen. With no one nearby (except your favorite photographers, of course!) you’ll be able to spend a few precious minutes alone together before heading to your ceremony, revitalized and ready for the trip to the altar (where you will still have excitement during your trip down the aisle— we promise!).

Naples Bay Resort Sweeping Staircase Wedding Portrait

Bonus: if you plan your day accordingly, you can choose to do both your couple portraits and family formals before the ceremony, leaving you free to join your guests during the cocktail hour (traditionally when family formals take place). Essentially seeing each other before the ceremony means you get to party more. Who doesn't want that?

Laughing Bride and Groom Overjoyed at FL First LookLost Tree wedding photographer captures first look

Need some help convincing a stubborn or traditional family member that a First Look is a valid option? Tell them to research the origin of this particular wedding tradition. Historically, seeing each other before the wedding day was forbidden because an arranged marriage was a business transaction between two families. (Romantic? Ha!) Most modern couples have at least dated before they tie the knot; the vast majority of our clients spend most of their waking hours together, and nearly all of them are living together prior to the wedding day. In light of that info, a First Look may seem a bit more romantic than the traditional version, don't you think? It certainly makes for a more streamlined day.


THE AISLE REVEAL

The quintessential romantic moment in any movie featuring a wedding is the instant the happy couple glimpse each other from the head and foot of the aisle, revealing their wedding finery, expressions, and emotions. Guests and family are witnesses to this moment, and are excited to be present during such an important moment in the couple’s day.

Touching ceremony moment between two bridesCatholic Wedding at Gesu Catholic Church

Despite the increasing popularity of a first look, the traditional aisle reveal is still something some couples have decided works best for them, whether it’s for religious or family traditions— or simply because it’s something they’ve imagined happening every time they’ve dreamed of their own wedding.

Happy Flower Petal Toss Wedding Exit in West Palm Beach

Start planning your timeline early if you choose the aisle reveal; you may want to structure additional time before the cocktail party begins to allow plenty of time for couple portraits and family formals (if attending the cocktail party is a priority for you). We’re always available for advice with your itinerary, or you can consult a wedding planner or day-of coordinator for more specialized assistance. Tip: add a Day-After Session to your coverage for extra portrait time.


TO LOOK OR NOT TO LOOK?

What do we recommend? We’ve had this discussion with many couples and from a photographer’s perspective we are overwhelmingly in favor of the First Look. This is for a variety of reasons (simplifying the timeline, fewer distractions for you, and practically zero restrictions imposed by venues or officiants), but the main reason is that it gives us a few amazing moments when we can practically see the love shining out of you. Photographically speaking, this is golden! 

A first look gives us a few amazing moments when we can practically see the love shining out of you!
Outdoor Relaxed Wedding Portrait in West Palm Beach FLCouple Practices Dancing at First Look in Shady Woods

But while we may feel strongly about which option works best on the average wedding day, your wedding is not about us! We will whole-heartedly support your decision, whether you see each other before the ceremony or wait until it begins. Regardless of which option you choose, we want you to have all the info you need to craft a careful timeline so you can have a great time at your wedding! Check out our sample timelines below, and feel free to drop us a line if you'd like a printable version.

NOTE: The example timelines on this page assume that your preparations, ceremony and reception are held at the same location, with a ceremony time of 5pm. The First Look version assumes that you also chose to schedule the family formals before the ceremony. Both of these timelines assume a “typical” wedding day with one bride, one groom, and a reasonably sized wedding party; of course every wedding is different, and we’re ready and willing to document every moment, regardless of whether you're "typical"! If you have questions about how to adjust a timeline to the details of your day, please feel free to ask.



FIRST LOOK TIMELINE

for couples who want to see each other before the ceremony

12:00 - Get Ready

Em arrives at the bride’s getting-ready location sometime during the hair/makeup process. Steve may help out, explore the venue, or start immediately with the groom, depending on the schedule. (The getting ready time may need to be considerably earlier if there are a lot of people getting ready at the same time; talk to your makeup/hair team and always plan for something to run late.)

2:00 - Get Dressed

Final touches on makeup, pictures of the bride and her family and/or bridesmaids helping her get ready.  A few minutes of bridal portraits alone after she is dressed, then portraits of the bride and her bridesmaids. During this time Steve will be documenting the groom and groomsmen as they get ready, followed by individual and group portraits.

3:00 - First Look + Couple Portraits

This will be completely alone, just the two of you and the two of us with our cameras. 

3:45 - Wedding Party Portraits

The two of you with your gals & guys. These are easy and fun!

4:00 - Family Formals

Basic formals will likely take less than 30 minutes, but we build in cushion time to ease the stress of the wedding day timeline. We recommend asking family members to arrive 15 minutes early to ensure a precise start time. (30 minutes allows 8-10 groupings; more time is necessary if you plan on having additional groupings.)

4:30 - Break + Refresh

You and the wedding party can get out of sight while guests start to arrive; this is a good time to freshen up and have a breather. 

5:00 - Ceremony

Congratulations, you’re married! After the ceremony family and guests can head directly to cocktail hour. Time for the celebration to get started!

5:30 - Afterglow Portraits

This is a perfect opportunity to escape with us and avoid a receiving line, which will form automatically if you don't take steps to avoid it. This gives us time to capture the happy afterglow and excited smiles you’ll be sharing with each other in your first minutes as a married couple!

5:45 - You arrive to the cocktail hour/reception 

...and the rest of the night is yours! We may pull you away later in the evening for a few moments if we find a beautifully romantic spot for a portrait, but for the most part we'll focus on capturing the life of the party as you dance the night away.





AISLE REVEAL TIMELINE

for couples who want to wait until the ceremony to see each other

1:00 - Get Ready

Em arrives at the bride’s getting-ready location sometime during the hair/makeup process. Steve may help out, explore the venue, or start immediately with the groom, depending on the schedule. (The getting ready time may need to be considerably earlier if there are a lot of people getting ready at the same time; talk to your makeup/hair team and always plan for something to run late.)

3:15 - Get Dressed

Final touches on makeup, pictures of the bride and her family and/or bridesmaids helping her get ready. A few minutes of bridal portraits alone after she is dressed, then portraits of the bride and her bridesmaids. During this time Steve will be documenting the groom and groomsmen as they get ready, followed by individual and group portraits.

4:30 - Take Your Places

You and the wedding party can get out of sight while guests start to arrive; this is a good time to freshen up and have a breather. 

5:00 - Ceremony Begins

Congratulations, you’re married! Please be sure to inform family members and the wedding party to stay behind after the ceremony for formal portraits before they go to the cocktail hour.

5:30 - Ceremony Finishes 

Guests not required for family and wedding party formals head to the cocktail hour.

5:45 - Family Formals  

Basic formals will likely take less than 30 minutes, but we build in cushion time to ease the stress of the wedding day timeline. (30 minutes allows 8-10 groupings; more time is necessary if you plan on having additional groupings.)

6:30 - Couple Portraits

Romantic, beautiful portraits celebrating your first moments alone as a married couple.  We use minimal direction to put you in the best light, then capture the love and smiles you’ll share with each other, creating our signature couple portraits.

7:15 - You arrive to the cocktail hour/reception!

...and the rest of the night is yours! We may pull you away later in the evening for a few moments if we find a beautifully romantic spot for a portrait, but for the most part we'll focus on capturing the life of the party as you dance the night away.



Questions?

We're more than happy to chat with our clients and see if we can help, but please bear in mind that we aren't wedding planners by profession! If you find yourself needing someone to rewrite your timeline with numerous details outside of what's addressed above we'd be more than happy to refer you to a wedding planner or day-of coordinator; a good one can be worth their weight in gold. As we learned at our own wedding, sometimes having professional help is key to having a smooth and easy-going wedding day! Feel free to shoot us an email if you'd like to go over any details.

Rock n' Roll Bride Gets Wild on Palm Beach Dance Floor