Reasons why to do a first look on your wedding day

Ohio wedding photographer

Just another person over here trying to convince you to do a first look at your wedding. First off, I want to share that I never want to pressure my couples into choosing this option. I believe this is completely your decision and you and your fiancé should decide this together. For me, I am obviously biased because I’m a photographer, and I know a first look allows for more photos opportunities. I love photo opportunities, but I also know not all of my couples will choose this option, and that completely is OKAY! I just want to share some of the main reasons why I do love them so much.

To my surprise, it is usually the groom who is not interested in doing a first look for their wedding. I thought about this for a little bit and then came to the realization, DUH, because of the pressure we put on them to have this huge reaction when they first seen their bride. Not all men will cry when they first see their fiancé in her white dress. If it is not their personality to cry, then that is completely fine and this should be understood. But in reality, grooms will have LESS pressure to have a big reaction for their first look than during the actual wedding ceremony, because the entire wedding guest list will not be there watching. It is a shared moment between you two and just you two alone. If you think about it, you really don’t have much alone time with your spouse on the day of your wedding. Sharing this moment together can be so special and a time for you guys to really soak it in together. Everything is flying by at this point and there is no better place to be than to slow it down in the arms of the one you love most.

Another huge reason why I love when my couples choose to do a first look is because of the timeline of the wedding day. When there is a first look scheduled before the ceremony, this allows for more time for portraits and for photos with the full bridal party. If this important to you, then you might want to really consider doing a first look. Typically when there is no first look, the bridal party is split and one photographer will do photos of the bridesmaids while the other photographer will do photos of the groomsman. In this case, the only time to do the full bridal party photos is after the ceremony. Usually, there is not much of a gap between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception. If there is no first look that means we have to do family photos, full bridal party photos, and all of your portraits during this short time. By this point you may be completely checked out and just want to get the party started with your friends and family. This is why taking portraits before the ceremony always seems to be way less stressful for everyone.

There is also more of a middle of the road option where couples choose to have a first moment rather than a first look. This can be holding hands on either side of a door, a corner of a building, or even a tree. I have had couples pray together during this moment, read each others letters, and just share this special quiet time together before the ceremony.

There are definitely couples who still wish to take the more traditional route and I am COMPLETELY fine with this! I still love a good mix of wedding day experiences and I love when couples are passionate about their choice. These are just a few of my top reasons to organize a first look based upon my time as a wedding photographer.

Ali & Luke | Classic Columbus Wedding at The Annex at 801

This gorgeous, classic wedding was an amazing way to start off my 2019 wedding season. After having a pretty quiet off season, it was great to be back out there doing what I love most!

The simple black bridesmaids dresses paired with a whole lot of greenery made for the perfect modern and classic wedding day look. Ali & Luke shared their first look on the steps outside along the columns of the Ohio Statehouse. It was supposed to rain this day, but we were able to luck out with just some overcast skies.

A short and sweet ceremony took place at Grace Fellowship in Upper Arlington followed by a giant dance party at the Annex at 801. We knocked out all of the photos we needed before the reception so Ali & Luke were able to enjoy cocktail hour and to mingle with their guests. My favorite detail of the day was when Ali & Luke put on Mr. & Mrs. aprons and served dinner to their guests! I have never seen this before and thought it was such a cool idea! They also probably had the best first dance I have ever seen, which was so much fun to photograph. These two sure know how to get down on the dance floor! I had an amazing day with these two and can’t wait to deliver their gallery soon!

Below are the amazing vendors who helped with Ali & Luke’s special day along with some of my favorite photos!

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Ceremony: Grace Fellowship UA

Reception: The Annex at 801

Cake: Shannon Rosenberg

DJ: DJ Axcess

Florals: Dayla Ket Event Design

Makeup: Katie Mayhill

Hair: Katie Himes

Dress: Davids Bridal

Suit: Pursuit

Second Photographer: Jennifer Post Photography

Should your dog be at your wedding?

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Everyone who has a dog can probably say their pup is like family to them. So why not have them at your wedding day?! As much as I’m sure everyone would love to have their dog attend their wedding, there are some obvious logistics to sort out. I am going to help go over several things to consider when deciding whether or not to have your pupper at your wedding.

PS I am biased and my answer is always, “yes”.

Will the pup be in the wedding or just show up for photos?

Some couples feel their pupper should walk down the aisle and actually be a part of the wedding as a ring bearer or flower girl, while others think it may be best to just take a couple of quick photos.

Who will bring the pup to the wedding and bring them home?

Do you have a designated person to be in charge of the pup throughout the day? This person should not be in the bridal party so they would not have to miss any of the important festivities or photos. A date of someone in the bridal party might be a good option or even a cousin or family friend.

Will the pup behave or will they jump all over your fancy clothes?

A big question is always deciding how well behaved the pup will be at the wedding. Will they be super excited to see you and jump all over your fancy clothes, and do you even care if this happens? Lint rollers are always a life saver and if you have a dog I’m assuming you already have one on you at all times.

Will there be any special attire for the pup?

This is always my favorite part. I’ve seen adorable custom made suits fitted for dogs and even a classic bow tie or flower crown for the lady pups are a nice touch.

Should I bring my dog to my engagement session?

As you would probably imagine, it is a lot easier to manage a pup at an engagement session. Typically, if you have a friend to bring along to the session, they can watch the dog and even take the pup home after we’ve taken some good photos. I’ve had couples who will be in a more casual outfit while taking photos with the pup and then change into a nicer outfit when the pup leaves.

Below are some of my favorites of the pups I’ve had the lovely opportunity to work with over the past few years! (I’m missing some photos from older galleries and I’m really sad about it.)

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Save the Date websites you will love

As a wedding photographer, a very popular question I am asked is where to find trendy sites to make save the dates. There are so many amazing options out there and I want to go over a few of my favorites and share what I love most about them. These 4 sites stick out from the crowd and show great quality without breaking the bank.

Artifact uprising - First up is a site more for the modern and simplistic couples. They have absolutely perfected the minimalistic designs and have gorgeous foiled-stamp options. The save the dates are also made with 100% recycled paper. Artifact uprising has wonderful wedding invitation options as well, and by quickly browsing the site, you can see how many different photo gifts they have. You can do almost everything with this company which is why I love them so much.

Minted - By priding themselves on the personal touch of each design, Minted has a very large selection of trendy options to choose from. They offer free samples kits, free wedding websites, and free guest addressing. You have many options when working with them including foil-pressed, letter-pressed, and magnet save the dates. They also have a very large selection for wedding invitations, wedding menus, and every other wedding day paper need you can possibly think of.

Paper Culture - A great eco friendly option. Paper Culture is recognized by the EPA as a Top 10 Climate Leader, and are certified as a Green Business. They plant a tree with every order, use 100% recycled paper, and really shine as one of the top eco friendly options for prints.

Paperless Post - Go digital! Save paper completely by sending your save the dates and invitations online. The Paperless Post has pre-made designs and custom design options for your digital cards. They also have sophisticated tracking so you are able to see who has opened, who has RSVP’d, and you can even send a nudge to those who have not yet responded.

Questions to ask your wedding photographer

So, you are in the process of searching for a wedding photographer. You may have a few great photographers in mind and have several meetings set up, but are struggling with exactly what kind of questions to ask them. The first thing you should think about is how you want to remember your wedding day. Create a descriptive list of how you want your special day captured, such as the mood you want to feel and even write specific photos you may be looking forward to most. Do you see a trend in these? What, or who, are most of these photos of? This can help decide what you are really looking for in a photographer.

Here are a few starter questions you should ask your potential wedding photographer, which can help narrow down who is the right fit for you.

  1. What is your style of photography? You should already know if the photographer has a similar style to what you are looking for, (light & airy, colorful, dark & moody, etc). Hearing how they describe their own style approach should also match what you are looking for, (Traditional, Artistic, Editorial, Documentary, Authentic etc).

  2. Do you include a second photographer? I include a second photographer in every package I offer because I feel this is so important and 100% worth it.

  3. Is additional hourly coverage available and what is the cost?

  4. Is an engagement session included?

  5. How many images will I receive and what is the turnaround time for the photos? Make sure you are actually okay with this turnaround time and see if you will be receiving any sneak peeks.

  6. Are prints or an album included?

  7. What is the emergency plan if you are not able to photograph the wedding? There should always be a back up plan. Unfortunately, emergencies happen and there should be a clear understanding and direct wording in the contract which states this information.

  8. Have you ever shot at my venue? - If the answer is “yes,” ask them to send an example gallery so you can have an idea of what to expect. If the answer is “no,” ask to see a similar wedding they have shot.

  9. What is the booking process? Make sure there is an official contract you are comfortable with.

  10. Is there a deposit? When is final payment due?

These are a few technical questions to get you started with your meeting. You should also make sure to ask some personal questions and to see if you are comfortable around them and genuinely trust them. You will most likely spend more time with your photographer the day of your wedding then you will with your own spouse.