More and more weddings are starting to compress their days into a smaller and smaller time spans in order to save money, which is totally understandable. As a photographer, our standard package includes 8 hours, but even then, many weddings barely cram in all that they want to do within that time frame.
So, a common question I always hear is, “How long do you guys need for your couples session? Is 30 minutes enough?”
Now, in a nice and relaxed wedding, the photographer will steal the couple away during the cocktail hour, but that is not always the case. Whether because of the length of the day (winter or summer), or because of the venue restrictions, not many couples have oodles of time for their couples session/cocktail hour. And when you have to take beautiful couples photos in under 30 minutes, being rushed never helps.
To circumvent this issue, many couples have started doing First Looks, which is basically letting the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony. Now, depending on how you schedule out your day with your coordinator, time can be made beforehand for the couples session. Even if we’re not able to bang out a full portrait session before the ceremony, just having a set of photos beforehand really relieves the stress of having to capture it all during the cocktail hour.
I know that First Looks go against the grain in terms of tradition, but the way they are done now really allows you to create a separate, more private and intimate moment with your spouse-to-be. It can be a win-win situation.
As always, it’s up to the couple (really, the bride) to determine what they want and we always work within their preferences. First Looks are not what we push to our brides for the sake of convenience. However, if you’re in a bind while planning out your wedding and you can’t seem to find any extra minutes anywhere, then maybe having a First Look is a good option for you and your vendors.