Tips for Brides and Grooms Wedding

The One Instance Where You Need a First Look

The One Instance Where You Need a First Look by Temecula Wedding Photographer Courtney McManaway Photography

THE FIRST LOOK! If you’re a bride or groom starting the process of planning your wedding day, you’ve probably run across this term!

What is a first look?

A first look is when a couple chooses to see each other before the ceremony. There are a few distinct advantages, mainly that this means they will get more portraits on their wedding day! The couples I work with that choose a first look often also have all their family portraits taken after their first look. So their cocktail hour can mainly be bridal party and couple portraits, OR sometimes couples really want to spend cocktail hour with their family and friends. A wedding day timeline is all about your priorities and making the day work for you!

That said, there’s one scenario where I strongly recommend a first look:

When your wedding date takes place during standard time (November – Januaryish)

Why this arbitrary date range? Well, let’s say you’re getting married in mid-November in Temecula. The sunset time in mid-November is about 4:45. So, if you want your ceremony to take place overlooking the vineyard during sunset, you’re probably going to start your ceremony 3:45 or 4:00. This means that once your ceremony wraps up, and you take in a few minutes getting hugs and congrats from your wedding guests, you’re going to be left with precious few minutes to get all your family photos, bridal party photos, and finally couple portraits (I usually recommend a total of 2 hours for all of this).

The other reason it’s important is that most couples choose their venue in some way because they love the natural beauty. As a wedding photographer now for over a decade, I’m prepared for all kinds of lighting scenarios. But the one thing I can’t do is light your entire venue, or a pretty field next to the ceremony site, or the entire vineyard in the background behind you.

This is why I work really closely with my couples on helping them to develop a timeline that meets their needs. I know when my husband and I chose our own wedding date, we didn’t think about the sunset at all! We had a June wedding so fortunately we had lots of sunlight. With fall or winter weddings, you definitely want to be more aware of the sunset time.

If you really don’t want a first look, I’d recommend starting your ceremony 2 to 2 and a half hours before sunset. This will ensure you have more time on the backside of your ceremony to get all those amazing images!

Temecula Wedding Planning Resources

If you’re planning your Temecula wedding, I have some great resources below for you!

How to Get Married in Temecula – an especially fantastic guide if you’re planning your Temecula wedding from a distance!

Best Temecula Wedding Venues – Temecula is known for its wineries, but there’s also a number of estates, farms and elegant settings for your big day!

Getting a Marriage License in Temecula – not as exciting as picking out your wedding dress or rings, but I promise, signing your marriage license is fun!