Advice for a First Look and Photos before ceremony

posted 3 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
789 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Only our bridal party and parents will be at the first look. We’re doing pics with everyone else after the ceremony

Post # 4
8653 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

We didn’t do a first look, but I will say that if you can get shots crossed off the list before the ceremony, do it! You, and your family will want to enjoy as much of cocktail hour as you can!

Post # 5
7630 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

We did a first look like you described. We had our extended families meet up with us after the ceremony. 

Post # 6
218 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

My MOH has told me that the first look will be a private moment between me and my groom (I agree). Momma wasn’t so pleased with this. haha. Once our first look is done, we’ll do some shots with our parents and wedding party.

Post # 7
11668 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Our family portraits were done after our first look/before the ceremony.  Our first look was just us, then our parents came in while we were taking some couples shots. 


We didn’t actually take that many – just bridal party and parents/grandparents.  We ran out of time and I had no patience for the big family photos that I would never do anything with since you can’t see anyone’s face in them anyways.


Post # 8
1584 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Commenting to follow, as I want to get all the pics out of the way before cocktail hour too. I’m paying for all of us to have cocktail hour, I’ll be damned if 20 of 60 guests miss it for pictures!


Post # 9
789 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@MrsWBS:  I tried my hardest to nit have to take thr family portraits. FI’s famimy is so big and I don’t want to deal with it 🙁

Post # 10
320 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

My wife and I had our first look and then went to the ceremony… we did bridal parties, bridals, and family formals during cocktail hour 🙂 We had originally wanted to do bridal party photos before the ceremony but we wouldn’t be able to take them without our guests peeking. I actually liked the way it ended up… it was a more personal moment and special! 

Post # 11
710 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We did him with the GMs and me getting ready way early, around 3PM, at the hotel. Then, First Look at 4:30PM (which takes all of 5 minutes, if that). Right after that, we started doing WP shots and me with the BMs. After the 6:30PM ceremony, we did family stuff (parents, grandparents, siblings, godparents), but for extended family, we just did one picture of everyone on my side that came. Then, during the reception, we did one shot of his mom’s side with us, and one shot of his dad’s side with us (I don’t have a dad’s side, so that’s why there was only one for me). It all worked out perfectly.

Post # 12
2174 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

We did our first look, all bridal party and all family photos before the ceremony… It was wonderful, because everyone looked great, was excited and fresh.

After the reception, DH and I spent about an hour with the photographer out and about in the city taking more casual, romantic and unposed shots.

Post # 13
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2006

Things that can go wrong with family photos – 

  • a key family member who is supposed to be in multiple photos goes missing
  • people are uncooperative or generally do not understand that you’re on a time table and/or don’t want to be standing out there forever
  • people wanting to invent their own combination of groupings before the main list is complete
  • family members standing behind the photographer taking the same photo as the photographer is taking (subjects get confused and eyeballs are all over the place)

As a photographer who has witnessed many a bride and groom completely melt down during this process, I’d suggest that you do whatever you can to make it as quick and efficient as possible.  I wouldn’t suggest doing multiple poses of the same combination, you generally are lucky to get one shot where everyone’s eyes are open simultaneously and looking in the right direction even if the photographer takes 3 or more shots.  If doing something different or artistic is important to you, include time for it after you gotten the basics accomplished.  Few people have the patience for family photos, and most groupings take at least 2 minutes to finish.

Post # 14
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@ajillity81:  maybe multiple poses for the wedding party but not your family. I’ve never seen that done. I think you’d have some confused family members and youd hear ” we already did that one” many times. Weddings aren’t the time to get fancy with families. One nice shot with eyes open and mouths shut is an accomplishment! 

Post # 16
1631 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@ajillity81:  We are attemping to do ALL of our pics before the ceremony.

We don’t want to have a long wait for guests in-between the ceremony and the reception (all at the same place). So we will do all of our bride/groom, bridal party and family pics beforehand then we will only need a few minutes after to get a few extras.

I was at a wedding once where we did 4 hours of pics. No. Way.

Leave a comment

Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors