You might remember these two from their engagement session last year. We had a great time then so I knew we'd have have no problems come wedding day. Sure enough, Candace and Jared had a perfect day from start to finish. We started off getting ready in Destrehan before party buses whisked everybody off to City Park for the ceremony and reception. I had the bonus pleasure of seeing several couples from previous weddings and catching up what everybody was doing. Congrats to Candace and Jared!
What a year! With my 2012 weddings all wrapped up, I wanted to look back at some of the awesome couples that I got to photograph. Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order. Thanks to all the couples I got to spend time with and the other photographers I've worked with for making all this happen. 2013 is going to be an unforgettable year. In addition to a whole bunch of personal travel, I've already got spring weddings booked in four states. For those of you shopping around for photographers, check out the Contact page now and get in on the good times!
Recognize these two? Well if you've read every single post on this blog like you should have then you'd know that I had the pleasure shooting their actual proposal last year. It's so much fun to get to be a part of such an exciting time in people's lives! After shooting the proposal, the engagement session was easy. No nerves, no thunderstorms. It was a beautiful day in City Park to wander around the oaks and fight off other photographers for the best spots. Other photogs may have gotten to some cool spots first, but you know what they didn't have? A couple that would climb trees. And throw leaves at each other because I half-jokingly mention it. And a little dog that we fed a container full of turkey to. Winner - me. (And Tiff and Mike do get some nice pictures, so I guess they win, too.)
Whenever I talk with somebody about their wedding schedule I ask the question "So are you doing a first look?" Some couples giggle and say "Yes!" Other couples do that thing where they look at each because one person wants to and the other doesn't so they say "we haven't decided yet." Some people just look at me with panic in their eyes like "What is this first look? I've got so many details to plan and I keep discovering more things I need to do and omg, why didn't I go to Vegas?" For those in group one - high five, you're all set. Group two - I don't want to start any arguments, but read on if you want the perspective of somebody who has seen things done both ways a bunch of times. Group three - relax, I'll explain below. And there's still time to go to Vegas, but take me with you. What is a First Look?
Tradition has it that the first time that the bride and groom should see each other on their wedding day is when she appears at the end of the aisle and makes her way toward him. When she makes it to the alter there is literally an unveiling. I'll let you do your own research into all the symbolism behind this... Anyway, after they see one another they might have another hour or more of mass, ceremonial exits, and greeting lines before they (maybe) get a moment to themselves. More than likely, they'll jump right into pictures and then head off to the reception without a break.
A first look is a newer tradition. A private location will be chosen where the groom is taken to wait for his bride. There isn't a room full of people here, just the groom and the photographer (and occasionally videographer or a close friend or two). The bride will walk up behind the groom and tap him on the shoulder so he knows to turn around and see his lady in her gorgeous dress for the first time, and she can see her guy (probably looking cleaner and better dressed than ever before). The beauty of this is that it's just them. There is no ceremony to jump into. No room full of eyes on them. No having to try to focus and repeat words. Just let things happen. Hug, kiss, smile, laugh, cry. This is the best time for it. It's also a great time to exchange personal letters or small gifts. If your wedding is like most, you won't get another private moment until after the reception is over.
In addition to what always turn out to be more intimate moments, there are practical elements to doing a first look. Just listing off a few things -
-You see each other when hair and make up are freshly done.
-It's unscripted, so you get to react and do whatever you want. (Not so much an option in church ceremonies) Hug each other. Do a little "we're getting married dance." Whatever, this is the time for it.
-More time for pictures! Seeing each other before the ceremony allows you to build in more time for some of the great creative portrait shots you're probably hiring me for. We'll also get more time to do the fun and creative pictures with your bridal party.
-You get more time with your friends and family. You've probably got lots of people that have come together for this party that you've spent a ton of time planning. I want you to spend time with them! Besides, if you know that there are a bunch of people enjoying your party without you then you'll probably be distracted and won't take as good of pictures anyway. If we've done pictures beforehand, then you get to spend more time with them and just having fun.
-Did I mention that it's more private? I can't stress enough that between first looks and the more traditional "first look at the ceremony," the private, pre-ceremony interactions tend to be incredibly more genuine and touching. People are simply more "real" when there's nobody watching.
The decision is ultimately up to you. I'll work with whatever you want to do, but since this will come up when we talk, I wanted to put something out there to give you some background on what it is. Be it in private or in front of your friends and family, the first time you see each other will always be great!
These two came to me after having some issues with another photographer. Or I should say it was the photographer who had issues because I guess they said they'd take four months to get pictures done and then stopped responding to emails. Four months is... a crazy long time. So I was really happy to jump in and help. Following their first look, they had a great ceremony and reception at City Park's Pavilion of the Two Sisters. I'm not gonna lie - they had an awesome candy bar and I ate way more gummy bears than I should have. Congrats to Samantha and Jared!
I generally politely decline most wedding invitation since I'm at them nearly every weekend, but Morgan's was one I'd heard a lot about well in advance. After receiving their save the dates (which were custom printed records), I knew I had to go. It was nothing short of spectacular, with multiple bands, beautiful set ups in the peristyle and the great lawn, fireworks displays, great food, cigar bar, silent film showing, a live painting by Frenchy, and some of the most elaborate floral installations I've ever seen. I snuck a couple of detail shots while I was there, but you can check out their actual pictures here.
Sometimes you just get lucky. I certainly did when these two hired me to photograph their elopement in New Orleans. My favorite sessions are always the more intimate ones where I get to spend time with couples and really get to see who they are. I spent a good six hours with Darin and Alicia, starting off before their ceremony in City Park. It was just the two of them, two of their friends to witness things, the officiant, and myself. Oh, and they set up a group Skype on the laptop so their parents could watch back home. After some heartfelt vows and celebratory "We're married!" dancing, we wandered off into the park as a trio to spend the rest of the day taking pictures and going around the city. They got to climb the trees in City Park, chat with the locals along the river, share a piece of cheesecake at Muriel's, and dance their first dance to the music of the street performers in Jackson Square. If you can't tell by the images, these two are a little bit quirky and totally into each other, both of which made for a fantastic day and some gorgeous pictures.