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First Look vs. Traditional Wedding Timeline

Whether you've heard these terms before or have no idea what I'm talking about, we hope this information will be a good resource for all our brides out there trying to make important wedding decisions! Let's get into it...

First Look

What is it?

First look timelines are becoming more and more popular these days, so let me tell you why! A first look is when the couple opts to see each other before the ceremony. The timing looks different for every wedding, but this typically occurs 2-2 1/2 hours prior to the ceremony start time. Your photographer captures the special moment of you two seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day in an intimate setting. After these photos happen, the bridal party is brought in and wedding party photos commence! Next you get some shots with your immediate family members ie,... moms, dads, siblings. Then you get some time to rest, snack, and hangout before all your guests arrive. After the ceremony, couples usually take some time for extended family photos, these are typically your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and any friends you want professional photos with. Some couples also decide to take a few more photos with just the two of them after the ceremony as well, to get their newlywed photos.

Photography: Honeybee Weddings

Why we love it...

This particular wedding timeline structure allows for less of a time constraint for the wedding party and family photos. Since these are taking place before the ceremony, there is no real rush to get them done right before dinner while guests are getting anxious for dinner. It also allows for your photographer to really capture these precious moments in a much more intimate way than if you were walking down the aisle. It can help calm the nerves for the ceremony itself, since you will have gotten to touch base with your partner beforehand.

Why we hate it...

Hair and makeup have to be done earlier and on time! This most likely means, your day will start a lot earlier as well. With this, you also need to really consider how many people in your bridal party (bridesmaids, mothers, aunts, etc.) are getting hair and makeup done, because their beauty time will also need to be accounted for in this process.

Photography: Honeybee Weddings


What is it?

A traditional timeline is what most people are familiar with, bride and groom are hidden from each other until their eyes meet for the first time walking down the aisle. Very classic, very romantic. All the excitement, anxiety, and anticipation built up in one moment for all your guests to see. That may sound intimidating for some, but it is always such a beautiful moment to have so many witness this exchange between you two lovebirds!

Photography: Honeybee Weddings

Why we love it...

No real rush on hair and make up, which is a bright-side if you are hoping to get a few more hours of beauty sleep for your big day. And of course we love it simply for the fact that it is a very tradition rich ceremony style.

Why we hate it...

Of course this timeline leaves less time for newlywed and family photos, because they are having to be squeezed in between the end of the ceremony and the set time for dinner. If you are thinking of going this route, this is when it is crucial to have a great photographer and wedding planner or coordinator. If chosen correctly these two work together before they even meet for the big day to plan how to most efficiently time photos. When the day comes, the planner helps herd people and get them in the correct group combos for picture time, so everyone gets in and out as quickly as possible! This can make or break your photos and staying on schedule!

Photography: Honeybee Weddings

Below are example photography timelines for BOTH of these options. Also, be sure to check out our September Wedding at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake blog for more on why choosing the right photographer for YOU is so dang important. While your at it, our Why Hire a Wedding Planner blog offers more great reasons why this may be the right option for you and your honey!

First Look Wedding Timeline

1:00pm - Getting ready details & bride getting ready

1:30pm - Groom getting ready

1:45pm - Hair and makeup hard stop time

2:00pm - Bride getting in her dress

2:30pm - Bride and groom first look, individual portraits

3:30pm - Wedding party together & separate

4:00pm - Family portraits (Bride's fam first)

4:10pm - Combined sibling photo

4:20pm - Grooms Fam

4: 30pm - Bride & groom put away before ceremony

5pm - Ceremony

6:00pm - Dinner is served

6:45pm - Sunset photos with bride & groom

7:00pm - Cake Cutting

7:15pm - Toasts

7:30pm - First dances

7:45pm - Bouquet toss

9:45pm - Glow-sticks exit for photos

10:00pm - Photography team out

Photography: Honeybee Weddings

Traditional Wedding Timeline

1:30pm - Bride getting ready

1:45pm - Groom getting ready at White Raven

2:00pm - Groom + groomsmen portraits

2:15pm - Bride getting in her dress & bride portraits at White Raven

2:45pm - Kelsey K. & Dennis to get ceremony & reception details

3:00pm - Bride & bridesmaids portraits

3:45pm - Bride & groom check in - around the corner

3:45pm - Bride & groom put away before ceremony

4:15pm - Ceremony

4:45pm - Family portraits (Bride's Family first, then Groom's)

5:15 pm - Wedding party together

5:25pm - Bride & groom portraits

6:00pm - Bride & groom entrance

6:05pm - First dance

6:15pm - Welcome toast

6:30pm - Dinner is served

7:00pm - Sunset photos with bride & groom - sooner the better - possibly 6:45pm

7:30pm - Toasts

7:45pm - Father/dance & mother/son

8:00pm - Cake

8:05pm - Open Dancing

9:30pm - Star photos

10:45pm - Sparkler Exit & last dance with everyone out!

11:00pm - Photography team out

Photography: Honeybee Weddings


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