A few weeks ago, we were interviewed by one of Denver’s finest catering companies. One of their questions was, “Which wedding trend are you looking forward to this spring and summer?” Without hesitation, we immediately answered: the first look.
The first look is simply when the bride and groom see each other in a secluded area without any distractions for the first time before the wedding ceremony. This is usually scheduled and prepared by the wedding photographer and is typically far enough away from all the hustle and bustle of pre-wedding events. What initially started out as a great photo opportunity, has quickly turned into a beautiful, organic, and intimate moment in time for a couple on their wedding day to spend a little time together with their best friend before the craziness of the wedding begins. The more first looks we have had the honor of being a part of, the more we value this time for the couple as it’s usually the only time they have alone on their big day.
To be clear, I am in no way trying to undermine the beauty of tradition and waiting until the altar. In fact, Mike and I opted for tradition ourselves, first seeing each other on our wedding day at the altar. My aim is to simply shed light on a relatively new tradition in the wedding industry and offer some considerations to couples who may be on the fence about seeing each other before the wedding ceremony.
The history of waiting until the altar dates back to the times when a father would sell his daughter to a man in the name of marriage to pay off debt, or just make a few bucks. The bride and groom weren’t allowed to see each other until the altar for the sole reason that the groom couldn’t bolt if she wasn’t his type/ugly/had a crazy disease. Seriously, that’s where this tradition began. Since the good ol’ days, it’s become a tradition to wait until the alter for the bride and groom to see each other. However, with the hectic nature of a wedding, many couples are opting for a first look.
Curious to hear the opinions of the couples who did opt for a first look, I decided to interview couples who we’ve had the honor of working with and being a part of their special moment. Hopefully their insight will help you make a decision if you’re consider whether or not a first look is for you!
A couple in love at Red Rocks in the winter is probably one of my favorite things of all time! Bekah and Wes were such awesome troopers during their winter engagement shoot at Red Rocks a couple weeks ago. We are so excited for their big day this fall and can’t wait to be a part of it all! Thank you so much, Bekah and Wes!
I think it’s safe to say we are so excited for Sammi and Mark’s big day! After getting engaged in New Orleans just a few months ago, these two have been at it planning for their big day and we are so excited to be a part of it all. Thanks so much for braving the cold and knee deep snow, you two! You rock and are true Coloradans! We’d also love to extend an incredibly huge THANK YOU to Mark for serving our country in the United States Army and to Sammi for being by his side through it all. We sincerely appreciate your services and sacrifices for our freedom.
Enjoy your photos and bring on September 2015!
Taylor + Mike
When you chat with anyone about their wedding day, whether they’ve been married for 3 months or 47 years, the conversation almost always leads to a proud display of photos. Photographs always have and always will be one of the most nostalgic and precious memories you’ll have from your wedding. Being a bride and a photographer, I’d love to extend some advice on how to choose the person who is best for you! Keep in mind, it’s more than just photos you’re paying for. You’re also investing in peace of mind, guidance, expertise, and an experience. Using these tips will help alleviate some stress for you in the grand and overwhelming search for the perfect wedding photographer!
1. Do Your Research
Good photographers (and bad ones for that matter) tend to create a buzz and a reputation wherever they go and in the lives they touch. Create a list of characteristics and qualities you’re looking for in a photographer and company: do you want to work with a single photographer, or would you prefer two photographers to capture different angles of each moment? Is their website professional and easy to navigate? Do you see a dozens of couples showcased, or do you see one or two couples showcased several dozen times? This can be indicative of their experience and the number of weddings they have shot.
2. Determine Your Personal Style
Each photographer has a specific way they see the world and how they capture that vision. Some photographers have a staged, fine-art style, while others have a more candid, photojournalistic approach that aims to capture and tell a story. Photographers can have several variations of editing styles as well, with some opting for a muted, vintage-style look, and others preferring vibrant colors and higher contrast. Choose the style and look that best represents your personalities and filter your options to photographers who specialize in that area. This will help you easily narrow down whose work you feel drawn to and the style that will best represent and accurately capture your wedding day.
3. Evaluate Their Work
When looking through a photographer’s album, look closely for standard-industry factors, such as clarity, colors, exposure, composition, and focus. Look for common threads and consistency in their editing (adventurous, stylized, candid, posed). Pay attention to how comfortable the people in the images appear and determine if you can see yourself in those images. Hearing couples tell us that our images look relaxed, natural, and happy is the greatest compliment we can receive, as we always aim to make our shoots as fun and as comfortable as possible.
4. Professionalism & Personality
Professionalism in the photography industry is a must, and you can often gauge a photographer’s professionalism from the very first phone call or e-mail. Your wedding day will only happen once, so it’s critical that you choose a photographer you can have absolute trust in. An experienced photographer will know when to offer sound advice on images, locations, timelines, and even other vendors. Be sure to ask questions about how many weddings they’ve shot, their familiarity with your venue, whether they scout out venues prior to the wedding, if they have backup cameras in case of equipment failure, proof of liability insurance, and any other questions that will provide you with reassurance on your wedding day. Feel free to ask questions about their personality as well: is photography their full time job? Why are they passionate about wedding photography? What did they learn from their own wedding day? Their personality is equally as important as their professionalism, which leads us to the final tip…
5. Interview & Reviews
The importance of meshing and having a genuine connection with your photographer cannot be overstated. You don’t have to plan on inviting them to your baby shower (although we love when that happens), but you should feel a sense of comfort and happiness with them. A wedding-industry professional should have a servant heart and mentality, and it’s worth taking the time to find a photographer who lives for their career and for the happiness of others. A photographer with a servant heart is just as interested in the relationship as they are about delivering the highest standard of images. They will live and capture your entire wedding day with you, often spending more time with you than your own family or bridal party. And on the most exciting day of your life, you’ll want your photographer to be your friend in addition to being a professional.
On an ending note, don’t forget to pay attention to reviews from other brides and grooms. Website testimonials may only showcase the best reviews, but Facebook and Google reviews can shed light on the good as well as the bad. They also can’t be edited or deleted to the photographer’s liking, so the words are honest and valuable. Rest assured, if a photographer has thirty 5-star reviews, it’s not because they went through and deleted all the bad ones. It’s because thirty couples were thrilled with their experience and the quality of their photos—and that’s worth more than any words said by the photographer themselves.
Mike said it best when he said, “If Hawaii and Alaska had a baby, it would be New Zealand.” Before we got engaged, Mike and I were totally sold on heading to New Zealand for our honeymoon. However, as many of you know, weddings add up fast. Once we budgeted our honeymoon in we were about $15,000 over what we were planning on. No thank you! We refused to go into debt for our wedding or our honeymoon.
After some serious planning and pact making, we decided that we were going to create a plan of a very strict (and very conservative) wedding budget and continue searching for a way to New Zealand. This took some intense diligence and preparation. Our search ended quite quickly when we discovered an insanely awesome package deal to NZ which revolved around a road trip on the south island, a 3 day layover in Laguna Beach, and a 2 day layover in Fiji. We were elated and booked it immediately! While we were pretty spaced out from jetlag in Fiji, once we got to Christchurch, NZ, we were ready to hit the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of the car and travel this awesome country! We are so thankful to have had this experience and it definitely lit a fire under us as we are already planning our big trip to Iceland in May 2015 (photos to follow)! Enjoy our favorite shots from our epic adventure!
Mike and Taylor
Honeymooning Highlights || 6 THINGS TO DO WHILE HONEYMOONING IN NEW ZEALAND
• See the Remarkables in Queenstown and/or ride the gondola to the top of the city of Queenstown
• Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Tekapo
• Rent a car and watch your husband learn to drive in a roundabout on the wrong side of the road and car
• Horseback ride in Glenorchy and/or Christchurch and hearing about the filming of The Lord of The Rings
• Hiking in a rainforest or visit the glacier in Franz Josef
• Eating amazing food for 10 straight days!
Watching these two interact with each other is like watching puppies run through an open field in the fall at sunset. Jason’s satirical humor and witty personality had all of us laughing during their engagement shoot, but especially Becky. We’d catch Becky and Jason exchanging loving glances at each other the whole morning, and we were lucky enough to be able to capture their sincere love. These two are some of the most amazing and genuine people we’ve ever met and we feel so blessed to be a part of their engagement season. When I asked them what they’re most looking forward to for their wedding, in unison and on point they both looked at each other, smiled, and said, “To be married!” We love the love that they share. Despite the heartache of losing her grandpa the days before their engagement shoot, Becky and Jason both agreed that they just needed some time to be together laughing in the mountains. We are so thankful for you two and for your beautiful relationship!
Taylor & Mike
We are so thrilled to announce that one of our biggest and most exciting changes in 2015 is our newest addition to our business, album design! For those of you who don’t think this is huge, guess again! More and more, we are realizing the nostalgia that prints provide and the importance of making sure your images don’t just sit on a computer desktop and social media. Initially, before our own wedding, Mike and I thought we didn’t need prints, the computer would do just fine. However, once our images were delivered to us, our first statement was, “How are we going to pick which ones to print?!” Our mindset immediately went to albums and having something tangible for our children and grandchildren to look through in thirty, fifty, maybe even seventy years! Our computers won’t be around much longer than the end of this decade, much less in fifty years. However, our albums will.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be mailing out information to all of our 2015 couples about these beautiful albums. We’ll also be doing a promotion for a FREE album as well as a FREE parent album later this year! In the meantime, feel free to let us know if you have any questions or would like to meet up for a drink and look through our samples.
Mike & Tay
THE GENUINE LEATHER BOOK
THE PERFECT WEDDING BOOK
We love referrals. It is hands down the biggest compliment and nothing feels better for a photographer than knowing someone referred you to someone they love, especially for such a wonderful event as a wedding! So, needless to say, when one of our favorite families in the world referred their sister and her fiance to us for their big wedding day, we were already excited about their wedding, their marriage, and their friendship before we even met Amanda and Josh! These two are some of the most fun loving and adventurous people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. They both moved to Colorado, looking for adventure and they eventually found each other. With Howie by their side, they met me early on a January morning up at Mt. Falcon for their beautiful engagement shoot––and boy was it worth it!
Amanda and Josh, we are so excited for your big day this fall! Thank you so much for being such a blast to spend time with and for being such an awesome couple!
When a couple plans their wedding for a wintery Rocky Mountain January, it’s pretty safe to assume that they’re snow bunnies. For Brittany and Dan, that was definitely the case and more! They met through friends and their avid love of skiing. Trips to the mountains turned into car-pooling to the mountains, which turned into (*GASP*) skipping a trip to the mountains just to spend some time together. Eventually, all these ski trips and adventures turned into Dan surprising Brittany with a beautiful proposal while she was on Ski Patrol in Loveland (ironic, I think not…)
Their sweet attention to every single detail of their wedding brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. Brittany wore her mama’s wedding dress, and even her veil for a few photos! Dan made his boutonnieres and they got married at Terrace Gardens at Dove Valley, where Brittany’s father is the owner. Every moment, detail, and element of their wedding was full of emotion and true bliss. Mr. & Mrs. Hallau, thank you so much for having us be a part of your absolutely wonderful wedding and congratulations!
Mike & Taylor
Dan + Brittany’s First Look Interview
What are your thoughts about your experience with the first look?
We both are really happy we did the first look! It was really nice to have our special first look moment be more low-key than if it had been during the ceremony, and it was so nice to be able to just feel natural and have a little time together enjoying the moment without having everyone watching us or feeling like we had to do anything at all in particular at that moment. We could just be together and enjoy the moment and all the excitement and emotion of our special day.
How do you feel it changed, if at all, your walk down the aisle?
I think it made me more relaxed walking down the aisle. There was already so much emotion going on during both moments (the first look and the walk down the aisle) I think it would have been overwhelming to put the two together. It didn’t make the walk down the aisle any less special at all for me. I think I would have cried too much if it had all been together, and then I might have not enjoyed the moment as much since I would have been trying to not cry so much with everyone watching.
Did your family conflict with your decision to do a first look?
They didn’t really object to it much–honestly I can’t remember too much about that. I think they liked the idea of being able to do most of the photos before the ceremony, and they agreed that it was a great way to be able to enjoy more of the wedding with our guests.
What made it special?
Do you feel it made a difference in your photos?
Yes I think it made the photos more fun and relaxed. If we would have waited until after the ceremony to get all the shots of us together, I think we would have felt rushed, since we also would have wanted to go spend time with our guests. The photos turned out wonderful, and I think it definitely helped that we didn’t feel like we had to rush. It made the photo-taking experience a really fun part of the wedding day, instead of feeling like it was something we knew we wanted to do but didn’t have time to fit everything in. I think we probably got more wonderful shots of the two of us and us with our families and bridal party because we were able to do them before the ceremony.
If you had to do it all over again, would you?
YES! Definitely. From the relaxed and romantic feel, to the logistical bonus of being able to do lots of photos before the ceremony, it was great idea and great experience!
What was the single most memorable moment of your first look?
I really remember reaching up to tap Dan on the shoulder, and then being so excited when he turned around and smiled and then we were both crying and hugging and kissing. And I remember twirling around to show him my dress!
Aside from the first look, do you feel like you had much time to yourselves on your wedding day?
We did have some time just to ourselves, but not a ton. We did go with the “sweetheart” table at dinner, which gave us some time just the two of us during dinner, and of course we spent time dancing together 🙂 , but it all went so fast and there was not a ton of time just the two of us. The first look and the nice time spent doing our couples photos were a really great part of our wedding day time together!
We are so excited to be sharing in the excitement of wedding planning with Jenny and Chris and had such a blast with these two at their beautiful and blissful engagement shoot last weekend. Everything about this January afternoon was perfect and despite Jenny’s comments that she’s a “weather weenie”, she and Chris had us cracking up and having a blast with them! Thanks so much for having us be a part of this journey with you two and document you’re incredible love for each other.
Mike & Tay