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In the planning stages, this is probably one of the top questions I get, and I will tell you– there is no right or wrong answer.  I think it’s all personal preference and I absolutely see and understand the why each option would be attractive in it’s own right.

The only time I will ever give my opinion and steer my clients towards one way or another is if the natural light is not on our side.  If you know me or have worked with me before, you know I’m constantly chasing light. So if you’re getting married during Daylight Savings Time (late October through March), the sun will likely be set by the time your ceremony commences.  In that case, I would highly recommend a First Look so we can capture your bride + groom, wedding party and family portraits outside in natural sunlight prior to your ceremony.
When it comes to a First Look, there are a few tid bits worth mentioning from a photographer, professional wedding-goer-every-weekend standpoint.  Again! I’m not picking sides here, but merely telling you what I’ve heard and seen from my experiences.
1.)  My brides and grooms who have done a first look always say that they feel so much more relaxed, like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders, after they see each other.
2.)  This might be your only alone time together… all day… Crazy right?  But it’s true.  Weddings are fun, exciting and can be a little hectic. You’re being rushed away from one location to another, and since you’re the center of attention, you’ll have family and friends surrounding you all day long.
3.)  You get to mingle, say your hello’s and celebrate your big day at cocktail hour.  Cheers to that!
4.)  In the end, you get more bride + groom portraits… and these are photos that are packed with one-on-one raw emotion.
As for the walk down the aisle, it’s traditional, it’s what you’ve probably always dreamed of and imagined.  There’s undoubtedly a sense of everlasting nostalgia involved with waiting, and in my opinion that feeling and memory has got to be priceless.
Still stuck and unsure?  Let’s chat about your schedule for the day.  That may help sway you one way or another.
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Unplugged Ceremonies are growing in popularity as Smart Phones, Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat become almost a way of life for us.  In the 3.5 years I’ve been shooting weddings, I’ve noticed that more and more people are hiding behind their phones during ceremonies, watching the bride through a (sometimes cracked) piece of glass, instead of being fully present in that moment.

Typically, an Unplugged Ceremony will have signage somewhere at the front of the aisle (there are a ton of great examples on Pinterest and Etsy), asking friends and family to keep their phones and cameras tucked away so they can be connected and present during the proceedings. Other times, the Officiant will ask everyone to turn their phones off and deliver a similar message.
What do I think?  I see both sides. There’s nothing worse than an overbearing aunt and uncle (Oohh yes, we’ve had them) that jumps in front of us all day; follows us around as we’re shooting, grabbing the same shots; has their massive iPad in the air the entire ceremony; or stands up in front of us during the first kiss so they can get the perfect shot.  In the contrary, I get that family and friends are genuinely excited to see you tie the knot, want to capture those moments so they have them and are likely impeding on our space without even realizing it.
If an Unplugged Ceremony is just too restrictive for your style, I totally get it.  We’ll continue to secretly cross our fingers and toes at the beginning of every wedding, hoping that guests can respect what we’re there hired to do and give us that freedom and ability to do so.
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Becky + Dan got married at the gorgeous Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, Massachusetts. They chose a mid-December wedding date, and while Mother Nature didn’t deliver snow, she did hit us with some freezing cold (negative) temperatures the day of.  These guys were total champs when it came to grabbing a few quick shots outdoors. We loved your laid back, go-with-the-flow personalities. Congrats to Becky + Dan on tying the knot!

Flowers:  Free Range Floral Design

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