April 16, 2020

This is a very popular topic and a question that I get often from my clients. Should I go with a traditional timeline or a first look timeline? What might surprise you is that I really do not care which type of timeline you go with! The bottom line is that as your photographer, I am there to serve you and your dream of a wedding in whatever way best fits you. Of course, there are some benefits and drawbacks that come with both types of timelines which is what I will be going over below. Other than that, it is entirely up to you! You get to decide what works best for you and your wedding day and I will gladly support it.


Benefits of a Traditional Timeline:

  • It’s classic and has been around forever!
  • A big reveal in front of all the guests that is dramatic and might include tears.
  • Might be what you’ve been dreaming of since you were little.
  • Works well if guests have to drive to a separate reception location after the ceremony.

This is historically what has been most common and traditional at weddings for decades. It’s classic, simple, and expected by guests. It’s also a really big moment that can be incredibly joyous and filled with tears on both sides. In fact, guests love to see an emotional aisle walk and it’s often the highlight of the day. Many couples have envisioned this since they were young and can’t picture doing it any other way. If that is the case for you, then go for it! It also works well if your reception is at a separate location. While you are finishing up the portraits after the ceremony, guests are entertained with a drive so there is no lull time.


Drawbacks of a Traditional Timeline:

  • Draws a lot of attention to you as a couple.
  • Requires a long gap in the timeline between the end of your ceremony and the beginning of your reception.
  • Typically means that guests have to wait a long time to see you.
  • Photo-heavy end of the day.
  • Might require you to budget for a cocktail hour or extra food/entertainment to keep guests busy.

If you tend to be a shy individual, this type of timeline may not be the best fit for you. It can be very intimidating to react to seeing your future spouse for the first time in front of hundreds of people. It also often requires there to be a minimum of 2 hours between the ceremony ending and the reception starting dedicated to taking a majority of the portraits. This isn’t necessarily bad but it means that guests will have to wait a long time to see you which can make some of them kind of grumpy. And because most of the photos have to be crammed within those 2 hours, your cheeks might hurt from having to smile so much in that short amount of time. If you do decide to go this route, you will certainly need a cocktail hour, food/horderves to satisfy hungry guests, and some entertainment to help them forget how long they have been waiting.


Benefits of a First Look Timeline:

  • Get to see your fiance earlier in the day which means more time is spent together.
  • It allows for the majority of photos to happen before the ceremony.
  • Get to spend more time with guests after the ceremony instead of having to take photos.
  • Photos are more evenly spread throughout the day instead of crammed into 2 hours.
  • A more intimate special moment between you and your fiance.
  • Works great with weddings where receptions and ceremonies are located at the same place.

If I had to pick one type of timeline that I leaned towards most often, it would probably be this one. Just because it typically allows for a better timeline that helps serve my clients and their guests. This is also a great opportunity to enjoy a private moment in the craziness of the day with your future spouse. Couples who love this timeline enjoy the fact that they get to spend more time with their fiance and that it helped calm their nerves before the ceremony. With you seeing each other so early in the day, it allows for the majority of photos to be done before the ceremony meaning you get to spend more time with your guests enjoying the reception. This timeline works really well if your ceremony and reception locations are in the same place because no one has to drive anywhere and can spend even more time together.


Drawbacks of a First Look Timeline:

  • Not very traditional.
  • It might be weird for family members who are used to traditional weddings.
  • May not have as dramatic of an aisle walk since you’ve already seen each other.
  • You do see each other before the ceremony.

This type of timeline is fairly new (maybe the last 15 years?) so it isn’t exactly traditional or historical. It might mean that you may not have as big of a reaction in front of guests as you would with a traditional timeline. This isn’t bad but a possibility nonetheless. Sometimes a couple’s parents or family think it is unusual and may not be super happy about it so that’s something to consider.


Whichever timeline you are considering, I am happy to help narrow down and discuss it further. Part of my services come with actually drawing up physical timelines so that you can envision your day as well as stick to a timeline that makes portraits easy to get and well thought out. I have tons of experience with both kinds and many, many happy couples who have gone both routes. Just reach out if you need further assistance in picking your type of timeline. I am happy to help in whatever way that I can!


What Type Of Wedding Timeline Should You Choose?

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"To say Lex was the easiest to work with would be an understatement. She makes your sessions so personal, is very easy to talk to, and her work is seriously top notch. We will be using her for every event possible from here on out. She made our wedding such an ease and was so amazing to work with! She is fantastic and I would recommend her to anyone!"

- Tanner + Jenna

"Lex is absolutely amazing to work with and a joy to be around. The images she captured from our big day are stunning. We would be thrilled with only a few of the photos that’s how beautiful they are. Will forever be thankful for her being a part of our special day."

- Kyle + Hillary

"Lex immediately made us feel relaxed at our engagement session, which continued over to the wedding day. She is so laid back, has amazing ideas and makes sure to incorporate what you want in your photos as well. She is fun to be around and makes the day special! Great quality photos- just beautiful- and great price for what you get. Cannot recommend her enough!

- Gabe + Tess

"Lex was a great photographer to work with for our wedding! She has such a great talent for making the pictures feel effortless. Leading up to the wedding, she gave suggestions about the day of timeline in order to keep things moving, and it helped to take some of the planning stress off of us. I would definitely recommend Lex for anyone looking for a photographer in the Indianapolis area!"

- Mike + Allison