The tree is lit, the table is set. We are waiting for family to arrive. Music quietly plays in the background and my daughters laughs echo in my ear. All the sites and sounds telling me “It’s Christmas!”
To me, Christmas is never about the gifts. Sure, as a kid I loved that part and I love to watch my daughter open hers, but to me Christmas is about getting together with family. Laughing and talking. Enjoying food, the occasional drink and merriment. Let’s face it, the older you get the harder it is to get everyone together. But in the end Christmas is a time to focus on what you have in front of you. Christmas is about family.
With the birth of my daughter Christmas has also had a reboot in my life. I’ve always been partial to Halloween. I mean, owning a haunted house and a prop company, Halloween sort of took over our lives. As much as my daughter loves ghosts and costumes, the light of Christmas is bright in her eyes. There’s just something magical about Christmas to a child, and watching that happen in my daughter has given me a brand new appreciation for the holiday. (I may have even bought a Christmas decoration before Halloween, but don’t tell my husband).
Before her we didn’t decorate for Christmas. It was just a lot of work for two people, and we didn’t entertain at our place, so we opted to not do it. Now we do it all. The tree, the stockings, the outdoor display, the gingerbread house. Everything. To her it is all new and magical and I can appreciate things so much more. Now we have started to show her our family traditions and starting some new ones. My biggest tradition is “Christmas Bakeoff insert year here”. I love to bake, that’s a fact. For nearly a week before Christmas I make a new cookie/candy every night, and hope they all last to delivery on the big day. Every year I make one called a buckeye from an old family recipie. Tonight Kahlan helped for the first time with the rolling. I may have gotten a little misty eyed. Just look at how yummy!
The holidays certainly do change as you get older and they can easily lose their magic. As you get older you realize how incredibly important it is to take time away from work and the craziness of the holidays to just be together. How incredibly important it is for my daughter.
Christmas magic was worked its way back into my heart, and I hope that you and your family feel that magic this year too. With that I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
For some people seeing your partner at the altar for the first time is a tradition they want to uphold. It can be a truly meaningful experience you want to share with your guests. But over the past few years, it has become just that, a thing of the past. Nowadays a “First Look” is the way to go. But a lot of people get caught up in how un-traditional it is and don’t give it a shot in their planning.
What is a First Look?
A first look is a special moment between the couple, where they see each other for the first time BEFORE the ceremony. It can happen with your bridal party and immediate family watching over. Or as I recommend, just between you two….and of course the photographer to capture every second of it. There are so many reasons why I think it’s a great idea to have a First Look on your wedding day, from more time with your guests, to less stress to get photos done. So let’s take a look at my top 10.
All the reasons to have a first look
10.) You get the most out of your photographer. With a first look, you get MORE photos! Your photographer is able to take the time to take more photos then they would be able to if they only had the cocktail hour to do so. Why not get more photos for your money?
9.) You can have your pictures taken anywhere you want. You can even have your pictures taken at multiple locations before the ceremony starts. Let’s say your heart is set on getting photos by the lake but there’s just no time to get there between the ceremony and reception. Enter the First Look.
8.) Daylight. Yep, lighting is a perk of a First Look. If your ceremony starts in the afternoon, and your photos are being done afterward, you are now racing the light. If you do your photos before, you get beautiful natural light that isn’t fading. It can completely change the look and feel of your photos, just ask your photographer.
7.) Walking down the aisle can be nerve-wracking. Am I going to trip? Is my veil on straight? Am I smiling too much? Not enough? Did my parents get to the right seat in the front? Am I giving the right reaction to seeing my partner for the first time? Am I doing this right? I’ve personally had a groom that was so nervous to give the right “reaction” that it completely calmed his nerves when they decided to do a First Look. The stress of “getting it right”, all 30 seconds of it, can sometimes get in the way of enjoying it. A First Look gives you the opportunity to control the situation and not feel the pressure of all of your guest’s eyes on you. And by the time you walk down the aisle, your jitters will be gone, and you can truly enjoy the moment.
6.) You are guaranteed to capture “the look”. Capturing the first time your partner sees you during the ceremony is really difficult. There are so many variables. And if you only have a single shooter, who are they going to focus on? Having a first look means that THE shot is going to happen. Everything is set up and planned. The photographer can get the perfect angle, leading to the perfect shot.
5.) You get time alone. So often is the case that things are timed so that there is very little breathing room for the couple. You don’t want to keep your guests waiting, right? So you rush from one thing to the next, getting pulled and pushed in multiple directions. With a first look, you get those moments alone, together. Probably one of the only moments you will get alone together until the day is done.
4.) It gives you more time for photos, plain and simple. Traditionally photos happen during the cocktail hour. That means your photographer has about 45 minutes to get all of your photos done. And that’s if you are having everything in one location. If there is traveling involved you now have to figure that time in there too. A First Look is planned to give you 2-3 hours to take photos. That also means you can have more FUN taking your photos. Who doesn’t like having FUN?
3.) Cocktails and Mingling. With all of the photos out of the way, you can actually enjoy your cocktail hour mingling with guests and thanking them for attending.
2.) There’s time to relax before the ceremony. Yes, sometimes it can mean an earlier start time, but when you are done with your first look and initial photos, you can relax again. Enjoying the entire day together with some close friends.
1.) Your ceremony will start on time. With my couples, I always add in extra time for those “running late” moments. Add into that your First Look, and you’ll be sitting around waiting for your wedding to start. It really comes down to the first look, and of course my amazing time management skills. But really, a first look gets everything started off on the right foot to run smoothly and on time.
So there you have it. It still may not be your cup of tea, but at least you took the time to consider it. And maybe if we sit down and chat about it in person, I can help ease any more fears you have about it. Contact me now and let’s set up a time.
Diana is a Cleveland Wedding Planner serving all of Northeast Ohio.