Winter Wedding in Boston :: Seaport Winter Garden Atrium + Mistral Restaurant :: Becky + Duke (Part II)

Annnnnnnnd....I'm back. Yes, back from the shoveling of the snow. Here's the thing, shoveling is fine as long as you have somewhere to put the snow. Once the snow banks are over your head it starts getting a bit miserable. Anyhoo. This is a blog about wedding photography so I'll spare you my shoveling sob story.

Yesterday I shared some pictures of Becky getting ready **here** and so today it only seems fair that you get to meet Duke:

Way back last year when Becky booked me we talked about the wedding timeline and it soon became clear that doing a first look would be a great idea. We also figured out that due to the sun setting early pushing the ceremony forward by just 30 minutes would give us a wonderful "outdoor" wedding feel despite it being January, thanks to the light and airy feel in the Seaport Winter Garden Atrium:

For those new to the blog or to wedding photography in general you might be thinking what is a first look? It's essentially a private moment for the wedding couple to see each other alone before the wedding ceremony, it then enables them to do the majority of "formal" pictures before the ceremony so they can celebrate with their friends and family at cocktail hour and the reception.

I usually find a good place for the groom to relax and then have the bride come in to meet him. I like to stay as far away as possible so they can talk amongst themselves so I'll use long lenses:

I recently was emailing back and forth with one of my 2011 brides who was trying to decide whether or not to do a first look (hello Bridget, I hope you don't mind me sharing my email!) on this very topic and so I'm going to copy and paste some of the email here.

My thoughts/experience on a first look:
1. The whole "tradition" of not seeing each other stems from the olden days of arranged marriages, the groom didn't get to see the bride until she met him at the top of the aisle, this was so he wouldn't run away if she was ugly. You are most definitely not ugly and I distinctly remember Matt telling me "Bridget is hot" so I don't think you need to worry about this.

2. I think that brides sometimes have this kind of romanticized idea that their groom will see them and be overcome with emotion. In reality, the nerves will be high (especially if you haven't seen each other all day) and it's kind of hard to express any type of emotion or even say hello or talk as you have hundreds of guests watching you plus the priest will start the ceremony immediately.

3. Such a lot of time and effort and money goes on planning this day of celebration yet some couples miss out on so much time together with their closest friends and family because of an outdated tradition (interestingly most other traditions from that time - wearing a veil to ward off evil spirits, not living together before marriage, the groom standing on the right side of the church so his sword-arm is free to fight off attackers looking to steal his bride - are often ignored)

4. Cocktail hour - and this is my opinion only - is frankly one of the best parts of the wedding. Champagne, music, delicious hor d'oeuvres, mingling with friends and family hand-in-hand as newlyweds. And it seems such a shame to spend cocktail hour taking pictures :(

5. If we've done all of the pictures before the I get to spend cocktail hour taking wonderfully candid pictures of your guests, detail shots, room set up etc and you don't necessarily need a second photographer

6. And of course, when you hire me as your wedding photographer you have comprehensive coverage so if you choose to do a first look and pictures before the ceremony you essentially get hundreds more beautiful images with no additional overtime charges.

I just did a little survey with my 2010 couples that did a first look, not one of them regretted it and I'll be publishing the results in the next few weeks. Here's just one of the comments:
"I would highly recommend a first look. I think having time before the ceremony to take pictures eliminates some of the stress of worrying about getting back to the reception, keeping your guests waiting, trying to rush family into their positions etc... Seeing your partner for the first time on your wedding day will feel special no matter where you are"

So there you have it, of course if a couple decide they'd rather not see each other before the wedding it's all good because I am a super-fast photographer and I can totally get all of the frame-worthy family and wedding party pictures in a short window of time.

And back to Becky & Duke's wedding...I really need to work on the brevity of my blog posts...feel free to leave a note in the comments - are you here for the pictures? do you even read my ramblings?

Here's the moment they first saw each other:

I'll usually move around in a super discrete manner to capture both of their expressions; this monumental moment isn't usually something I'll trust to an assistant but on Saturday I had my photography BFF Kate with me. Kate is a phenomenal photographer in her own right (more on that tomorrow or Friday) and once or twice each year we'll shoot with each other just for fun/to try out new ideas/bring the creativeness and so I had no qualms trusting Kate to catch Duke's expressions, I love the framing with the chairs on the bottom right:

Sometimes brides will mention that they're worried that the first look moment won't feel as "special" if it's before the ceremony...umm, just the two of you, alone, you can say what you like, hug and kiss vs. seeing each other in front of 200 of your closest friends and relatives and being unable to say anything...

Love love love this picture:

Of course, one of the advantages of doing a first look is that you have lots of relaxed time for family pictures, here's Becky's family. True story - as I took the picture on the top right of Becky and her sisters I turned to see their parents Kathy & Tom holding each other and just beaming. I said "Look at the three of them! You two obviously did something right!" and Becky's Mom replied with "and we had a lot of fun doing it!" Love it!

Duke's family. Is it just me or does Duke's father Vito remind you of a taller Anthony Hopkins?

It was a little chilly but we thought we'd venture outside for a couple of outdoor portraits:

And then it was time for Becky and Duke to walk back inside to get married!!!

Ceremony tomorrow......!!!


  1. She looks so pretty! Love the first look.

  2. Beautiful pictures! I cannot wait to see more.

  3. gorgeous! and yes I do read your ramblings as they are as interesting & fantastic as your photos! :)

  4. @Alison - thank you!
    @Tracy - thanks! kind words on my ramblings...i should probably stick to photography over writing :)