Couple Portraits

Whether you do a first look or save the surprise for the aisle, we want to make sure you carve out time to be together throughout the wedding day.

We recommend an hour for couple portraits. This can be done all at once or spread out across different parts of the day:

couple portraits timeline

making time for yourselves

  • First Look (with 30 minutes of couple portraits to follow)
  • Praying together (before mass)
  • Photos around your church (inside or outside)
  • Newlywed pictures after your wedding party pictures
  • Sunset pictures

These romantic portraits of just the two of you will be the images that you frame beside your bed or over your mantle, and they will also be the images that will fill your album for future generations to enjoy.

Not only are they beautiful, but they’re also such a sweet portion of your wedding day experience as a couple to have a brief moment alone together! We encourage the wedding party to leave you two alone during this time and give you two the chance to love on each other and really connect.

reasons why we love them

Have no fear, we will coach you through everything - like where to stand, where to put your hands, and more! Get ready to twirl in your wedding dress, kiss under the veil, hold each other close, walk arm in arm, show off the beautiful details of your dress, and be lovingly playful together. We really favor giving you a handful of classic looking at the camera shots and then dozens more of you interacting with one another. Please let us know if there is anything you want specifically incorporated and we will help make it happen.

We’ll coach you through everything.

photo locations to consider:


outside the church


inside the church


a park or landmark 


reception venue

When the trees are bare and snow isn't a guarantee, we recommend choosing locations that have architecture or  green evergreen trees to help bring pops of color back into the images. Your church or reception venue might provide all the backdrop you need, or we can make a stop on the way.

seasonal reminder

for november - april

  • James J. Hill Library & Rice Park (Saint Paul, MN)
  • Mill City Ruins (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Hansen Tree Farm (Anoka, MN)
  • Bunker Lake Regional Park (Coon Rapids, MN)

A few favorite local options:

  • During cocktail hour as part of newlywed portraits if the sunset is earlier in the day

  • Before toasts and speeches - give yourself 30 minutes to eat and then sneak off for sunset pictures

  • While dinner tables are being cleared from the dance floor (if applicable)

  • After first dances

  • Final 15-20 minutes before photography coverage ends

We love doing sunset pictures anytime in the 45-60 minutes before the scheduled sunset for the day. A big reason that we don’t often plan sunset pictures for the actual sunset time is because clouds risk the light fading sooner (and sometimes other buildings block it too! Sunset pictures typically happen either:

Timing of sunset pictures

Sneak away from the reception for some pictures in the glow of the sunset during "golden hour". There is additional variety to your photos now that your wedding dress is bustled and more movement we can do since you’ve likely had a glass of wine from the party bus or cocktail hour putting you in a relaxed playful mood ;)

sunset pictures

First Look
or aisle reveal

From our standpoint, we have watched couples generously give their time away to everyone else on the wedding day - the wedding party, their family, their guests - and didn't leave much time in the schedule to be together alone on the wedding day. We want to help fix that by carving out intentional time for you to be together (and as a bonus have lots of great portraits too!)

There are a lot of advantages to doing a private first look before the ceremony, but we'll support you no matter what you choose! 

All brides might secretly want their grooms to tear up or have a big reaction when they come down the aisle, but it is important to manage your expectations of his reaction. If you have never seen your man cry or get emotional in public, you can’t expect him to be overly emotional on your wedding day. Some guys begin to cry, some feel so happy that they have huge smile of excitement beaming across their face, and for others their faces show very little emotion because they’re just trying to keep their cool in front of everyone. The stress and nerves that come with a wedding day can sometimes make it hard for some grooms to truly express their emotions the way you may expect. Enjoy this amazing day no matter what his reaction is like!

managing expectations

If you choose an aisle reveal, be sure that you are choosing it out of your own preferences and not out of any kind of superstitious reason (“bad luck to see the bride”) which is not congruent with the sacrament of marriage. In talking with several priest friends and hearing stories from my grandparents weddings, they reminded me that previous generations had a stricter fasting requirements for mass that began the night before at midnight until Pope Paul VI adjusted it in the 1960s down to only fasting one hour before receiving the Eucharist. For this reason weddings historically took place in the morning to help Catholics keep their fast, making the aisle reveal more common for practical and liturgical reasons. Since the fasting requirement was reduced down to only one hour, afternoon weddings are more commonplace across churches today. We think this context is important to remember why an aisle reveal is considered "traditional," but that the rise of first looks are completely valid and you'll find most parishes supporting them because it complements their own logistical needs.

it's not "bad luck" to see the bride

tips to help you make your decision:

Many churches have evening mass, confession, or other services that take place after your wedding which requires couples, their family, and their guests to leave the building promptly. When this happens it leaves very little time for family formals inside the church. If that is part your vision, be sure to take this into account. Doing a first look gives couples the chance to complete family formals in advance when the ceremony location has more time flexibility and still buffer time for being out of sight while guests arrive.

If your ceremony location only allows you to be at the site for 15-30 minutes following your ceremony.

Your time on a wedding day is generously given to everyone else. Couples give their time away to the hair stylist, the wedding party, their family, their guests, and often do not schedule much time to be together alone on the wedding day.

A first look gives couples a chance to pray, read letters to one another, talk, shake the nerves, and share their excitement together before they officially become husband and wife.

If you choose to forego a first look, be sure to carve out time later on in the day to spend time together just the two of you.

If you want more time together during your wedding day.

Getting married on a Friday typically means the ceremony will take place in the late afternoon or evening hours. Trying to do a lot of pictures after the ceremony can delay dinner for your guests - especially if the church and reception location are far distances apart. 

We recommend couples who get married on a Friday do a first look, wedding party pictures, and family formals before the ceremony to provide a smooth transition from the ceremony to dinner. This often brings a more leisurely pace to your wedding day as well. 

If you're having a Friday evening wedding.

Once you’re married, its time to celebrate!

We still like to carve out time to take newlywed portraits and finish any wedding party combinations that weren’t captured beforehand. However, it can all be done within a shorter time frame that doesn’t leave guests waiting long at the cocktail hour. As a bonus, it also gives you more time to be there to enjoy it!

If you want more time at cocktail hour

Receiving lines always take longer than you think they will (upwards of 45 minutes for an average size wedding). There simply isn't enough time to do family pictures and a receiving line after the ceremony. If you have your heart set on doing a receiving line at the church, we request all family pictures to be completed before the ceremony. Depending on the experience you hope to have with your wedding party you may want to complete this in advance of the ceremony too.

If you want to do a receiving line

It's important to take into account the time of year your wedding takes place! Especially once we set our clocks back an hour due to daylight savings time in the cooler months. We literally lose an hour of daylight and from November to March there simply is not enough time to complete outdoor pictures after mass if you have a ceremony that begins anytime after 1pm.  The colder months are also cloudier which means it can be dark as early as 4pm. 

If you have a wedding November-March

Couples who choose a first look have extra flexibility in their wedding day timeline to do pictures before AND after the ceremony. Since weather can be so unpredictable, this gives you peace of mind that if a storm rolls through one half of your wedding day that there is at least a second chance to do all of your outdoor pictures. 

If you want flexibility in case of rain

A first look allows us the creative control to ensure you're placed in a beautiful, ideal location where we can get a close up shot of your groom's reaction to seeing you for the first time on a wedding day. At the church we are obligated to adhere to the guidelines of the church. Depending on where they allow us to be during the procession, where your wedding party stands, and what the church's lighting situation is, there may be technical limitations to us adequately capture the groom's reaction.

If you want a close up view of your groom's reaction


First look?

should you do a

Couples love the giant tug on their heartstrings and the adrenaline rush when the groom finally sees his bride coming down the aisle. The music shifts, the doors open, the guests stand up, and there she is. Now, it’s really happening. It is an authentic one-time moment that leads you straight into what you came here for: joining your lives to one anothers with no more delay.

It's also a big tradition! If that's what you have always dreamed about it will be worth the wait.

If you want that once in a lifetime emotional factor.

Couples who chose an early ceremony time on a Saturday can have a seamless experience going from getting ready to getting married.

A traditional aisle reveal in these situations maintains lots of flexibility for family, wedding party, and newlywed portraits while also enjoying your reception. 

If you are having a morning or early afternoon wedding.

You can still carve out special ways to talk to one another, pray together, and share your hopes for marriage even if you do not want to see each other before the ceremony. This is a way to build that last minute excitement and shake the nerves before the ceremony.

If you want to still have a moment together but don't want to see them before the ceremony, there are creative ways you can do it!

important note:

If you forego a first look, plan 2.5 hours following the ceremony for portrait time, including family, wedding party, and newlywed pictures before traveling to your reception and joining cocktail hour. All couples should plan to finish outdoor pictures by 30 minutes before the scheduled sunset.


aisle reveal?

should you do a

Your photogaLlery


Emergency Kit
Vendor recommendations
Sample timelines

catholic wedding tips
hair + Makeup trials
dress fitting 


tips + tricks
feeding vendor team
cocktail hour
cake cutting
special exits


Out of sight time
timing & logistics
Nuptial blessing
receiving lines
aisle Reveals


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