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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Where to have the "First Look"?

What do wedding planners do when they are not on-site coordinating weddings during this busy Fall wedding season? We are often out doing the background work needed before the wedding actually happens, to be sure every aspect of the wedding day is thought through and prepared for with care. Because I love to be personally involved with each aspect of my clients' wedding priorities, I often find myself doing some interesting research work. This week I scheduled a tour of a San Francisco landmark, The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, with a particular goal in mind: Where should Felecia and Jim see each other for the first time, on their wedding day before the pre-ceremony photos?

Tucked in the back of Top of the Mark, this nook is where we hope to stage the First Look for Jim and Felecia. Though the view is extremely beautiful, the spot is known as Weepers Corner, because during WW 2, wives and girlfriends would go to this very spot to stand and weep as they saw their men head out in military ships to war.

This bride and groom are particularly interested in finding a dramatic, as well as photographically beautiful spot, for their first look; Jim has spent decades behind a motion picture camera, shooting hundreds of movies, many of them here in San Francisco, so he has a practiced eye for composition and understands the importance of location. Since Felecia will be getting ready at the Mark Hopkins, before going over to Treasure Island for the wedding and reception, it made sense to have the two of them meet somewhere in the hotel.

I offered to scout the property with Catherine Hall, my good friend, and the amazing photographer for this wedding, and Jordan Nimura, the Director of Romance (aka. Catering Manager Specializing in Weddings) for the Mark Hopkins, to find the perfect spot!

It was a beautiful day for our visit, and we were able to enjoy a wonderful view as we had tea at Top of the Mark, discussing what would be the best spot in the hotel for Felecia and Jim's first look. Jordan is helping us think what is the least busy time for the restaurant, and Catherine is discussing what kind of lighting to bring so the sun will not create a "blown out" look for the photos. This is the kind of forethought that needs to go into creating such a perfect moment for a couple, and then capturing in perfectly to be treasured in the years ahead.

It is becoming more common now for couples to schedule that "first look" moment, usually envisioned as when the bride walks down the aisle, and her groom sees her for the first time, for a private time earlier in the day in a place which is special to the two of them, away from the pre-wedding activity. When couples choose this plan, I see them fresh and excited about the day ahead, looking more relaxed than ever in front of the camera. Now the couple can begin their romantic photos and wedding party photos before the ceremony, allowing them to join their friends at the cocktail hour, and most importantly, they can rejoice together, before the day even unfolds, that they are soon to be husband and wife.

Catherine, Jordan and I took several hours out of our Fall wedding push (Fall in California is always the busiest time for wedding professionals), to meet and lay the groundwork for an unforgetable moment for our beloved clients. As we spent time together, we felt a kinship forming, because we all share the desire to serve our clients with excellence in every detail of their wedding day, as well as the planning leading up to that day...we never want to get too busy for extra's like this, not to mention the fun of being together at Top of the Mark!

We really hope that the weather for Felecia and Jim's first look will be as lovely as it was for our tour; but we are romantics enough to know that when Jim sees Felecia for the first time in her wedding gown, the sun will come out on his face!


Jill Turner said...

I love your blog! I am a wedding fanatic haha. I go to the University of Georgia, but I am getting ready to make the move to San Francisco too! My bf is starting his first year of a five year Ph.D program at Stanford. Palo Alto/San Fran seem great, but much different from the South! How was your transition to the West Coast? Any advice?

Catherine Hall Studios said...

Jean, Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an entertaining, educational post. Your blog is one of my faves!