Use www.timeanddate.com to estimate the sunset time. A good rule to follow with the posted time on the website is to knock it off 20-30 minutes before the actual sunset time. The reason for this is unless you are at the beach on the west coast, the sun typically sets behind mountains, hills, or buildings way before the posted sunset time.
When you have a first look, you have a lot more freedom in your wedding day timeline. Typically, my couples will take their first look wedding photos, couple portraits and photos with their wedding party all before the ceremony. Depending on how large your family is, you can also do all of the family wedding photos before the ceremony. What this means, is by the time your wedding ceremony comes around, the “work” is over. Then you can enjoy feeling full present on your wedding day. When you get photos done before the ceremony, you can head straight to cocktail hour. This way, you get to enjoy more time with your guests! This advantage alone is enough to make more traditional couples reconsider a first look.
If you don’t plan on seeing each other before the wedding ceremony, there are other options. It doesn’t have to be an “all of nothing” kind of thing. You can always consider holding hands (also called the first touch) or saying a prayer together. Exchanging letters is popular during getting ready photos as well. When planning an aisle reveal, make sure to leave enough time after the ceremony to take all the wedding photos. Depending on how many photos you want, this can end up being quite a large chunk of time for your other guests (who aren’t in the photos). Another alternative plan is to take the bride with bridesmaids and the groom with groomsmen photos before the ceremony. And then you can do wedding party photos and bride and groom photos after the ceremony. Don’t get me wrong – this definitely is not the end of the world. You should choose to do what YOU want on your wedding day – that’s just something you may want to consider.
Considering the timeline, I always ask couples how relaxed they want the day to be. An aisle reveal can leave the day feeling a bit more rushed than a first-look timeline. With a traditional timeline, it can feel like you are jumping from the ceremony to photos to your reception. It usually feels more relaxed to “get the photos out of the way”.