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Rachel and Nick’s wedding was a timeless affair at the Mandarin Oriental with a modern spring color scheme on Brickell Key.  They wanted their wedding day to be fun and reflective of their personal style and love of tradition and family. Most Jewish wedding couples choose to have a first look, since they have a private ketubah signing prior to their public ceremony. In the Jewish faith, once the ketubah is signed, you are married. As the saying goes, ” I am my beloved and my beloved is mine”. 

A Traditional Ceremony

Rachel and Nick envisioned their wedding day first look in a more tradition way, and skipped a reveal. We took all their family portraits a different times Setting up in the same location at the Mandarin Oriental, we were able to create continuity in for the formal portraits. Then they signed their ketubah apart, in anticipation of seeing each other for the first time under the chuppah.  For more ideas on how to maximize your wedding photography portrait time, should you decide not to have a reveal, read my suggestions at the end of this post!

From the way Nick teared up as Rachel walked down the aisle at the Mandarin Oriental, it was worth the wait. This was one of my favorite moments from their wedding day, take a look below! 

They exchanged vows underneath an amazing chuppah designed by Always Flowers. Just after Nick stepped on the glass you could feel the sense of excitement build – as the party was just getting started. The tables capes and floral decor in the ballroom at the Mandarin was dreamlike to photograph. The amazing team from Melissa Davis Designs and Always Flowers turned the room from a modern garden themed indoor ceremony to stunning reception. 

Time to Celebrate!

After Rachel and Nick had a few moments alone, they had a room reveal and spent time taking a few portraits together before it was time to get the party started. An amazing party was truly their wedding vision – to dance all night long with all of their friends and family. One of my favorite moments was Nick flying through the air, after his groomsmen lifted him up during the wedding reception.

Looking for ideas on how to maximize your wedding photography portrait time? If you decide not to have a reveal, read my suggestions at the end of this post!

Time to get the party started!

Libido got the party started – with an amazing first dance in the grand ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental, which felt like a modern indoor garden.  The entire evening was elegant, fun and truly reflective of their love for each other. 

Thank you to Carats & Cake for featuring this stunning wedding planned by Melissa Davis Designs.

Are you getting married at the Mandarin Oriental? I’d love to hear from you! Head over to my contact page to check my availability for your wedding day.

Tips for taking wedding portraits after your ceremony

As a professional wedding photographer, couples often ask what happens when you choose to wait until after your ceremony for portraits. How can you maximize your time prior to the ceremony and after you are married? Here are a few tips, which I applied to Rachel and Nick’s wedding day:

Can we take family photos before the ceremony?

Yes! I highly suggest this option to maximize your time after. Take each sides immediate family portraits before hand – in the same location – at different times. That way you have continuity in your wedding images & album!

What about the bridal party portraits? Should we do them before hand?


Schedule your bridal party to be dressed & ready about an hour before leaving for your ceremony – so you can have time for portraits with your besties. Having two wedding photographers is essential with this approach. Then, once you are married you take one large bridal party photo together – and they can go to cocktails! 

How much time should we expect to spend after the wedding ceremony taking portraits?

Immediately after your ceremony follow your photographer for ten minutes of portraits, just you and your new spouse! Then, once the ceremony site has been cleared of guests – you can regroup for immediate family photos and bridal party pics! Expect to spend about 30- 45 minutes taking portraits after ceremony.

Will we be able to attend cocktail hour during the wedding?

The honest answer, probably not, unless you have a large gap of time between your ceremony ending and the cocktail hour beginning. If the option allows, you could always choose to have an extended cocktail hour, 75 minutes perhaps. Then you can attend cocktails and get all of your portraits taken!

Can you suggest other times during the evening to take wedding portraits?

Have a ballroom reveal, just before the doors open, and take a few wedding portraits together in the gorgeous decor that you dreamt off! This is also a great time to practice your first dance! As the party winds down,  find a nighttime location – like the city skyline for a  quick evening portrait.

Can we schedule a post wedding session, in our wedding attire?

Yes! These are a lot of fun & often more relaxed then your wedding day – as the jitters and stress is all gone! You can let your hair down, literally, as having the exact hair and makeup is not a requirement for a post session. Schedule a post wedding session, before you get your gown cleaned, within the first month of your wedding day!

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