This is the FIRST thing you should do IMMEDIATELY after your ceremony

This might surprise you, but we don't want to immediately go into a receiving line or family portraits.

Crazy, I know.

This doesn't mean you can't do a receiving line, and it doesn't mean family photos have to be delayed for very long.

But after you walk out of your ceremony after being declared married, the first thing you need to do is take 5-10 minutes for yourselves. We love photographing these moments, because the energy of a freshly minted marriage is absolutely palpable. Your eyes are filled with emotion. Potentially there's some running makeup (that's okay, I promise). But the two of you will kiss deeper, hold tighter, and look more energized.

Taking that 5-10 minutes allows someone (usually a maid-of-honor or wedding-planner type) to round up the family if the portraits are next, or set up the receiving line for maximum efficiency. You don't have to stand around missing the surge of adrenaline, seratonin, endorphins, or whatever chemicals make you feel amazingly happy and in love, that happens when you get declared as a married couple.

So when you're working on your schedule, or working with your photographer and/or wedding planner, make sure you make a point to take these 5-10 minutes. We recommend 10, because it'll take a moment to get away from the throngs of people who are going to want to come cry-hug you because they're so excited. Tell your bridal party that they are the bouncers for your love moment, and skedaddle.

This also happens to double really beautifully as a moment to cool off if it's cooler away from the ceremony. We've been in some churches that just feel SO HOT by the end of the ceremony (especially for the brides!), and if it's breezy - or even cold - outside, it can be a welcome reprieve from the heat.

It can also be a good idea to ask one of the bridal party to join to help with retouching and makeup that may have smeared through the ceremony. Smeary makeup really can look great in emotional photographs, but especially if that idea makes you uncomfortable, assign one of the bridal party to train and makeup-retouching duty for these few minutes. I can't tell you how thankful you will be that you did.