THE FIRST LOOK
What is a First Look?
A first look is when the couple sees each other prior to the wedding ceremony. This is also known and may sometimes be referred to as “The Reveal”. This has become a recent trend in weddings and has many great benefits and considerations. More and more couples are choosing to do a first look but it certainly is not for everyone. Even though as a wedding photographer I prefer that the couple plan a first look for the benefits that I am going to list below, ultimately you should decide what is best for you and what you prefer as it is your wedding day!
Let’s look at some of the reasons you would or would not want to do a First Look.
Benefits of doing a First Look
- One of the main benefits why couples choose to see each other before the wedding ceremony is so that they get to spend more time with their guests on their wedding day. Instead of having to take their photos during Cocktail Hour and/or during their Reception, most if not all of the pictures are done by that time allowing the couple to enjoy the cocktail hour and party with their family, friends and guests.
- Less Stress. Any stress and jitters that usually occur during the ceremony or prior to the ceremony are usually gone by the time the ceremony begins and you end up being more present during your ceremony. Also, by doing a first look you can set your wedding timeline so that you do not feel rushed.
- You will have more time to be in the moment together. You will be able to hold, hug and kiss each other for as long as you like and relish in this private moment. A first look can be private or, if you wish you can have several important family members and friends present. It’s your decision! You can decide how private you want this moment to be or who you want to share this moment with.
- If you are getting married in the winter or your wedding ceremony is later in the day and it is dark, we can have your pictures taken while it is still light out.
- Your hair, make-up and flowers are fresher right after you have just had it done. The earlier we can take your photos the better they will ultimately be.
- You will have more time to take pictures of the two of you together with the extra time! It can be 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours with multiple locations if you so desire. If we have to take the photos during cocktail hour, we most likely will only have an hour to complete all the family photos, bridal party photos, and portraits. This may not be enough time especially if you have a large family and bridal party.
- Better wedding photos! It’s quite simple. The more time you make for photos, the better and more creative the photos will be. The more time there is the better I can finesse the lighting and take photos from multiple angles.
- From my experience I can tell you that almost all weddings are affected by uncontrollable events. Something unexpected usually happens that ends up affecting your schedule no matter how prompt of a person you may be. If we can have your wedding photos completed earlier and then something happens that causes the schedule to get affected, your photography won’t be seriously affected.
Cons of doing a First Look
- You will lose the traditional element of your groom seeing you walk down the aisle for the first time. Walking down the aisle to greet your partner is something a bride has looked forward to for years. While a first look certainly does not mean that you can’t walk down the aisle and is not meant to be a replacement for this, some couples are concerned that it might make that moment less emotional since you have seen each other already. For some couples it is still important to have a wedding ceremony that mirrors their parents and grandparents.
- If you do a first look you have to start your day earlier to accommodate for the time you will be taking photos. You will have to stay in your wedding clothes longer and your wedding dress may get a bit dirty before the ceremony. If we go to an outdoor location such as a park, a field, the beach, etc. it will be nearly impossible to keep the dress from getting a bit soiled no matter how careful we are, and trust me we are super careful! Let’s face it unless you walk on clean floors, you are going to get the bottom of the dress a little bit dirty from the ground, after all it is a long white bridal gown! This of course is rarely seen by anyone, however if it is important for you to keep the dress immaculate then a first look may not be a very good option for you.
My Final Thoughts
So what are my thoughts about doing a First Look? I will be completely honest with you and tell you that if your schedule is tight and your cocktail hour/reception immediately follows the ceremony that I highly suggest that you consider having a first look before the ceremony, especially if you have a large family and/or bridal party. There is just not going to be enough time to get as many pictures especially if you have a large family and/or bridal party. This alone can eat up the entire cocktail hour having you and your family completely miss out on your cocktail hour and possibly not getting as many photos of the two of you. Of course every situation will be different so it is highly recommended that we discuss your wedding day timeline to see what will realistically work in order to make sure that I meet your wedding photography expectations. I do want to add that even though I am in favor of doing a first look, it is ultimately your wedding day and your decision and will still do my best to get amazing wedding photography.