A first look is an opportunity for you and your partner to see each other before the wedding – which breaks that old tradition of waiting until the ceremony. Fun fact: did you know the tradition originated when arranged marriages were custom? The couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding so that the groom didn’t have the opportunity to change his mind and back out. Super charming, huh?
Rest assured that the tradition has evolved over the years and is far more romantic these days. Some couples are chasing after that tear jerking moment of coming down the aisle, while others want a sweet intimate moment together in private before all of their guests arrive.
No matter if you have a first look or not, a stress free wedding day is totally possible. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about how you want your wedding day to flow!
You get to calm your nerves, and have a private moment together.
So many of my couples tell me that they’re anxious about being the center of attention all day. Others are nervous about “ugly crying” in front of all of their guests during the ceremony. The solution? A first look! A first look is a great way to calm your nerves, take a deep breath, shed a few tears, and have a private moment with your partner!
You optimize your party time with your guests
If you ask any married couple about their wedding day: I can almost guarantee they’ll say: “it went by SO fast!” Since you’re invested so much time and money into your wedding day – the goal is to spent as much time as possible celebrating with your loved ones! After all, it may be the only occasion when you are all together in the same place at the same time. Having a first look is your way of optimizing your party time with friends, family and guests. When you do a first look, you get the chance to take a ton of your photos of the two of you (and your bridal party!) before the ceremony. Without a first look, you can expect to take all of your portraits during cocktail hour!
You’re having a fall or winter wedding
The sun sets earlier in the fall and winter so in order to capture outdoor photos with beautiful natural light, the sunset and ceremony time must be considered! Having a first look means taking photos earlier in the day, so you can have those dreamy portraits in natural daylight!
You want as many photos as possible
Couples who have first looks receive far more photos in their final galleries because we’re spending more time taking portraits! Typically couples who value those photos, opt for a first look knowing they’re going to get more photos from it.
Giving your wedding party the best experience is a top priority
Having a first look means front loading your photos. We can even do all of your wedding party photos prior to the ceremony (after your first look). Your bridesmaids will love it, because they’re getting their photos taken when their hair and makeup is fresh. Groomsmen will love it, because that means after the ceremony – their job is done, and they can head straight for the bar!
You get to spend more time together with your spouse!
Instead of hiding from your soon to be husband, you get to spend more time with them before walking down the aisle! Between mingling with guests, private moments with your partner are surprisingly rare on a wedding day. The first look can be a special moment of quiet time together before saying “I do!”
You want to stick to tradition
Maybe you want to stick to tradition because you’ve always dreamed of seeing each other for the first time coming down the aisle. A truly magical and emotional moment. Simple as that!
Having a first look means getting ready earlier
If you’re doing a first look – the photo portion of the day will begin a bit earlier, which means hair and makeup will also get shifted to the earlier side of things! Pretty ideal for the early birds, but something to consider otherwise!
You are having an earlier ceremony time
If you’re having an early ceremony time, you can still have a first look – but maybe saving the photos for later in the day just makes more sense in terms of timing. Otherwise, having a first look earlier in the day could mean harsh direct sunlight, which isn’t the most ideal for portraits – especially when shaded areas are limited!
You have a large gap between your ceremony and reception
If you’re having your ceremony in a different location than the reception venue (ex: church, beach, house, etc.), you might have a large gap between the ceremony and reception. In this case, front loading wedding photos with a first look isn’t completely necessary in terms of logistics. We can totally still do a first look – but we can spend that gap time taking your portraits, before cocktail hour even begins! Just make sure to account for travel time between the two locations!