What is a first look?
The “first look” is basically when you see your beautiful/handsome wife/husband to be before you walk down the aisle.
Why should I do a first look?
1. If you are having a later ceremony start time. Let’s say your ceremony is starting at 4pm. By the time the ceremony is over, you’ve possibly greeted your guests, and done all of your family photos, it will probably be about 5:30 (give or take). Now it’s time for cocktail hour, but you still have to take all of your bridal party photos and your romantics (just the two of you!). We may have saved some time earlier in the day by doing some separate bridal party photos, however, you will still probably be missing most, if not all, your cocktail hour. You invited all of your closest friends and family, and I know you’d rather be spending your time with them than in front of my camera (as cool as I am) 😉
- oh, and another thing to think about with the late start time, is if you are having a fall wedding, or an even later start time, the sun will set, and once that happens, the photo options are much more limited (and honestly, much less pretty)
2. Do you really want to spend the first half of your wedding day separated from your significant other?
3. If you take care of your photos before the ceremony, then you are free to just enjoy the rest of the day with your guests, rather than having a longer break for photos between the ceremony and reception. The whole day will feel more relaxed in general.
4. One argument against the first look is that you don’t want to lose the magic of walking down the aisle. Here’s what I always say to this: that moment is going to be incredibly special whether or not you have seen your SO. It’s a special setting that can’t be matched, and I think I’ve actually had more grooms cry when they saw their brides coming down the aisle who had already spent the entire morning/afternoon together.
5. Privacy! When you do a first look, it’s just the two of you. You don’t have to worry about all of your closest friends and family looking at you as you walk down the aisle for that first moment, and you can just be in the moment with your SO. It’s generally more romantic, and you can let your emotions show without having to censor yourself for an audience.
Why you may not want to do a first look
1. If you have an early ceremony time, then it really isn’t necessary to do a first look (for logistical reasons anyways).
2. You want to be traditional. That’s totally fine! I am not writing this to convince you to do a first look if you’re not into it. I just want to address the logistics, and any questions you may have if you’re on the fence.
As a photographer, what do I think you should do?
I think you should do what feels right to you! I love a good first look, and I think that it can make a wedding day go much smoother and feel more relaxed, but honestly, you don’t have to do a first look to have a relaxed day. It’s all about your mindset, and scheduling your day to make sure you have the opportunity to get all of the photos you’ve imagined.