This page is not designed to convince you either way on the decision about whether or not to do a first look, it is simply meant to explain what a first look is so you can make the best decision for your wedding.
It doesn’t matter to me either way. You do you, and I’ll take pictures of it. 🙂
What is a First Look:
A first look is a time when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony for a few minutes. It is a time for you to react and embrace each other naturally and to share a few more intimate moments before the rest of the day takes off.
Your first look can be as private or as public as you want. I’ve had couples who wanted to be completely alone and other couples who wanted their bridal party to watch from a distance. A first look often leads directly into the bride and groom photos.
Below are a couple examples of first look moments.
Benefits of doing a First Look:
1. More time for photographs. With a first look, you’ll get on average of 50% more bride and groom photos than you would without a first look. This is purely because we have more time before the ceremony to take pictures. For weddings that have a first look I usually ask for 45 minutes for a first look and Bride and Groom photos. In a wedding without a first look we usually only have 15-25 minutes for Bride and Groom photos because we also have to shoot family pictures and bridal party photos during the cocktail hour.
2. You can enjoy your cocktail hour. If you opt for a first look, we’ll likely complete all the bride and groom photos, bridal party photos, and family photos before the ceremony. This means after the ceremony you can relax and enjoy your party with your family and friends.
3. You’ll look fresher. A first look usually happens right after you put the finishing touches on your hair and makeup and slip into your dress. There will be no worries about re-applying or touching up. Also, a wedding day is an incredibly emotional and tiring day (in a good way). Your smile will be freshest and you’ll be more relaxed if we shoot your bride and groom photos before the ceremony.
Benefits of NOT doing a First Look:
1. The surprise is shared. Forgoing a first look means that you will share the incredibly special moment of seeing each other for the first time with all of your closest family and friends. And as a wedding guest, it is one of the biggest moments of the day and certainly something they look forward to seeing.
2. A classic reaction. There is a potential for a great emotional reaction whether you do a first look or not. Depending on how comfortable you are in front of people seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony might make you react even more or it might make you react less.
Below is one of the best reactions I’ve ever photographed. Honestly most grooms don’t react this much, but when they do it’s amazing!
3. It’s a tradition. I am a sucker for a good tradition any day. And this is one that lots of people feel strongly about. If you want that suspense, buildup, and surprise – skipping the first look will give you those feelings.
What did you do on your wedding day?
When Joe and I got married we opted for a first look. It was mostly a practical decision because we were having an evening wedding that was all at one location. I knew I wanted lots of bride and groom photos and I didn’t want to make our guests wait while we took pictures.
A few hours before the ceremony we set up sort of a mock-processional… Joe stood at the front of the ceremony site and I walked down the isle to him. Our photographer was standing off to the side so it felt very intimate but we also have photos of the first time seeing each other. For me, seeing Joe beforehand really eased my nerves and helped me relax and enjoy our day.
Below is an image from our first look. In retrospect we should have picked a different location. It was mid-day and sunlight was harsh, which is hard to photograph. If you decide to have a first look I’ll work with you to pick out a spot that is beautiful and has great light.