Over the past few years, there has been a huge jump in the number of couples doing a wedding First Look. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, essentially it’s a time (usually a few hours before the ceremony) where the couple can see one another for the first time in a quiet and intimate setting.
Even 10 years ago there wasn’t a need for a first look. Photographers simply photographed the ceremony, a few portraits afterward, the main events during the reception, and that’s about it. In today’s world, things are very different. Because of the rise of social media couples want TONS of photos, multiple locations, and they have larger wedding parties. Everything is much bigger and more involved than in the past, and that’s totally okay!
Here are are few reasons to consider a first look:
- You’ll have more time with your fiance. Since most ceremonies start in the mid-afternoon to evening, your wedding day is already half-way over. Right after the ceremony, you’re swept into signing your license, doing formal family photos, then rushing through photos with your wedding party and ending with minimal photos of you and your fiance. Photos of you and your new husband or wife ideally should never be put last! With a first look you can enjoy your day together, avoid the rush, hug and kiss as much as you want and, best of all, have a private moment where you can laugh or cry together without the whole world watching you.
- You’ll have more time and more photos. Wedding days get hectic very quickly. Even on the best planned days things happen. Makeup and hair go late, someone forgets an important item at home, you make a stop at the party store, the limo breaks down, a groomsman forgot to shower, someone needs to smoke or use the restroom, these are literally all things that I’ve seen happen and use up well-needed photo time. Some of these things have even set the timeline back by an hour or more at no fault of the bride or groom. With a first look, you don’t have to worry about that! You will have more time, things can be more relaxed, you’ll get significantly more photos that are more creative and well thought out, and we can even go to more places. There’s also an amazing hidden benefit. In most cases it also allows you to enjoy part of your cocktail hour. Bonus!
- You get a private moment together. The only reason I ever hear for not doing the first look is that the couple wants the ‘walking down the aisle feeling.’ From witnessing past brides and grooms, I will say that you still get that feeling!!! Let’s face it, brides, in particular, hope their fiance is going to cry. That being said, I have seen many more grooms cry during a first look than I have down the aisle. Why? because they feel more comfortable showing emotion when it’s just the two of you. Having 150+ eyes on you makes you nervous. Most grooms get that facial expression where you can tell they’re holding back emotion. I’ve also been told by many couples that even though they’ve seen one another prior to the ceremony they still get that butterfly feeling walking down the aisle. There is a noticeable feeling when you’re thinking ‘Wow, here he/she is and we are about to do this…’
- Seasonal Lighting. If you’re getting married in the fall or winter the sun sets earlier. If its dark by 5:00-5:30 and your ceremony is at 4 or 5, you aren’t going to have any natural light for outdoor photos. In this case, I would say no matter what you would need a first look. If you want to take advantage of the beautiful fall colors or the white snowy landscape, you’ll have to take all of your photos earlier in the day.
Overall I highly suggest the first look. Unless your ceremony is at 1:00 and your reception begins at 6:00, its definitely something to consider! I’ve never had a couple regret doing a first look, only rave reviews in support of them. However, I have had couples regret not doing one.