THE FIRST LOOK - IS IT RIGHT FOR US?
Not a new trend in the wedding world but definitely one of my favorite wedding traditions of all time, first looks have become increasingly popular in recent years. The moment is intimate and emotional making for some amazing wedding day photos. Many couples choose this option to calm the pre-ceremony nerves, enjoy some quiet time together and get portraits before your wedding guests arrive and things get a little crazy. In this blog post, I will break down all the reasons to do (or not to do) a first look and how this single decision will help the flow of your day.
PROS OF DOING A FIRST LOOK
1. NOT SEEING HER UNTIL SHE WALKS DOWN THE AISLE
This tradition dates back centuries and derives from the belief that by not seeing each other before the wedding (for arranged marriages) the groom cannot back out of the marriage if he doesn't like the way his bride looks (hence the veil over the bride’s face) Yikes. In modern times however, this tradition has also taken on a romantic aspect, where the moment the bride walks down the aisle is seen as a special and emotional moment for both the couple and their families and is often captured with lots of emotion and awe.
2. WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER DOING A FIRST LOOK
Doing a first look allows you to have a private moment before the ceremony to see each other for the first time and calm any nerves. It also frees up more time for photos and alleviates any stress or rushed feelings after the ceremony. It allows for better lighting for photos and can also help to keep the timeline of the day on track without having to hide the groom and bride prior to the ceremony. Overall, a first look can create a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere. We all know that wedding days go by so quickly, so making the most of time with guests is a priority for many couples. With everyone there to celebrate with you — many from out of town or in groups that aren’t commonly together — the first look can be a big help for allowing you to have all of your photos taken care of so that you can enjoy and mingle with guests during this time and not turn cocktail hour into a photo shoot.
3. YOU WANT TO MAXIMISE PHOTOGRAPHY TIME
I know wedding photography is a big investment to make for anyone and I want to help you maximize your investment as much as possible. Including a first look on your timeline will allow for more photos to be taken. Couples who chose to do a first look can get portraits taken twice. Once during + after the first look and for sunset portraits as well. If you are someone who values portraits then this might be something to consider.
4. YOU KNOW YOU’LL BE ANXIOUS, NERVOUS, AND EMOTIONAL
For some couples, the thought of all eyes on them alone will make them instantly nervous and anxious. All those eyes on you can feel like a lot on a day that will most likely be a little stressful. Particularly if you tend to get nervous in social situations even outside of wedding planning. So if you suspect you will be an emotional mess during the ceremony having a first look will surely help ease those nerves.
5. YOU WANT A PRIVATE VOW EXCHANGE
Some things you like to keep to yourselves and wedding vows can be one of those things. If you are a more private person, sharing your vows right after the first look can be an intimate and emotional opportunity for you two. You can always read them twice (without some of those initial nerves if you feel like having your guests hear your vows).
CONS OF DOING A FIRST LOOK
1. YOU WANT TO STICK TO TRADITION
Plain and simple, some couples want to be traditional on their wedding day — and that’s okay! If tradition is most important to you and you’re okay trading that for fewer images and less time at cocktail hour, I fully support your choice :)
2. YOUR CEREMONY HAS AN EARLY START
Some venues will allow you to have an early ceremony time, especially in the winter when the sun goes down super early. If this is the case then you could make some time between the ceremony and the rest of the timeline to get some extra couples portraits, family and bridal party photos if you're wanting to skip the first look.
IN A NUTSHELL
You've hired your team of vendors to use their best judgment to give you the best outcome possible when it comes to your wedding photos. However, you do have some choices to make when it comes to your timeline and what matters to you the most. Either way, know that there is no right or wrong way of doing things. Work and communicate with your photographer and wedding planner/day of coordinator to talk through your options and decide what is best for your day :)