At this point, many photographers have blogged about the pros and cons of doing a First Look on your wedding day, and while I may not have anything new or different to say, I wanted to finally share with you all why I LOVE First Looks both as a photographer, AND as a bride. So, first things first….
1) What IS a “First Look”, anyway?
A First Look is the term that has been coined for when a bride & groom choose to see each other BEFORE their ceremony on their wedding. This time is the very first moment they see each other all dressed up and ready to commit “till death do us part” in just an hour or two. Whenever possible, it’s a private moment with just the couple and the photographer so that they can take in each other, whisper some sweet nothings, and share a few kisses before launching into more photos and the full wedding day ahead of them. It’s a super sweet and special time.
2) Why I Love It, As A Photographer
You may have picked up on the fact that since you see each other BEFORE the ceremony when doing a First Look, it allows for ALL wedding-day portraits to also be taken before the ceremony (except for maybe the few extended family shots with members who weren’t around before the ceremony started). This can significantly remove stress from the schedule of the whole day because if the ceremony runs long, or you want to do a receiving line following the ceremony and don’t want to feel rushed, you know the only thing awaiting you is the reception. Not an hour of portraits before you can even GET to the reception. It’s especially great when having an evening ceremony, because oftentimes daylight is limited after that point, which adds an extra rush to get photos in between the ceremony and reception. But when I’m able to plan a schedule around a First Look, I can breathe a sigh of relief when it’s getting dark after the ceremony, because I know we’ve already gotten beautiful portraits and now it’s time to just enjoy the party! In addition, because the FIRST main portraits of the day are the most important ones, I’m able to make SURE that if any photos have to be cut short, it’s not the bride & groom portraits. This can sometimes happen when they’re left to after the ceremony and things run late. But when we do them before, I’m able to guarantee the best amount of time to maximize their photography experience and results. And from my perspective as a photographer, that’s huge!
3) Why I Love It, As A Bride
When I got married, admittedly I was planning my day from the mindset of a photographer, wanting to make SURE we had plenty of time to get all of the photos I wanted. So a First Look was a no-brainer for me. Aaron wasn’t crazy about the idea, but decided to accomodate and I’m SO glad he did. This decision was a HUGE factor in why I enjoyed my wedding day so much, and not just because we definitely got all of the photos I wanted. But the main thing was that I didn’t want to spend the majority of my wedding day hiding out and trying not to see my groom, instead I wanted to spend as MUCH of my wedding day as possible with my favorite person, and the one I was about to commit my life to. I wanted us to be able to enjoy every moment of it and time with our friends (bridesmaids, groomsmen) together. On top of that, I really just NEEDED that private moment to see him and connect with him before the craziness of the day truly set in. I’m 150% glad we did a First Look, and honestly feel like it set the tone for the entire rest of the day for me. I wouldn’t have traded that in for anything!
4) But does it ruin the “walking down the aisle” moment?
This is probably the biggest concern for people, especially the groom. They really want that special, magical moment when they see their bride walking down the aisle towards them. And I TOTALLY get that. But here’s what I’ve seen over and over again, that moment IS magical and special, even when you’ve done a First Look. That is still THE moment that you’re about to enter into the biggest commitments of your life. Grooms who are going to cry, still cry (sometimes during the First Look, too!) and grooms who aren’t criers, still don’t cry even if they DIDN’T do a First Look. So, in my opinion, it doesn’t diminish that special time when you do a First Look, you really just get TWO special, magical moments, instead of just the one! Kind of sounds like a win-win, if you ask me. ;)
5) So is a First Look right for you?
Only you and your soon-to-be-spouse can really decide that. I’m nothing but all for it on my side, but I’m always understanding of when couples would prefer to take the traditional route. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR wedding and the day needs to be tailored to YOU. You will get amazing photos either way, and you will end the day as husband and wife, either way. So the few decisions that you make in between should add to you being less-stressed and able to sit back and take in the joy of your wedding day.
I hope these few thoughts have been helpful for someone, and if you have any questions about the topic of First Looks, please let me know! I’m happy to give any other input that might be beneficial. :) HAPPY MONDAY, everyone!