I think it’s every photographer’s job to educate their couples on the entirety of the wedding day. And of course, this isn’t limited to the increasingly popular First Look. So after almost 8 years of owning a business, I am finally writing my own First Look blog post! I first wanted to title this blog post “the pro’s and con’s” but realized, there really isn’t any downside to doing a first look. I’ve never met anyone who regretted doing it! So, in this post you’ll get a full explanation of a first look along with 6 reasons to consider adding it to your wedding day! So, what is a first look, anyway?
A First Look is a planned, private meeting of the bride and groom before the ceremony.
WHAT is it?
To elaborate, the first look is a somewhat choreographed encounter where the groom gets to see his bride for the first time in a private and intimate setting! Let the professionals tell you where you’re going and where you’re going to stand, and then you just get to spend as much alone time as you need on your wedding day during those sweet first moments!
WHO is involved?
The parties involved include the bride, the groom, and the photographer[s]/videographer[s]. Sometimes, the bridal party or parents watch from afar, but I discourage this! The point is for it to be as private as possible!
WHEN do we do it?
A first look is before the ceremony. Depending on how many photos you want to do before [All portraits, just bride and groom, bridal party, family portraits…], it’s typically about 2 hours before the ceremony.
WHERE do we do it?
The first look takes place in a pretty location at your venue that is private enough that no-one is going to interrupt, and within walking distance to where we plan to do your bride and groom session. Unless your mind is made up, your photographer will choose the location according to what the lighting looks like on camera!
WHY? You should consider a First Look if you want…
- …a private and intimate moment to share with your bride or groom on your wedding day. Although traditional and monumental, the moment the groom see’s you walking down the aisle isn’t exactly private or intimate. A first look allows all of the emotions to flow freely because neither one of you are on stage with a million eyes staring at you.
- …release your nerves! Whether it’s nervous excitement or just stress about not tripping down the aisle, 100% of my brides who have opted for a first look verbally acknowledge that they feel more relaxed. And when you’re more relaxed, you’re able to enjoy yourself a bit more and be more present!
- …to finish all of the portraits before your ceremony. After your wedding, people are going to want to spend time with you. But without a first look, you’re whisked away for at least an hour for family portraits, bridal party portraits, and bride and groom portraits.
- …to attend your own cocktail hour. Speaking personally, I regret not doing a first look because I NEVER SAW my cocktail hour. We had set up a wall of family photos, carefully selected food stations, and decorated the interior of an old manor house… but I have no idea how it turned out! After our wedding, we were doing photos and then being introduced into our reception! Getting to attend cocktail hour has a trickle down effect. It also means that you get to visit with guests and therefore spend the reception dancing and not visiting tables… bonus!
- …to get married close to sunset! Now, this is more practical than preferential. You might be forced into a first look if the sun sets right after your ceremony… we can’t do portraits without light! [by the way, the opposite of this is true as well – if your wedding is a morning wedding or you’re planning to have a break between the ceremony and reception, you might NOT want to plan for a first look!]
- …more time for portraits. And honestly, more photos! More time means more of everything – haha! A cocktail hour is about 1hr. If we save all of the portraits for after, that doesn’t necessarily equate to 1hr of portraits. Don’t forget, we have to gather family, gather bridal party, walk to the portrait location, do the portraits, and stop in time for me to photograph the reception details before the guests enter… which usually equals about 30-40 minutes for ALL portraits! Yikes! [Can we make cocktail hour more like cocktail two hours?] So, with a first look, we ensure you get plenty of time to get everything you want!
- [bonus!]…clear weather for portraits. I’ve had to convince clients to do a first look on their wedding day only a few times. But it’s because of WEATHER! Summer is the season for those pop-up storms. If your wedding day is calling for afternoon treachery, be flexible!
If you’ve read this far, congrats – haha! If you’re not convinced of a first look, that is totally fine! You might be one of the couples who really shouldn’t opt for a first look! There is nothing wrong with this! I am excited to celebrate your wedding the way that you want to celebrate it! I don’t like to force things on couples unless it’s completely necessary, and in most situations, a first look is not necessary! All this to say, I hope this was helpful! Let me know your thoughts below!