It’s traditional for the bride and groom to wait to see each other until the bride is walking down the aisle. A less traditional, but also popular option, is doing a first look. In the first look, the bride and groom arrange a time to see each other before the actual wedding ceremony. As a photographer I’m a huge fan of the first look and I recommend it to all of my clients! Here’s why.
First Looks allow you to be together and alone on your wedding day. When Jake and I saw each other, it was our only time to be alone the whole day! If you don’t do a first look, you really don’t have any time during the day that you are alone together.
When you walk down the aisle and your groom sees your for the first time, he can’t touch you, embrace you or even speak to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you what he thinks. And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance. When doing a first look, the two of you can take time to express your feelings for each other, without an audience.
Most grooms don’t realize how nerve wracking wedding days can be without a first look… Imagine it’s the wedding day. The groom gets ready with his groomsmen and then waits in a secluded room until the planner tells him its time. When he gets to the front of the ceremony, all eyes are on him, waiting for an amazing reaction to seeing his bride for the first time. Having a first look helps get rid of those nerves because instead of the groom being nervous of everyone watching his reaction, he’s already spend the morning with his bride and best friends and is free to enjoy the moment of his bride walking down the aisle.
Without a first look, it’s no secret that after going through the ceremony, a receiving line with lots of hugging, family pictures, and bridal party pictures, by the time you get to your bride and groom portraits, your hair and makeup won’t be quite the same. As the bride you’ll still look beautiful, but it’s more ideal to get your bride and groom portraits as early on in the day as possible, for hair and makeups sake!
First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle. After the ceremony you’d need to get family pictures, bridal party pictures, and bride and groom pictures. That’s a lot to squeeze in while your guests are waiting for the reception!
Some couples that opt out of a first look try to plan as much pictures as possible before the ceremony, but this creates an overly complicated timeline. For example this is how the timeline normally looks for couples who DON’T do a first look and don’t allow for enough time in between the ceremony and reception.
PHEW! Instead, here’s the order of events of an ideal wedding with a first look:
That’s a lot less complicated for everyone and simplifies the whole day! With a first look, instead of being rushed for your all your portraits… you actually get to enjoy them.
You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look, you’ll receive way more portraits of the two of you… In my opinion, these are the most important images of the day, so you should try to maximize the time available for these portraits to get the most out of your photography investment.
I hope these first look considerations were helpful. As a wedding photographer, I always prefer a first look, but however you decide to schedule your day, I’m happy to capture it!