One of the MANY decisions engaged couples have to make about their wedding day:
Should we do a “First Look?”
What is a first look exactly? What are the benefits of doing a first look? What are the downsides? How do we decide??? Don’t worry, I’m here to help!
What is a first look?
It’s more of a recent thing that modern couples do with their photographer, where they set up a private moment before the trip down the aisle with just the bride, groom and their photographer to capture the moment they see each other for the first time on their wedding day.
Usually the photographer will face the groom away from where the bride will be approaching to start and take photos of the groom anxiously waiting. The bride will approach, tap him on the shoulder and the photographer will capture his reaction as he turns around and sees the bride for the first time and their interactions as an almost married couple. Hugs, kisses, high-fives, tears, jokes and usually lots of compliments about how amazing they both look!
What are the benefits of doing a first look?
1. Nerves. On such a big, eventful day with a lot of people around, sometimes the nerves can get the best of you, and seeing your favorite person in the world is the only way to calm those nerves. Doing a first look can bolster you because you get a quiet minute (mostly) alone before the vows and celebrations.
2. Timeline. Photographers like first looks because it gives them an extra chance to take photos of just the two of you. Often after the ceremony, with celebrations waiting and antsy family members on-deck, the time for portraits is rushed or cut short. With the opportunity for a first look, we’ve already got at least a dozen keepers of just the two of you where we weren’t trying to wrangle family members at the same time. We’ll even have a little more time to expand on poses after the ceremony!
3. Memories. While it’s a departure from the tradition, a first look can add another special memory to your day. Moments go by so quickly, and this can be an instance when time stops for a minute.
4. Daylight. Depending on the time of the year and the time of your ceremony, we may be competing with the sun to get your portraits in! Doing a first look ensures that even as the sun is going down, we’ve got all the shots we want and takes the pressure off. You want to be able to relax and enjoy yourselves as a married couple. The least amount of stress in that process, the better.
5. You’re freshly dolled up. The first look happens literally right after you’re finished with hair, makeup, and in the dress. Your man is freshly ironed, groomed, shaved, and cologned. Why not see each other and take pictures while every hair is actually still in place? No one’s had a chance to even start sweating!
6. Convincing your Groom. Surprisingly, it’s usually not the Bride who opposes the idea of a First Look… it’s the Groom! He envisioned the “watching his bride coming down the aisle” moment and is attached to the tradition of it, which I totally get. But a couple points that may sway him? The more pictures you have done earlier in the day, the faster your post-ceremony portraits are… the sooner you’re on to eating (!), drinking (!!), cutting loose and having so much fun you forget your photographer is even there! And, you still get that walking down the aisle moment, just with fewer nerves and a better chance of soaking it all in.
Still not convinced? First looks don’t always have to be the Bride & Groom. A first look with the Bride and her Dad is a great idea (and usually make me cry), or anyone who she’s close to that isn’t in the room helping her get ready. I really like the idea of a first look with the Bride and her twin brother, so if anyone out there is ready to make that happen, let me know!
Another way to “be with” each other before the ceremony is to write each other a letter. They can find a quiet moment to read it before the ceremony, reading words you wrote for them to make them smile and feel your love without you even having to be there. These letters make great mementos and have that vintage, old school feel.
Whatever you decide, it will be beautiful and unique to you two as a couple. Remember there’s no wrong way, so go with your gut and do what feels right!