Should you do a first look on your wedding day?

You might have seen it over and over again as you started planning your wedding on Pinterest or on the blogs of other photographers, planners, and coordinators.  Are you wondering what a First Look actually is? 

What is a First Look?

First Looks are not new, I'm sure they've been around for a long time but really come to become the new tradition about 7 years ago.  Since then they have taken lots of different forms but to put it simply, it's when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony.  

Why do a First Look?

There are many reasons that a First Look might come into play during your wedding day.  In my experience, it usually happens for one of two reasons:

  1. To take advantage of the light.  For example, if your getting married in the fall and your ceremony is at 4pm, that doesn't leave much time for portraits of the two of you.  It cuts into time with family, perhaps a cocktail hour, or another event during your day.  To take advantage of the light, we'll schedule the portrait session before the ceremony when light is abundant.  This way we ensure that you have great photos of the two of you with lots of time. 
  2. Another reason couples opt for a First Look instead of staying with the traditional see-you-after-the-ceremony, is to have a moment alone together.  Usually, after the ceremony, there really isn't much time spent as a couple, alone, together.   Having a couple of hours just the two of you really makes the day even more special.  

How does it work?

The great thing about the First Look is that when you see each other, right after you ease right into the portrait session.  It is a seamless transition that allows for many more photos during your day and also allows the photographer to get those must have shots as well as experiment a little bit without eating time from major events on the day of.  I'm sure that was a run on sentence but you get the idea.  

This is especially important if light is an issue during your day.  After all, your photographs are all that you'll have left and you want to make sure you have the most beautiful photographs of you and your hubby!

But it'll take away the surprise!

FALSE! There is nothing wrong with keeping it traditional, I have many couples who opt for traditional all the time and everything works out perfectly.  However, thinking that seeing each other before the wedding takes away from walking down the aisle, IT DOESN'T at all!

I have had grooms who are beyond nervous and quite frankly need more than a shot or two before the wedding, and after the First Look have expressed to me that it was the best decision because it made them even MORE excited to see their bride walk down the aisle.  

My husband and I also opted for a first look and we got some of our favorite images from it! It was a nice time to see each other and be alone for a bit before seeing our friends and family for the rest of the day.  It definitely calmed my nerves! 

Whether you opt to go the traditional route or do a First Look, just know that you have options.  Make sure you talk with your photographer to see which suits your day the best.