If you’re planning a wedding, you’ve probably heard the term ‘first look’ come up a few times. I may be a little biased as I’ve experienced a first look from both the photographer and bride’s point of view, but it’s something that I know is extremely beneficial to the couple. For those who might not know what a first look is…
A ‘first look’ simply means the first time you’ll see one another on the wedding day, prior to the ceremony.
When planning our wedding, Brian and I knew from the start that we wanted to do a first look. I had seen how happy and calm other couples were when they incorporated one into their day and had also seen some moments of stress for couples who didn’t. Seeing Brian for the first time as my soon-to-be husband – hugging, giggling, talking about how we couldn’t believe this day had come – was a moment that I’ll cherish forever and I’m so glad that our photographer was there to capture it.
As a photographer, I always recommend a first look to my clients and often times it can be one of their favorite moments of the day. When we first begin the discussion about a first look, there is a wide range of knowledge on the topic. Some couples have never heard of the idea, some are already set on doing one, and others aren’t interested at all as they’re focused on the un-traditional aspects of a first look. But before writing it off completely, there are a few reasons why I believe every couple should consider doing a first look.
- You’re able to fully experience the moment of seeing each other for the first time. Picture this: You’re walking down the aisle, all eyes are on you and on your soon-to-be-spouse, and when you finally reach the front of the aisle, instead of embracing/hugging/kissing/telling each other how great you look or how excited you are…your emotions are put on hold as you have to continue on with the rest of the ceremony. Not only until after the ceremony concludes do you actually get to embrace and express to each other how you’re feeling. Seeing each other prior to the ceremony lets you fully experience that moment, uninterrupted. And trust me, doing a first look will not take away from the excitement of seeing each other when you’re walking down the aisle. We did a first look and I cried the entire way down! :) They are two totally separate experiences!
- It helps release any nerves or anxiety. Often times, a first look puts the couple at ease. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of emotions that come with the wedding day and it’s normal to be nervous. But for some people, those nerves can be overwhelming. Every bride dreams of the reaction her soon to be husband will have when she walks down the aisle. But the truth is, sometimes the nerves and anxieties of having all eyes on you can get in the way of those true reactions. Seeing each other prior to the ceremony helps put those overwhelming nerves at ease, so you can feel excited (rather than anxious) to walk down that aisle. In that moment, you’re able to focus solely on each other rather than focusing on friends or family or the pressure of being in front of a crowd.
- It’s alone time for the two of you. There is a lot going on during your wedding day and sometimes it feels like you’re going a million miles a minute. Doing a first look schedules in that time for just the two of you on your wedding day – maybe your only alone time that day. For us, it was so nice to step away from the hustle and bustle of the day to have a moment to ourselves.
- It can allow you to spend more time with your beloved. There are instances, believe it or not, where the couple ends up spending more time with their photographer than they do with their spouse. Crazy, right? But it happens. If your ceremony is later in the day, and you’re transitioning rather quickly into your reception, then you’re pushing that time together until later in the day. A first look allows you two to spend more time together because you’re pushing up that time to see each other to earlier in the day, say noon rather than waiting until your ceremony at 3pm. In my opinion, your wedding day only happens once and you should spend every minute you can with your spouse!
- It helps with the wedding day timeline. This is probably the biggest reasons why couples choose to do a first look. For one, they don’t want their guests to have to wait in between the ceremony and cocktail hour while they do their photos. Having a first look and then going right into your formal portraits prior to the ceremony eliminates that need for such a large time gap. Secondly, when you do your formal photos beforehand, you’re able to transition right along with the guests into your reception. Most couples (including us!) don’t want to miss any part of the celebration, including cocktail hour. A first look followed by portraits alleviates the stress of having to pack a lot into a short amount of time (family formals, wedding party photos and photos of the two of you) and allows you to attend cocktail hour and enjoy the rest of your wedding day. Essentially, after the ceremony/family formals you’re off the hook! With no more scheduled ‘formal’ photography to worry about.
Happy Tuesday, loves! xo