I have always been and will always be a huge fan of first looks, and one of the first questions I ask a couple is if they would want to do one or not. I never require a couple to have one, but it is highly recommended and in this post I will go over those reasons in full detail! Whether you have a first look or not really determines how the whole wedding day will flow. From the timeline, to the pictures, and to getting to the reception after the ceremony. Keep an open mind about it as you look through this post and figure out what will work best for you as a couple, and how you want your wedding day to feel.
“We don’t want to do a first look because my fiance wants the first time he sees me to be when I’m walking down the aisle.”
“My Mom doesn’t like the idea of doing a first look because she is adamant that the groom isn’t supposed to see the bride until the ceremony.”
I hear these statements pretty often, and like I mentioned, I never require a couple to do a first look, but I wanted to write a blog post highlighting the benefits of having a first look vs not having one. So here we go!
Coming from my own wedding planning experience as a soon-to-be bride almost 5 years ago, Justin was so set on not having a first look because he wanted the first time he saw me to be when I was walking down the aisle. I definitely wanted to do one, but he was hesitant and leaning more on the traditional view of things. I saw where he was coming from, and honestly thought it was really sweet, but I also knew as a photographer how sweet first looks are, and how much easier they make a wedding day as far as pictures go. We would shoot weddings where the couple didn’t do first looks, and yes, the groom would have a great reaction when the bride walked in, but then we would shoot weddings where the couple did do a first look, and the groom would have that same reaction during the first look, and then have it AGAIN during the ceremony. Double win! I’ve seen it time and time again. The groom will still beam from ear to ear when you walk down the aisle, even if you do a first look (unless he’s a grumpy gill who doesn’t like weddings). I remember one wedding in particular where we were photographing the first look, and it was super sweet just like every one we’ve photographed, but for some reason, Justin left the wedding that day with his mind changed and wanting to have a first look on our wedding day.
Our wedding day came, we did the first look, and we regret nothing! Here’s a few more reasons why.
Justin’s reaction when he turned around and saw me, is one of my favorite wedding pictures from the whole day. It was such a sweet and intimate moment, and was documented so beautifully. I loved that it was just us, the photographers (of course), and my sister who brought tissues so I wouldn’t ruin my makeup from crying. Another reason for us choosing to do a first look was that we hadn’t kissed yet, and didn’t want our first kiss to be in front of 200+ wedding guests. 😉
Our nerves immediately went away once we saw each other. We were so happy to spend the day we’ve been planning for so long together.
We were able to spend an extra 3-4 hours with each other versus only being together during the ceremony and reception. Who wouldn’t want to spend more time with their bride or groom on their wedding day?!
We were able to get ALL the photos done before the ceremony, so we could go straight to the reception and start partying right away!
We were able to get more photos than we would have, had we not chosen to do a first look. On wedding days when a couple chooses not to do a first look, I hate to keep guests waiting, so our time limit is pretty tight for getting all the family formals, bridal party pictures, and portraits of the bride and groom together and as a result, you don’t get as many photos.
Our wedding was in the summer so we didn’t have to worry about the sunset being early, but during fall and winter wedding season, most ceremonies start around 4, which means there’s only a 30ish minute window to get photos done before the sun sets. I always suggest for my fall/winter couples to do a first look because of this and none of them have regretted it! I did have one couple that still decided against it, and as a result, all their photos were taken in the dark with a flash, which I’m prepared for if I have to do that, but it isn’t ideal and their photos didn’t match the rest of their portraits from earlier in the day.
Here’s a few of my favorite first looks from 2018 <3
Daniel & Morgan
Demi & Casey
You are able to move right into your portraits together! So seamless, and so sweet.
Sam & Mary Kathryn
I love when couples write letters to each other! Sam had just read his from Mary Kathryn before their first look, and his reaction was so sweet.
Will & Elizabeth
Another favorite is when brides decide to do a “first look” with their dad! I had one with my dad on my wedding day and their some of my favorite pictures.
Elizabeth & Mr. Gooch
Morgan & Mr. Leslie
Mary Kathryn & Mr. Brundige
So there are my reasons for the benefits of having a first look! I hope you love whatever you choose to do!