Updated: Feb 9, 2019
Traditionally, couples don’t see each other before the ceremony on their wedding day. Many people have always dreamed of their spouse getting the very first glimpse of them while walking down the aisle in front of all of their friends and family. If this is what you have always wanted for your big day, then do it the old fashioned way! If you aren’t sure, or want to have a more intimate meeting between you and your partner before the ceremony, a first look may be right for you.
What is a First Look? A first look is a special 15 minute session between the bride(s) and/or groom(s) in which they see each other for the first time in a private setting before the wedding ceremony. I always recommend a first look for those who don’t mind veering from the traditional ways, and here are a few reasons why:
1. It calms the nerves. Your wedding day is one of the busiest, most stressful, happiest days of your life. Sometimes all you want is a hug from the one you love to remind you why you are doing this in the first place. Walking down the aisle with potentially hundreds of people watching you is a little less terrifying if you have already seen each other.
2. It gives you both time to take it all in and get it all out. Enjoying a few quiet moments alone before the events begin can help bring you out of “event mode” and back to what this day is really about – The two of you becoming one. You can share what you are feeling, cry in private, comfort each other, get all giddy and excited to get hitched, and complement each other on how amazing you look – all things you can’t do during the ceremony.
3. It gives you another chance for couple portraits. Every chance you get to do a quick shoot with just the two of you is worth taking. Wedding days are long, but you don't get to be alone too much without others waiting on you. Each opportunity for a few photos in a different location with different lighting will add more variety to your final album.
4. It makes the timeline easier to work with. (aka The main reason why wedding photographers love first looks!) If you see each other before the ceremony, we can do all family portraits (formals) and all bridal party photos before the ceremony as well. This means you get to enjoy your cocktail hour along with your guests! When the bride and groom can’t see each other before the ceremony, many photos have to wait to be taken until after the ceremony which will cut into your party time.
5. Your family and wedding party can relax. The main problem when trying to do family and bridal party photos after the ceremony is finding them! Once the wedding ceremony is over, your guests are instantly in party mode. Everyone heads off to cocktail hour, or straight to the reception. Trying to pull the family members and wedding party back out for photos can be an extremely daunting task. Once people have access to food and/or drinks, they are much more difficult to track down. When we do a first look, all of these can be out of the way so your guests and family can enjoy being in party mode without interruption.
6. We can focus on the couple after the ceremony. Rather than spending the entire cocktail hour tracking down and photographing your family members and wedding party, we can take just the two of you away again for a quiet, peaceful moment together. Just after the ceremony is one of my favorite times for couple portraits because you are both in giddy disbelief that you JUST GOT MARRIED! It is a romantic and intimate time and capturing it before more chaotic wedding day events is important to me.
7. First Looks aren’t only for the couple. Lots of people will get emotional when they see you in your dress for the first time. Some of my favorite first looks of all time have been between the bride and her father, mother, siblings, grandparents, or even bridesmaids. If you think capturing someone’s reaction to you in your dress is important- talk to your photographer about doing a first look with them. You won’t regret it!