Nothing compares to seeing the love of your life for the first time on your wedding day! Whether you are doing a first look or seeing each other for the first time at the altar, it’s always such an intimate and emotional moment, and by far one of my favorite moments to capture as a photographer! If you know me, you know that I am a HUGE fan of first looks! They’re amazing! However, not everyone is aware of how amazing they are, because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off. Even though I do not require my couples to do a first look, I always recommend it because there are SO many benefits! Keep reading for just a few of the many benefits that come with doing a first look!
Doing a first look gives you so much more time on your wedding day, which in turn makes the entire day much more relaxed! You won’t feel rushed to get all your portraits done during the short cocktail hour, and this also means that you won’t need to inconvenience your guests with a long break in between the ceremony and the start of cocktail hour. With a first look, you’ll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the photos that you will want to print and cherish forever. I find that wedding days with first looks are so much more relaxed and enjoyable because we aren’t rushing to get all of the photos done in the short window of time between your ceremony and reception. We can take our time and you two can simply enjoy being together on your happiest day!
First Looks allow you to extend the amount of time you spend together on your wedding day. Instead of spending the majority of the day hiding from each other until you come down the aisle, you actually get to spend several hours together before the ceremony starts! With a first look, your time together on the wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your bride & groom and bridal party portraits…you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your best friends on your wedding day. The WHOLE first half of my client’s wedding albums are filled with images just from this time together before the ceremony.
When you do a first look, your groom’s reaction will still be JUST as amazing as if it were at the altar, if not BETTER! I find that most grooms are able to let their guard down more in an intimate setting. Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally shock him with your gorgeousness, he can’t even tell you how amazing you look. He can’t touch you, embrace you or even speak to you. You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance. Since the first look is just the two of you (plus myself and my team), the groom’s reaction will be more genuine. And believe me, the buildup before the First Look is just as exciting as the altar! With that said, there’s just something special about that moment that the bride walks down the aisle. Even if the groom has seen her before the ceremony, you can often expect the tears and sweet reaction all over again!
First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. When Bodie and I saw each other on our wedding day, not only was it intimate, it was our only time to be alone the whole day! We cried and laughed and cried some more… and then that put us in the PERFECT mood for our romantic portraits. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals, and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other, and I always capture some super sweet images during those moments!
You get rid of your nerves! I’d say, literally 1/2 of my couples who have decided to do a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve racking it can be. I have testimonials from so many grooms who initially weren’t a fan of the first look… but afterwards they admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!
This is a big one! When you do a first look, almost all of your portraits are completed before the ceremony. Typically, the only portraits that need to be taken after the ceremony are the family formals. This means that as soon as family photos are done, you get to spend almost your entire cocktail hour mingling with your guests! Your wedding day goes by so quickly and you will find you are constantly being pulled in different directions. This is the perfect opportunity for you to get to say hello and hug those friends and family members that you don’t get to see often!
If you’re getting married sometime between November and March, it’s likely that a first look is necessary in order to get any photos outside in natural light. As a photographer who thrives while shooting in natural light, I strongly encourage my couples who get married during this timeframe to do a first look. With an early sunset time and most ceremonies not starting until later in the afternoon, a first look might be your only option for natural light portraits.
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Over on the blog, I share resources to guide you as you plan for your engagement session and wedding day! As a photographer, I spend almost every weekend at weddings and know all of the do's and don'ts that go into planning your big day. See some of my favorite posts below!