With the wedding season fast approaching, I’ve had many of my upcoming brides ask about doing a first look. It’s a new age, so it’s no longer considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. This is always such a very personal decision and the best answer to this question is to do what is important and feels right to you! There are some pretty big advantages to doing a first look session prior to the wedding, but ultimately the choice is yours. From a photographer’s perspective, I always highly recommend having a first look for the following five reasons:
- It’s just the two of you: Seeing each other before the ceremony always, always helps to calm your nerves. In all honesty, this will probably be the only time throughout your whole wedding day where you will be alone together. These private moments before you start taking more formal portraits are often the most special for the bride and groom. You are able to say a prayer together, exchange meaningful gifts, relax and think about the moments to come. This quiet, contemplative time also helps to calm your nerves and prepare for the day ahead. The other big thing is you’ll actually get intimate time together! Most people think walking down the aisle is the most emotional moment of the whole day because of tradition. When he watches you walk down the aisle and sees just how amazing you look, he can’t touch you, embrace you, hug you or even speak to you until the end of the ceremony. You have to wait until the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you just how beautiful you look! By then, generally the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first look.
- More Portraits: Wedding photography is an investment, so why not get the most out of it? With a first look, you get at least 40% more portraits of the two of you together! By doing a first look, you make the most of your investment and get the most for you money!
- Freshness: Doing all of your portraits before the ceremony ensures the bride, groom, bridal party and family are all in top form. The bride and bridesmaid’s hair and makeup are fresh, and the groom and groomsmen are still okay with being in their tuxes!
- Timing: Having a first look gives you the opportunity to extend your wedding day by at least 2 hours! Think about it.. your wedding day would start when you walk down the aisle, go through the ceremony, rush through portraits and then rush to the reception. This hardly gives you any time to enjoy the day with your new husband and guests! With a first look, your wedding day starts earlier. Instead of rushing to get through all the portraits so you can make it to the reception on time, you actually get to take your time, enjoy them and just have fun being with your friends and family.
- Spend time with guests: A wedding day is meant to be a celebration of two souls and two families joining together. There are many family members and friends coming from all over to support the two of you as you say, “I do.” Don’t you want to spend as much time with them as possible? By doing a first look and having all of your pictures done before the ceremony, you are free to head to the cocktail hour immediately after the ceremony and spend time catching up with all those guests you haven’t seen in years!
When my husband and I were married we opted to do a first look and it was one of the best decisions we made (the middle picture above is a shot from our first look taken by the wonderful Emily Steffen)! Many of the reasons why we chose to do so are listed above, but to us it was really important we were present at our cocktail hour to spend time with those closest to us. Our family and friends are really important to us so we wanted to make sure we could spend as much time with them as possible. Some of our relatives came from out of state just to be there for us, support us and help us to celebrate our marriage. By getting most of our pictures done before the ceremony ensured that we would be present at our cocktail hour and be able to greet guests as they arrived to our home. A first look isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you choose to do, I guarantee you won’t regret it!
Did you and your husband do a first look? Comment below and tell me your first look story! Did you love it? Would you recommend it to others?