If there’s one decision a lot of brides struggle with when planning their wedding days, it’s whether to choose a first look or not. And we totally get it! In fact, as we were planning our own wedding, we went back and forth for MONTHS on whether to do a first look… and we work in the wedding industry and recommend first looks 100% of the time to our brides! Ha!
In the end, we did decide to do a first look… and you guys, it was one of THE best decisions we made for our entire wedding day. It’s not an easy decision, so today I want to talk a little bit about what a first look is, how it works, and the top 5 benefits of choosing to do a first look on your wedding day! I’m super passionate about first looks and I’m so excited to be sharing my heart on this today!
But first… we need to make a little disclaimer here! Although we recommend first looks 100% of the time, many couples choose not to do one. And you know what? That is totally okay. It’s a hugely personal decision for the bride and groom to make together. And those sweet couples are STILL going to have amazing wedding days. They are still marrying the love of their life. And their wedding day will still be completely beautiful and them. Yes, we believe it is ideal to choose a first look in order to have a smooth timeline and maximize your photo time, but we don’t always shoot first looks and that’s totally alright. 💕
Defining a First Look
First, what even is a first look?! Essentially, a first look is a scheduled time on the wedding day for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony, when a bride and groom traditionally see each other for the first time. Typically, it happens right after the bride finishes getting ready for the wedding day. This moment allows couples to see each other privately for the first time on their wedding day, rather than when the bride is walking down the aisle.
How it Works
Before the wedding day, Luke and I help our couples select the perfect spot in beautiful light for the first look. On the wedding day, Luke will walk the groom to this spot first. He’ll prep the groom for the first look, photograph him as he waits for his bride, and position him with his back to the direction the bride will be coming from. I’ll be with the bride; I’ll walk her towards the first look location and coach her as we walk. I usually tell our brides that they can let this moment happen however they want… she can hug her groom and have him turn around, tap him on the shoulder, etc.
I then give her a minute to breathe and start walking towards her groom, then hold back my tears as the two of them see each other for the first time on the best day of their lives! Luke and I photograph this moment from varying angles, then step away to allow the couple a few minutes to themselves before we roll into portrait time.
Top 5 Benefits of a First Look
You already know that we are HUGE believers in first looks for many reasons, and these are the top five!
1. First looks allow brides and grooms to see each other for the first time on the wedding day without all the pressure…
of often 200+ guests watching when they see each other as the bride is walking down the aisle. This is a huge reason I love first looks… it truly allows the nerves of seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day to go away, because the pressure is off! They can react however they want and be completely themselves, because it is only them there. This moment is so genuine, authentic and sweet and only the two of them get to experience it together!
2. First looks still build anticipation for seeing each other when the bride walks down the aisle.
They actually take out none of the emotion for seeing each other as the bride walks down the aisle during the ceremony! A common misconception about first looks is that doing one takes all of the emotion out of seeing the bride walk down the aisle. And this just isn’t so! We have seen, both in shooting weddings and experiencing our own, that doing a first look actually builds MORE emotion when the bride is walking down the aisle, rather than taking it away!
3. First looks allow the bride and groom to have TONS more pictures together.
I’ll talk about this more in a minute, but a timeline with a first look allows a bride and groom to have portrait time before the ceremony (immediately following their first look) AND after the ceremony for married portraits (before their reception). Plus, the bride and groom get to devote all that time in between their ceremony and their reception to photos of the two of them, since we got all the other photos taken before the ceremony! Win-win!
4. First looks allow a bride and groom to spend almost their entire wedding day together.
After a first look, the bride and groom aren’t apart until immediately before the ceremony. Then, they’re together for the rest of the wedding day! When we were thinking about our wedding day, Luke and I realized that we wanted to spend as much time together as we possibly could. We are each other’s best friends, and we wanted to spend that day together, since it is such a special day and a huge moment in our lives!! We had SO much fun all day together. 💛
5. First looks allow the wedding day to be less rushed and more calm.
I believe this wholeheartedly… and it’s simple, really: Since a first look allows a bride and groom to see each other before the wedding, it also allows us to get all their photos done BEFORE the ceremony! This includes photos of the bride and groom, bridal party, and family portraits. What we would’ve otherwise had to do in the short period of time between a ceremony and reception, we were then able to spread out over several hours before the ceremony. Everyone is calmer, more relaxed, and is able to truly enjoy the photo time rather than hurry through it to get to the reception on time!
We hope this helps you guys! If you have any questions about first looks that weren’t covered here, please leave a comment or email us! We’d love to help you out. Have a wonderful day friends!!