As your wedding photographer, it’s my job to capture your day in a way that authentically tells the story of your love. When my couples give me the opportunity to have an input on their timeline, it is extremely beneficial for me to be able to provide advice for when certain pictures should be taken. Often times, I will ask my couples if they are interested in doing a first look. Sometimes, they will say, “Yes, I want to take all of my pictures before the ceremony!” while others say, “I don’t want him to see me at all before the ceremony.” Either response is perfectly fine, because there is no right or wrong way to get married, and whether you see each other before the ceremony or not is up to you!
However, as a photographer, I try to encourage brides to do a first look for a variety of reasons.
1. You get to see each other for the first time in an intimate setting, rather than a room full of people. It’s your wedding day, and it is so important to be able to spend time together with just the two of you. This may be the only time during the entire day where you will be alone with your husband. Cherish it. You are full of emotions and there’s no one watching. A first look will allow me to fully capture the emotions and feelings that immediately come to the surface when you see each other for the first time, and you will be able to fully express them, rather than keeping your composure during the ceremony.
2. A first look helps calm your nerves.As exciting as your wedding day is, it can also be very nerve wracking! By seeing your future husband (or wife!) before the ceremony, it reminds you of the love you have for each other. They are the one person who can calm your nerves, so why not see them before you walk down the aisle? Instead of feeling nerves at the alter, you will be excited!
3. There is more time for portraits!! A first look allows us to be much more flexible with the timeline, and usually provides the opportunity for more bride and groom portraits since we are not rushed after the ceremony to fit everything in. This special day is about you and your groom, and I want to be able to fully capture your joy, excitement and love through portraits your grandchildren will cherish.
4. A major concern that couples often run into is fitting in all of the family formals and other group photos after the ceremony and before the reception. Usually, the bride and groom don’t want to miss out on spending time with their friends and family at the reception/cocktail hour, but they are stuck taking family formals instead. One way to ease the pressure on the timeline between the ceremony and reception is by taking as many pictures as possible before the ceremony, including bride + groom portraits and bridal party portraits. By making sure we fit everything in before the ceremony, all we’ll have left afterwards are the family formals. You’ll be off to your reception in no time!
5. First looks allow you to extend your wedding day by at least 2 hours. Normally, your day would “start” as you walk down the aisle towards your groom, but with a first look, you get to spend extra time with your husband by starting the celebration earlier in the day. Instead of being rushed through your bridal party portraits, you can enjoy them and have fun with each other and your best friends! You will feel more at ease and get to spend much more of the day together, instead of waiting until the ceremony.
As always, this is your big day, so I want to work with you to create a timeline that’s perfect for you. Whether or not it includes a first look is up to you, but I want all of my couples to be fully aware of the benefits it can provide.