Should You Do a First Look on Your Wedding Day?

Weddings are my absolute favorite. Being able to witness one of my couples say “I Do,” and commit themselves to each other forever is an experience that never gets old. Allowing my couples to see how much they love each other through the pure joy captured in their images is what makes my job so exciting and special. When couples come to me seeking out a photographer, I always ask them a few questions to make certain I serve them well on their special day. One of the most common questions I get, usually from the bride, is “should I do a first look?”

A first look is a newer, non-traditional trend where the couple is allowed to see each other before the ceremony. Seeing one another before walking down the aisle used to be a no-no! Now, first looks are extremely common and are an opportunity for you and your fiancé to have a special and intimate moment with one another without a crowd around.

Ultimately, the decision to have a first look or not is entirely up to you and your soon-to-be spouse. But if I am asked, my opinion is always “yes!” I am all for my couples getting to be in the moment on their wedding days and this can help make room for that. It’s about the experience first and foremost. 

Here are 3 reasons why you should do a first look:

Reason #1: Having a first look is a great opportunity to shake off pre-ceremony jitters and allow you two a moment alone before walking down the aisle. 

Wedding days can be stressful and if you ask past brides and grooms they will most likely tell you the day flew by in the blink of an eye. A first look is an awesome opportunity to capture the moment your partner (or a parent) sees you for the first time. It also allows for a calm and intimate moment to decompress, take photos, speak with one another and truly just be with each other before you have all your guests wanting your time and attention. 

I love getting my couples alone and allowing them time to just be together throughout the day, even beyond bride and groom portraits. After all, this day is about them and for them! It can also relieve a lot of stress and help get some nerves out before going down the aisle. I’ve heard from the majority of my couples that they felt so much more calm after seeing their person and so much more prepared to take on the rest of the day! Once you’ve walked down the aisle, there isn’t much freedom to talk or hug after seeing one another for the first time. You may have to wait 30 minutes for the ceremony to finish before you can actually talk freely to each other. 

Here’s what a former AK bride had to say. “I liked doing the first look because I could see his authentic up-close and personal reaction to how I looked without everyone else around. It was nice having it videoed and photographed too so we could look back on those reactions for years to come.” Her groom was reluctant at first but later said, “Looking back it was so worth it capturing both of our reactions in real-time on that day. It was absolutely timeless and priceless. It was also very relieving to get to see her and have a conversation. A great moment of calm!” 

Reason #2: First looks allow us the opportunity to capture more pictures of the bride and groom together, which is always a plus!

Opting in for a first look allows me to snap more photos of just the two of you!  I want to capture all the tears, laughs, and looks of awe and amazement. After seeing one other, it is entirely natural to spend a few moments taking pictures of the two of you twirling each other around, reading letters to one another, or simply hugging and kissing. It frees up time in our overall schedule as well, so we can get more of the shots you’ve been looking forward to with your wedding party and immediate family BEFORE the ceremony, allowing you to get to your reception sooner so you can celebrate your marriage with your loved ones. 

Reason #3: You get to spend more time with your fiancé, your family, and your guests in attendance.

By conducting a first look before the ceremony, you are giving yourself more time with your fiancé and your guests. The wedding day is all about you two but more often than not, you barely get to have a moment alone once the ceremony and reception begins. Sometime, first looks can give up to two extra hours on your wedding day. Brides and grooms notoriously end up missing out on their cocktail hour because that’s “portrait hour,” but if you have taken most of the portraits beforehand, you might have time to grab a drink and mingle! 

Scheduling a first look into your timeline allows for an intimate, no-distraction moment where you can just soak up one another before walking down the aisle. Makeup and hair is spotless, ties and bowties are straight, and everyone is looking their best making this moment all the more photo-worthy. But hey, maybe a first look simply isn’t for you. I will always support my couples who want to stay traditional and only see each other at the end of the aisle. You are in no way required to do one. Everyone decides differently! You just need to make sure you end up doing what resonates the most for the two of you. However you decide to structure your day, it’s important that you feel confident and excited about each part of it! 

Are you looking for a wedding photographer? Feel free to inquire about my services here or head over to my Instagram to check out my previous work!

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