first look

5 Reason You NEED To Plan On Doing A First Look

You’ve met with your photographer for your wedding day and they ask if you want to do a first look (or maybe they don’t ask (sigh), which is another blog post entirely). Before you make up your mind, check out 5 reasons this wedding day manager feels that you NEED a first look.

  1. Timing

This is probably the biggest reason I strongly recommend having a first look. If your wedding day manager or planner has worked your timeline to its fullest advantage, you would be done getting ready at virtually the same time regardless if you were planning on a first look or not. Where timing gets a little sticky is after the ceremony. The sunset waits for no wedding and getting a little behind in taking pictures after you get married means you run the risk of pushing the rest of the night into crunch mode. Having a first look means you have more time after the ceremony for whatever you need it for and you know you have amazing images from earlier in the day.

2. Calm those nerves

This is a big one as well. Even if you’ve been with your partner forever, you will still be nervous on your wedding day - nervous to be getting married, nervous being up in front of all those people, nervous seeing the love of your life on the day you pledge to be together forever. Taking those 15 minutes to just see each other, talk to each other, touch each other will make all the difference in the world. And you will still feel all the butterflies when you see each other at the end of the aisle for the first time.

3. Enjoy cocktail hour

You spent all that time picking out fabulous food and drinks for cocktail hour and then you don’t get to enjoy it. Why? Because you spend the entire cocktail hour taking pictures. Having a first look can cut that picture taking time in half (depending on when you ask your family to arrive for pictures before the ceremony). We see this as a win win situation for everyone. You get to enjoy cocktail hour, your photographer has more time to capture your wedding day and your guests can even sneak in a few extra minutes with you.

4. Photographers love the extra time

Sometimes timing just is against us and things happen - people are late, dresses don’t fit quite right, spills happen and the time that the photographer would have been able to use to capture detail images and cocktail candids gets eaten up capturing wedding portraits, wedding party and family images. By having a first look, you free up your photographer to grab all the detail shots and fun candids that happen during cocktail hour. Plus they can get creative with the time that they do have to take you to fun location and try interesting poses.

5. Venue disadvantages

You may have found a venue that only gives you a certain number of hours for your ceremony and reception and there just aren’t enough hours for everything that you want to do. Or it is a pretty place, but doesn’t have that “wow” location that you’ve always dreamed about for wedding pictures. By having a first look, you can get more bang for your buck. I know, how will scheduling a first look that takes time work in your limited time favor? Hear me out. Scheduling a first look allows you to pick the spot and decide how long you want the session to last - first date location, favorite park, water background, desert back drop, the choices are almost endless. Plus, you can take as much or as little time as you’d like (just let your wedding day manager or planner in on it so they can schedule the timeline accordingly).

I know there are a few things that may cause you to question having a first look.

It’s tradition.

You’re right, it was tradition, back when couples were part of arranged marriages and the parents of the bride didn’t want the groom to run away. All joking aside, if you are truly tied to the tradition of not seeing each other until you walk down the aisle, consider a first touch or blindfolded first look.

I won’t have that “wow” moment/feeling.

You will have that moment, promise. If you have a first look, you get to have that moment twice. Nothing will take away that feeling of seeing your beloved walking down the aisle to pledge themselves to you.

I have limited time with my photographer.

Most photographers have a time limit on their package. If you are already having them capture getting ready moments, then they will be there pre-ceremony anyway. If you are not having them there pre-ceremony because you feel you need them through the end of the reception, work with your wedding day manager or planner and shift all the must have moments to the time period before the photographer leaves for the evening. Doing this will allow your time to begin earlier and you can have that first look.

First Looks - They Aren't Just For Your Spouse To Be

Some of my favorite moments of a wedding happen just before the ceremony. I adore watching all the details come together, seeing all of the beautiful people and watching all the moments unfold. As a wedding day manager I encourage a first look - it helps with nerves and it allows you to get a ton of the formal, posed pictures out of the way allowing so much more time for couples portraits.

But first looks aren’t just for couples!

I also strongly encourage (if it is at all possible, I know sometimes it just can’t happen) a first look between a bride and her dad, a groom and his mom, a bride and her mom, a groom and his dad or any other combination. Having those moments when a parent sees their child, all decked out and about to walk down the aisle about to become someone’s amazing spouse, recorded for all time is so very precious. Images evoke memories and these memories can be so emotional that I want to ensure that if it is at all possible to arrange, it happens. Taking those five minutes now will be so worth it in 20 years!

Ask your photographer to help make this happen!

When your photographer reaches out and asks about your must have images, ask to have this moment added in to the mix. It can be done just prior to your first look with your future spouse and won’t add that much time to your timeline. Keep it sweet and simple and have your makeup artist on stand by to do a little touching up before you cast eyes on your fabulous spouse to be!