Like any other major decision, there are pros and cons to doing a first look. As a photographer, I’ve seen first looks done a number of ways. The most important thing to consider is your experience and what works best for you!
When it comes to doing a first look, there are many pros and cons that one should consider. Whether or not you decide to do a first look on your wedding day is a personal and important decision. There are a lot of things to consider when trying to determine whether to do a first look.
We wrote this post with YOU in mind so you can consider multiple perspectives and think through which option is best for you.
A first look is the moment a bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day. Traditionally, first looks have been down the aisle. Over the years, many couples have been ditching the tradition of waiting to see each other for the first time during the ceremony. Instead, couples have been creating an intimate moment earlier in the day to see each other. Is a first look right for you?
Because doing a first look allows you to see one another earlier in the day, couples are able to then spend more time together resulting in more memories together rather than away from each other. Not only does it give you more time as a couple, but it also gives you more time with your guests which leaves us to our next point.
Anyone who has ever gotten married will likely tell you that the day goes by very quickly. Doing a first look allows couples to spend more time with their guests. After the ceremony, they can join the cocktail hour instead of having to cram in couple photos, bridal party photos, and family photos.
Photos can take a long time, especially with the larger groups, and so getting those all done before the ceremony allows the couple to just relax and enjoy being married once they’ve tied the knot rather than waiting for uncle bill to get out of the bathroom so you can start family photos. It certainly helps couples feel less rushed for photos (especially if the ceremony runs late).
It’s very common to feel nervous on your wedding day. Let’s face it, it’s a really big and important day. You’ve spent months, maybe even years, anticipating and planning for your wedding day. When the day arrives, it can be very overwhelming. Doing a first look is a great way to reduce the stress and calm nerves.
Doing a first look allows couples to process their day and feelings together, and then have some time to themselves before the ceremony. They can go into their ceremony knowing where the other person is emotionally and how they can support and love them.
Doing a first look allows couples to be intimate and do all those things without the pressure. For many couples, the thought of walking down the aisle and having hundreds of guests stare at them while they see each other for the first time actually takes away from the moment. They’re not able to talk, or fully react, and they have to wait until after the ceremony to fully be able to interact and have a conversation with one another. They can cry, laugh, share inside jokes, read a letter, exchange a gift, process their feelings, and just be in the moment as a couple – just the two of them.
Not every first look has to be the exact same way. There are so many different things couples can do to make it personal. Some of our favorite first look ideas include: reading love letters, exchanging personal vows, singing and playing music, reciting poetry, praying together, or even just going for a good old walk together as a couple. There are lots of ways you can incorporate things that are personal and meaningful into your first look and we definitely recommend doing something to make it special.
Here is a wedding video we filmed where the couple did a letter reading at their first look – beware, you may just shed a tear!
Some people are more traditional and want to keep the first look down the aisle as a formal tradition. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. We have seen it done many times down the aisle and there is something special about it. It’s truly a powerful moment no matter when you do your first look. Doing your a first look down the aisle can be very sacred for some people.
In order to do all the couple photos, family photos, and bridal party photos after the ceremony there needs to be sufficient time to do so. A cocktail hour for guests while family and bridal party photos take place is going to be needed in order to accomplish this.
If you have a large family and bridal party, you will want at least an hour for this and possibly more depending on how many people you have and the logistics of the location and where you are taking photos. You will also need to account for time for couple photos too, whether that be during cocktail hour or golden hour.
The time of year, venue space, and logistics of your timeline are important to consider. A lot more planning and coordinating is needed if you plan to do your first look down the aisle. This will push all photos to take place after the ceremony. You will want to work closely with your photographer to ensure you have a good plan in place.
Intimate weddings are weddings that are anywhere from 10 to 50 guests. This makes it a smaller and more intimate setting. If the guest list is shorter, logistics go smoother. Couples don’t have to worry as much about rounding people up for family photos or stress about not being able to connect with everyone at the reception. The smaller, more intimate, settings allow for a more personal experience. Usually couples can sneak away easier for portraits during golden hour as well!
For those who are considering not doing a first look, but still want to create an intimate personal moment, you can still have a private moment without seeing each other. I have seen it done where couples will stand back to back, on opposite sides of a corner, or stand in a doorway with the door blocking their view of each other. During these times, couples may take a moment to:
Whether or not a couple decides to do a first look is a big decision. The most important thing to do is decide what is most important to you as a couple. Whatever you decide, make the decision because it’s what you want. Weigh the pros and cons of doing a first look. Don’t feel pressured by someone else’s expectations for you. Your wedding day is a day that goes by fast! Plan your day based on what will be the best experience for you!
Hey there, We’re Luke and Halle (also Known as Lulle)! We are a husband and wife photography and videography team. We have been on the other side of planning a wedding and so we get it! There are a lot of stresses and decisions that go into planning a wedding or elopement. It is our goal to serve you and help you create the wedding of your dreams.
If you’re looking for a photographer or videographer to capture your wedding, we’d love to connect! Fill out our connect form to get more information and schedule a meeting with us!
We are so excited for you! We hope to hear from you soon!