So, you’ve started planning your wedding day timeline and one of the things you can’t decide on is whether or not to do a first look. I mean you’ve always been a traditionalist and seeing each other before the ceremony is bad luck right? But, at the same time you’ve seen these wedding first look photos and they look stunning. Like actually breath taking? You want a moment like, don’t you?
It can be a tough decision. And there are definitely pros and cons to both. So let’s discuss it and hopefully by the end you can make a decision that’s best for you.
The First Look Explained
I have a deep love for First Looks. There is most definitely a reason for this.
Um because they’re awesome. But, not everyone is aware of how awesome they truly are because they get caught up in how “non-traditional” it is and they immediately write it off! Most couples want a reaction. But, believe it or not I have seen many couples have a first look and still cry seeing them walk down the aisle(queue my own water works).
For most couples nerves kick in before you even see each other, so at the wedding first look everything becomes very real! So when the nerves start creeping up, instead of keeping a partner in a secluded space until their time to enter the ceremony, what if you took them to a private place, no people, no on-lookers, no distractions and you let their partner, the love of their life, quietly call their name and have them turn around to see you for the first time.
They would turn around and finally get the first look at their stunning partner and not only would they see each other, they could embrace, cry, or enjoy a kiss together and ENJOY that moment for as LONG as they wanted. You can share about your outfits, what’s happened so far, take a breather. Because they aren’t on a time crunch they casually move into their romantic portraits. No one is around, the coordinator isn’t announcing “15 minutes left”, and there is no pressure. It’s just the two of them and their photographer capturing the excitement and the joy of their wedding day. This is their time to be together and to be alone.
At A Glance
Before I get into all the nitty gritty of the pros and cons. Let’s just quickly look at this quiz. It should hopefully in a nutshell give you a starting point and see how you’re feeling about.
Are You Traditional?
Are you a hard nose traditionalist and are going for the big white wedding with the big dress, the 500 people, etc? Yes? Then, you probably don’t want to do a first look. I’m willing to bet you’re a firm believer in it’s bad luck to see the groom before and if you truly believe that then it will be so just let him see for the first time as you walk down the aisle.
Maybe, you don’t know. You’re pretty traditional and want to keep some traditions like something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. But, not all of them like the separating the sides for the ceremony. So, you’re kinda on the fence for the first look. Honestly, you should do whatever feels right. Maybe talk to some other people getting married and see their thoughts.
All I will say is that first looks give the bride and groom a special moment that’s just the two of them; a moment that’s very hard to get in such a hectic day. Trust me, you’re going to look amazing and even when he see’s you a second time walking down the aisle you’ll still take his breath away.
Do you think you’ll be anxious on the big day?
It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and nervous on your wedding. There are so many different moving parts from the vendors, to families meeting, to the commitment. A lot is happening at once and if you’re the type of person that feels these types of emotions often or you think you might be overwhelmed by them at all. I would 100% consider a first look.
I guarantee you that you’ll feel 100% more relaxed walking down the aisle after having a first look. Almost all couples say their nerves immediately calm down once they lay their eyes on their partner. But, maybe you thrive off of nervousness so then maybe don’t do a first look.
Do you want as many pictures as possible?
I feel like the obvious answer is DUHHHH. But, hey ya never know?? A first look gives your photographer even MORE opportunities for photos. How, you might ask?
Well, let me feel you in. You’ll obviously get this moment captured which is already one more moment than without it. But, then you’ll also have time to do some wedding party pictures before perhaps even some family portraits. This way, after your ceremony you have even more time for pictures or more time with guests. Either way is a win win.
Why it’s worth it
40 % MORE PORTRAITS
You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. All that math I did in college is comin’ in hot with this one! With a First Look, you’ll receive 40% more portraits of the two of you and those are the images you will decorate your first home with. With a first look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.
ENJOY THE SURPRISE FREELY
You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your spouse. Most couples don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally shock each other with your gorgeousness, you can’t touch each other, embrace or even speak to one another.
You have to wait until 30 minutes later when the ceremony is over for the other person to react and tell you how amazing you guys look. After 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.
EXTEND YOUR DAY BY 3 HOURS
First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the intros and then it’s reception time. With a First Look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours. Instead of being rushed for your wedding party portraits you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your best friends on your wedding day. The whole first half of my client’s wedding albums are filled with images just from this time together before the ceremony.
You get rid of nerves! I’d say, literally 90% of my couples who decided to do a first look, many of which were not fans of it at first. But, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve wracking it can be.
YOUR ONLY ALONE TIME
First Looks allow you to be together and alone on your wedding day. You’d be surprise but you actually have to schedule alone time on your wedding day. Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode, especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re ready to love on each other and I always capture some super sweet photos during those moments!
So, is a Wedding First Look for You?
Well, you’ve been reading along what do you think? It is of the utmost importance that you do whatever feels best to you. If you truly think that seeing each is bad luck before the wedding. That’s exactly what will happen. But, if you’re ok with then everything else will fall into place.
There’s no right or wrong decision. Just the right energy. For, some inspiration and check out this Pinterest board here.
Hi I'm Torez, a die-hard romantic and San Francisco-based wedding photographer with years of experience capturing love stories against the backdrop of our charming city. From intimate City Hall ceremonies to epic coastal elopements, I've seen and photographed it all. I know the ins and outs of navigating wedding planning in San Francisco like the back of my hand - from selecting the perfect location that aligns with your love story, to creating the dreamiest wedding timeline that lets you enjoy your day to the fullest. And guess what? I'm sharing all of that expertise right here with you.