While discussing your wedding with your wedding photographer, they are more than likely going to ask you if you are interested in doing a First Look. A First Look happens before the wedding ceremony and after the bride and groom have gotten dressed. A typical First Look session will start out with the groom and bride separated from each other, the bride will then walk up to the groom, and the wedding photographers will capture the look on both the bride and groom's face as well as the hugs, kisses, and happiness!
First Looks are a really special moment that the bride and groom can share which ends up being adorable and perfect for their wedding album. After the First Look is complete, the bride and groom will then move straight into their couple portraits. This will free up time between the ceremony and reception when the couple portraits would occur if a First Look did not happen.
Let's take a quick look at some of the common pros and cons of First Looks:
- more images of the two of you
- you get to see each other before the ceremony and get to have some along time
- you get to really take the time to see each other without the pressure of the ceremony
- you are able to take your couple portraits (and even wedding party portraits) before the ceremony
- you can have more time for couple portraits
- you are able to get to the reception earlier
- you won't feel rushed between the ceremony and reception and won't keep your guests waiting
- you will see each other before the ceremony so you won't be seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle
- you will have to get ready earlier
- not sticking to "tradition"
First, lets get those cons out of the way....
The tradition of "seeing each other before the ceremony is bad luck" mantra started way back in the day when arranged marriages were commonplace. Brides and grooms were not allowed to see each other AT ALL before the wedding. Arrange marriages were more of a business agreement and both sets of parents did not want their children, the bride and groom, to back out of the marriage or run away if they did not like what they saw in their future spouse. This is why seeing each other before the wedding is considered bad luck. Nowadays, brides and groom already know what their future spouse looks like and how they act. A groom is not going to run away if he sees his bride before the wedding just like the bride is not going to run away if she sees her groom before the wedding.
I know that A LOT of people who do not want to do a First Look are concerned that when it comes time for them to walk down the aisle that they won't have that reaction. Let me tell you, that is not true! Out of all the weddings that I have photographed that had a First Look, the groom still had that look of wonder and joy when he saw the bride walk down the aisle. It doesn't really hit you that you are getting married until you are actually walking down the aisle to your love! You will still have those emotions run through you regardless as to if you have a First Look or not. As an example, look at Ian and Kayley from Saturday's wedding below! They both shared a First Look but look at those tears of joy that they had when the ceremony happened!!!!!! :)
The last con, you will have to get ready earlier, this isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is something that you have to consider and something you should talk about with your hair/makeup artist.
Now the pros:
You will have more images of the two of you and you will get those super cute reaction portraits. Doing a First Look will also give you more time for your couple portraits without feeling rushed. You can go to that cute park that is a drive away from your ceremony, you can go to multiple locations, or you can just walk about your venue. This will give you more images with different backdrops.
One of the main reasons a lot of couple opt for a First Look is so they can get to the reception earlier. If you do not opt to take your couple portraits before the ceremony then they are taken between the ceremony and reception which means you will get to the reception later than most couple would like.
However, one of my favorite reasons for doing a First Look (and why I decided to do one at my own wedding) was that it is a time for the bride and groom to be together. It's a special time that you both can share away from the people and hustle and bustle of a wedding.
One last time to think about:
If you are planning on having an evening wedding, you may want to strongly consider doing a First Look out of necessity. If your ceremony occurs after the sun starts setting or close to sunset then after the ceremony it will either be dark outside or starting to get dark. You won't have to have your couple portraits in the dark!
Wedding Wednesday is a blog series that occurs every Wednesday and answers the questions you have about wedding photography. Have a question you would like to have answered or something that you wish you would have known before your wedding or are you a wedding professional who would like to contribute? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.