More and more couples are choosing to see each other before they walk down the the aisle. That planned, private moment before the ceremony when you see your fiancé for the first time on your wedding day is called a first look.
As a wedding photographer, my strongest advice will always be to plan your wedding exactly how YOU want it to be. If you dream of seeing your fiancé for the first time at the end of the aisle as friends and family look on, I fully support you. That said, if you are on the fence, here are a few reasons I am a huge fan of doing a first look.
While a first look will require us to block out an extra chunk of time, it is actually the most timeline-friendly option! Scheduling a first look before the ceremony will extend our total window of time for taking portraits (not just of the two of you, but can knock out family photos and wedding party photos before the ceremony too!). It will add an extra session to your day, giving you more photos overall and more time to spend with your fiancé and your wedding party.
If you’re having a winter wedding or an evening wedding, a first look may also be the only time we have to capture portraits in natural sunlight. With this in mind, I encourage you to take a close look at your wedding timeline and the time of sunset on your wedding day to see if scheduling a first look is a logical (or even necessary) choice.
One of the most beautiful parts of a wedding is bringing all the people you love together! Your guests will travel from near and far to celebrate with you on your wedding day, and you will only have a short amount of time to spend with them. Planning a first look means you can use the time before the ceremony to take photos so that you can be fully present with your friends and family after they arrive. By taking some portraits before the ceremony, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy cocktail hour with your wedding guests rather than having to disappear to take photos.
A first look will give you a moment alone with your fiancé before your wedding celebration sweeps you both into a happy, chaotic whirlwind. The first look usually happens about two and half hours before the ceremony – giving you all that extra time with your favorite person.
During your first look, I will not only capture the look in your eyes the moment you see your soon-to-be spouse, I’ll also capture a collection of candid and posed images of the two of you. After we’ve taken portraits, you two can sneak away for a quiet moment alone together.
It’s completely normal to feel nervous on your wedding day. Not being able to hug, kiss, or even see your fiancé before the ceremony can exaggerate those feelings. If you feel nervous at the thought of standing up in front of friends and family and exchanging vows, sharing a first look will give you a chance to connect with your love, take a deep breath, and calm your nerves before the ceremony.
Don’t worry; a first look won’t take away from the big, beautiful feelings of the ceremony; you’ll be overcome with emotion no matter what.
In my experience, first looks result in some of the most heartwarming, intimate, and all around best photos of the wedding day. The genuine joy and relief you’ll have in those first moments will be preserved in your first look photos. With fresh hair and makeup, and the all the feelings of love and anticipation, these photos often capture the sweetest, most emotive moments of the day.
If you choose to do a first look, we will discuss all your options ahead of time to make sure it’s everything you want it to be. We can even do first looks with dad, your wedding party, whoever you’d like!
Whether you do a first look or see your fiancé for the first time in front of your wedding guests, I can’t wait to capture that moment for you! For more tips on planning your wedding timeline, read my previous blog, 10 Timeline Tips to Help You Rock Your Wedding Day.