What is a first look and why you should have one

This is why to have a first look at your wedding.

First looks at weddings are nothing new, but they are the current trend and for good reason. If you don’t know what a first look is, it’s a portion of the wedding day before the ceremony where a bride and groom see each other in private. While it’s totally okay to keep with the tradition and wait until the aisle, you may find it harder on your schedule. In this list you’ll find out why as a photographer, I recommend having a first look at your wedding and some alternatives if you choose not to.

Funny bride grabs grooms butt during the first look
  • A first look is a tension reliever.
    • The fact is, a wedding day is stressful. It may not be a terrible stress but, you’ve been planning this for so long and the day is finally here. Waiting all the way until the aisle can create added stress throughout the day and seeing each other is a good way to get rid of the nerves.
bride and groom hug after first look wedding
  • Scheduling your wedding day is less cramped.
    • If you have an evening wedding ceremony but decide to wait for the aisle for the first look, the schedule is generally rushed. We end up trying to fit a lot into the last half of the day. Most of the wedding day you’ll be away from the full wedding party so all the group shots have to be done after the ceremony before the reception. It can get really tight with family, group, and photos of just you and your partner together in that time.
Groom grins at his first look at his new bride.
  • You will have more time together.
    • If you have seen each other, before ceremony you’ll have more chances and opportunities to spend time with each other. With the traditional method you tend to spend more time away from your partner than you do with them. In my mind, that kind of defeats the purpose of the day. This means more photographs together, more inside jokes after the wedding and more shared memories.
A bride on her wedding day walks to the first look
  • It’s one of very few relatively private times on your wedding day.
    • From the wedding party to your family, there are a lot of people taking up your time on the wedding day. You can opt for a first look that is just your partner and the photographers/videographers at a distance. You’ll have a private moment to just be in the moment and theres honestly not much more valuable than that.
Groom smiles at his bride during the first look.
  • Both of you can be present and yourselves in the moment.
    • At the aisle all of your guests are watching to see the reaction and that pressure can cause your partner to clam up. A private moment between just the two of you is so much less pressure and that alone makes it easier to be present in the moment. It’s just the two of you, there’s nothing else to think about.
First look alternatives: down the aisle

First Look Alternatives: So you’re dead set on that traditional aisle shot then? Totally okay, it is your day and there’s nothing wrong with that. However you might have to make some small adjustments to the day to accomplish everything.

  1. You should have your ceremony earlier in the day, like before 11am or shortly after 1pm. Keep in mind, having an outdoor ceremony between 12-2pm puts the sunlight directly over your head and may result in less flattering images.
  2. Have a moment to say “Hi!” when your getting ready by holding hands on either side of a door or wall corner. This quick moment to just talk will definitely ease tensions and get you both excited for the rest of the day.
  3. Go for later coverage and build in 15 minute couple only photograph sessions throughout the day after the ceremony. Having a bunch of these small moments together as mini breaks will not only allow for varied photographs, but it also gives you time away from guests to check in with each other.

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