Benefits of a First Look

When it comes to your wedding photography, just like everything else you’ve planned for your wedding, you have so many choices to make! One choice that I think is super important that many couples don’t consider is whether or not to see their fiancé before the ceremony. Some choose to stick with the traditional route or some couples don’t know really know what their other options are.  I am all about “first looks” and think there are so many benefits that come along with them. Either option you choose is great and completely depends on you as a couple, but here are some of the many reasons why I love them!

First Look Julia Franzosa
Intimate moments alone. Once your vows are exchanged, there is really not much alone time that you have as newlyweds until the reception ends. There is constant mingling, toasting, dancing, and fun to be had and while these are all amazing, it takes away from the opportunity to share an intimate moment on your wedding day. With a first look, you can have that intimate moment with your soon to be spouse prior to all the commotion and really have a chance to take in each other’s beauty. It’s one last moment to soak everything in!

First look gives us more time for photos. As I mentioned before, once you walk down that aisle, there is a LOT going on! While others are enjoying cocktail hour and talking about how beautiful you looked, the wedding party is being photographed. During this time, some couples tend to feel like they need to rush through photographs so that they can return to their wedding and, understandably, the wedding party is eager to start having fun! During the first look, things are less hectic and we can adjust time timeline to ensure there is plenty of time for beautiful portraits.

NellaTerraCellarsWedding_0088You can finish most, or all, photos before the ceremony
. This is especially good in fall and winter months when the sun sets earlier and there is great lighting throughout the day, but we lose light quickly in the evenings.  First looks are great for capturing photos of the bride and groom, but many people go beyond that and capture the whole wedding party and family photos after the bride and groom have had their time with each other. By doing your wedding party photos right after the first look, you can get most or all of your photos done and still have time to relax before you walk the aisle.

Enjoy your cocktail hour and mingle with guests instead of doing photos at this time. To expand on the last point, by using first look time to take photographs that you would otherwise be taking after the ceremony, you have so much more time spend with your guests. Cocktail hour immediately follows the ceremony and instead of missing it, your wedding party can have the opportunity to mingle and spend precious time with those who love and support you.
Peninsula Chicago WeddingAlthough you have seen each other, walking down the aisle is a completely different experience and you will still have that special moment, but without being quite as nervous. The main reason I hear for not wanting to do a first look is that it takes away from that special moment of seeing each other walk down the aisle for the first time. Seeing each other before the ceremony and seeing each other walk the aisle bring about two completely different, amazing feelings and neither one will take away from how special the other is. I’ve worked with many couples that have chosen to do a first look and trust me, they still get choked up and emotional when seeing one another walk down the aisle, without feeling so nervous.

I could honestly go on and on but I’d rather give some of my past couples the opportunity to voice their opinion on the benefits of a first look and why they chose this option…

Laura + John
“I loved that the first look allowed us to have some alone time together before the wedding. It really calmed my nerves after the hectic day of getting ready with my girlfriends.  It also allowed us to enjoy the entire wedding. We didn’t miss out on any of the amazing party that we had spent so long planning!”

First Look Julia Franzosa
Lucy + Brian
“Brian and I would consider ourselves somewhat “non-traditional,” so we always knew we would see each other before the ceremony. Honestly, we didn’t even give it much thought! But in retrospect, I am SO glad we chose to do a first look. I loved getting ready with my bridal party, but my nerves were definitely running high all morning. When I came outside and saw Brian for the first time, all that nervous energy sort of melted away and I remembered what was most important about the day. It was such a special moment and one that I hope every bride and groom can experience.”First Look Julia Franzosa

Kelly + Mike
“Mike and I decided to do a “first look” for a few different reasons. The first and most important was that we wanted to plan for time before the ceremony to take group photos with our wedding party so we could join in on the cocktail hour fun, essentially cutting down the time of the post-ceremony family photos. Many brides-to-be and mothers might cringe at hearing this, either because of the lost tradition of seeing one another for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle, or because it’s typically considered bad luck. However, as with most things in planning the wedding, we had to choose our battles, and spending as much time with our family and friends was a requisite.

The next best reason to do the “first look” is really just to take some time, a very special moment, with the love of your life before the real craziness of the day begins. It was the one time I was truly able to take a deep breath with Mike and reflect on what was about to happen. Also, I was able to check him out in his wedding suit…hot!”
First Look Julia Franzosa
Jodi and Michael did a first look-no-look… they were able to hold hands and talk to each other, which they said made them feel much more relaxed. Such a unique spin on first looks.
First Look Julia Franzosa
Again, this decision will totally depend on you two and whether you see your partner before the wedding or not, your day will be perfect!






  1. Creating a Wedding Timeline That Works for Photography » Julia Franzosa Photography – Chicago Wedding Photographer | San Francisco Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer | Wedding Photographer Chicago

    July 10th, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    […] my post last week about the benefits of first looks, I mentioned why first looks are a detail I highly recommend for wedding days. But I didn’t […]

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