Is a first look worth breaking the tradition of seeing the bride/groom for the first time at the alter? I say YES! I love traditions, but there is something so special about seeing each other for the first time before the ceremony. Words cannot describe the emotions and reactions during this special moment and sometimes taking a step outside of the crowds can be rewarding. After you’ve selected your wedding photographer, you’ll brainstorm different getting ready locations, portrait styles, and decide whether you want to shoot a first look or stick with tradition. Either option you choose is great and completely depends on you as a couple, but here are five of the many reasons benefits of a first look:
01 – Intimate moments alone.
Once your vows are exchanged, you won’t have much alone time 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!
02 – More time for photos.
As I mentioned before, once you walk down that aisle, there will be 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 may 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! Similar to your getting ready photos, the first look provides a less hectic moment for beautiful portraits or the two of you.
03 – You can finish most, or all, photos before the ceremony.
This is especially great in fall and winter months when the sun sets earlier and we lose light quickly in the evenings. One benefit of first looks is a less chaotic time to shoot the entire 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. Your party will be calmer and photos tend to feel more exciting, natural and fun!
04 – Enjoy your cocktail hour and mingle with guests instead of taking photos.
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 has the opportunity to mingle and spend precious time with those who love and support you.
05 – Walking down the aisle is a completely different (and less nerve-wracking) experience and you will still have that special moment.
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!”
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.”
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!”
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.
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!
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