Whenever I meet with a couple, I ask them if they plan on having a “first look.” Most of the time, I get scrunched-up eyebrows, glances at one another, and a we aren’t sure, we haven’t really thought about it. Because it’s not often talked about, I wanted to take a moment and explain what a first look is. And why you should consider having one on your wedding day.
So, what is a first look?
A first look is an intimate opportunity for the couple to see each other on their wedding day before their ceremony. It takes place in a private setting with just the two of them rather than during their ceremony in front of family and friends.
First looks have gained major popularity over the past several years, with couples opting to share a private moment before the festivities begin.
Part of why I love a first look is that it makes the wedding timeline so. much. easier– not only for the couple but for photography. Because the couple is seeing each other before the ceremony, we can also schedule all the formal shots (the couple, family, and wedding party photos) before the ceremony. That means we don’t have to squeeze all these photos between the ceremony and reception. If you dream of a sunset ceremony, scheduling photos beforehand can help ensure you get those sunkissed shots. It gives us much more time for photography and relieves the stress of crunching it all into a short amount of time.
Which brings me to my next point:
If a couple doesn’t have a first look, they must schedule the formal photos between the ceremony and reception. While they are doing this, the guests are usually away at cocktail hour. In my experience, I have found that when this happens, the couple is more worried about their guests than being in the moment.
“What’s everyone doing? Are they having fun?” “Do they have enough hors d’oeuvres?” “Make sure the wedding planner knows where the gifts should go,” etc. Not to mention that it is incredibly hard to break away from Aunt Barb and the rest of the gang to take photos after the ceremony. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to go straight into party mode after the ceremony instead of focusing on your photos? Let your hair down, change your dress, or slip on some sneakers and get your dance on! You spent money on that cocktail hour – you should be able to go enjoy it!
One of the most stressful parts of your wedding day is having everyone’s eyes on you. Of course, being surrounded by your friends and loved ones feels fantastic, but it can be overwhelming when everyone wants to have a moment with you. Being the center of attention can cause some folks major anxiety, which is the last feeling you want on your special day. Your wedding day is full of big emotions, and your mind will be racing when you see your significant other for the first time. The swell of feelings is something many couples want to experience privately between them.
Okay, you made some good points. But, I want to stick with a traditional first look at the altar. Cool?
No problem! I encourage you to do whatever you want on your wedding day. If you forgo the first look, just plan to allow plenty of time between the ceremony and reception to complete all your formal shots (plan at least one hour). Set a ceremony time that will enable you to have enough sunlight to take beautiful pictures before your reception. And last but not least, no matter what you choose, enjoy the day and stay in the moment!