Should We Have a First Look?

As wedding photographers, "Should We Have a First Look?” is a question we hear all the time and in our opinion, there is no hard, fast rule here. Instead, we prefer to guide our couples to a decision that makes the most sense for them and their wedding day experience. That’s why we’ve decided to make this list of pro’s and con’s of having a First Look on your wedding day. 

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A first look is more intimate
If you’re a couple who prefers a more intimate moment seeing your future spouse for the first time, a first look may be for you. Some couples dread the moment they walk down the aisle and know all eyes are on them. Having a more intimate first look allows them to share some time together in a private setting, alleviating some of the butterflies that go along with walking down that aisle.

Maximizes couples time with their guests and lessens stress
Often times, if a couple chooses to have a first look, they will also choose to take all of their wedding party and family portraits ahead of the ceremony. This does two things:
     1. It allows the couple to spend more time with their guests during cocktail hour, a time that would traditionally be used for family and couples portraits. This also lessens the likelihood that the couple will have to go table to table during the reception, ultimately allowing them to spend more time on the dance floor, sharing in the experience that is their wedding day.
     2. It minimizes the stress that can go along with trying to squeeze 20 different groupings of family portraits, wedding party portraits, and couples portraits into a 45 minute window. In our experience, it’s this time of the day that is often most stressful for couples.

Maximizes couples time spent with each other
This one is huge! If you choose to forego the first look, chances are your time spent together as a couple on the wedding day will be in short stints. Friends and family will be pulling you in all directions after the ceremony, hoping to congratulate and share in the day with you. And while you’ll try to do a lot of this together, at times you’ll find yourself wondering where your new spouse is while you’re stuck hearing about Aunt Linda’s second bunion procedure. A first look changes this dynamic a bit. With the extra time built into the day, we like to offer our couples small windows of time where they can be alone together, soaking in this day to it’s fullest, allowing them to be guests at their own wedding.

The day tends to flow a little more smoothly
By really looking at your wedding day and building a timeline that breathes, having a first look can allow your day to run more smoothly and stress free. Knowing that you’re knocking out the more stressful stuff in the beginning of the day allows you and your love the opportunity to mingle care free through the 2nd half. :)

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The walk down the aisle may lose some of its mojo
This is debatable. For some, the chance to see each other before the ceremony and rid yourself of jitters is a no brainer. But for others, a first look may actually make the walk down the aisle less meaningful. There is something to be said about that anticipation building to where you see each other for the first time in front of all of your friends and family. That moment is powerful and is one many brides dream of most of their lives. And while it’s still special, a first look might take a bit of that magic away for some.

Parents just don’t understand
As the great Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff taught us, sometimes parents just don’t understand. If your parents are more traditional, they may balk at the idea of a first look. They may even tell you that it’s bad luck to see each other before the ceremony. But the fact of the matter is that it’s not 1950 anymore. Nevertheless, this can cause some serious friction in some families. It’s always important to remember that this is YOUR wedding day but if it’s going to cause a rift, there are many creative ways your photographer can work with you in order to create a less stressful day while still appeasing your parents love for tradition.

At the end of the day there is no right or wrong answer to the question of Should We Have a First Look? and you should do what you feel most comfortable with. Having a first look can relieve some stress and allow you and your fiance to have some more time with each other during the day but it’s definitely not for everyone. What do you think? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments! To stay up to date with wedding planning tips, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. Happy wedding planning!