Should You Have a First Look On Your Wedding Day?

I’ve worked with many clients that have had trouble deciding whether or not they should have a First Look on their wedding day. It’s an understandable conundrum. 

Like many people, you probably love the idea of your groom seeing you for the first time walking down the aisle, just like you've seen so many times in the movies and on television. He sees you and is overcome with emotion!

Or maybe you think that doing a first look will ruin a special moment between the two of you.

Well, after photographing over 70 weddings, I'm here to let you know that if you're having reservations about doing a first look, DON'T!

Here are several reasons why I think you should consider a first look!

It Will Reduce Stress And Anxiety!

I recall a one wedding in particular when a bride was feeling anxious while she and her bridesmaids were getting ready. To say it had started raining was understatement: it was a complete downpour, ruining some of their plans for the moments prior to the ceremony. One of the bridesmaids asked our bride if she was ok. Her response was one that I've heard countless times:

"I just want to see him".

Months, sometimes years of stressful planning and excitement comes down to hours and minutes. It’s enough to make anyone a nervous wreck. And at the end of the day, all you want is to see your man!

Fast forward about an hour later to their first look. The groom turned to see his beautiful fiance and they locked eyes and eventually embraced. Within seconds I could see a feeling of relief on both their faces as the stress and nervousness melted away. They were able to cry, kiss and embrace without any distractions. And they were able to enjoy the moment for as long as they wanted to...alone! No people, no on-lookers, just the two of them.

Think about it. When else would you get the chance to be alone on your wedding day? From my experience, aside from your designated Couple’s Photo time that’s traditionally held after the ceremony, it usually doesn’t happen until all of the festivities are all over.

You'll Have Time For More Pictures AND The Party.

Take it from someone who's been married for almost a decade at the time of writing this. When it’s all said and done, all you have are your photos and album to remember your wedding day by.

Think about it: you'll have hundreds of thousands of events entering and leaving your mind during your lifetime. After 15, 20, 30 years, you're probably not going to remember exactly what you ate, the songs that were played or even every single person that was there in support.

By having a first look, you'll have more time to to capture the important moments and people in your life. It allows you to take your bride and groom, bridal party and immediate family photos before the ceremony. That means you don't have to rush during cocktail hour and it gives you the chance to have FUN because you'll have TIME to have FUN. That also means that as soon as your ceremony is finished, you can enjoy your cocktail hour and the party since you'll have all the important photos finished.

If you don't have a first look, you're forced to quickly do your bride/groom photos, finish your bridal party and family photos all during cocktail hour. Not to mention possibly having to travel if your wedding and reception are not at the same location. You’re rushing the entire time! 

Two Amazing Moments Are Better Than One.

A first look provides two amazing moments on your wedding day. Let me explain:

I've photographed many first looks and I've never had a groom tell me that the first look diminished his reaction upon seeing his bride walking down the aisle.

It's quite the opposite actually.

As a man that’s gone through it personally, I can attest to the fact that men are all aware that every person attending a ceremony is looking at the grooms face for his reaction to the bride. Every. Single. Eye.

That's a lot of pressure for some guys! He’s already feeling nervous and the gravity of what is about to happen starts to hit you.

But when he’s had the chance to see his bride during the first look, he’s already had time to get rid of the jitters and and stress so he can actually focus on that moment when you walk down the aisle.

He gets the chance to see his bride and share those moments alone! When the bride is actually walking down the aisle, it's now gotten VERY real and it's a completely different feeling.

It's every bit as emotional, maybe more.

Just Because It's a Tradition Doesn't Mean It Works For The Modern Couple

Weddings are full of old traditions:

- Something borrowed, something blue.

- Rain is good or bad luck (depending on your culture).

- The bride and groom not seeing each other before the ceremony.

Many of us have absolutely no idea why many wedding traditions are what they are, yet we follow them. For example, the reason a bride and groom used to not see each other before the ceremony dates back to the time of arranged marriages. It’s believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony, it would give them a chance to change their minds about getting married! 

If it’s important to you to follow a tradition then you should do it! But do some research to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.

First Looks Aren't For Everyone!

Now, with that being said, it’s important to not that my couples are NOT required to do a first look!! I’ve just seen the benefits of a first look time and time again and I always want what’s best for my couples. If you decide not to do one, it's all good. We'll help prepare a timeline that will fit everything in for you!