A lot of couples know that they either for sure want to do a first look or for sure don’t. But every once in awhile I have couples who are on the fence about it & ask me what I think. And my answer is always always this— “If you are open to it, DO IT.” Here’s the truth— if you are against doing a first look and you want to wait until you walk down the aisle to see your love for the first time— I am not going to try and convince you otherwise. It is YOUR day and you should do things how you want to. If you do it right, you only get married once— so create a day that is going to be the most special & meaningful to you as a couple (and I will never ever judge your decision!).
Allllll of that being said, if you ARE open to a first look— listen up. Here are my top reasons I have found a first look to be super helpful on your wedding day (for everyone involved).
1. Calm those nerves!
Sometimes, it’s hard not to let your nerves (excited nerves!) get the best of you on your wedding day. And that’s OK! It is one of the biggest days of your life, after all. But who is the one person that makes you feel most at ease? Your soon-to-be-spouse (of course). Seeing one another & being able to talk & hug & laugh before the ceremony is going to make you so much more relaxed (totally speaking from experience here).
2. More time with your honey (& your other favorite humans)
Your wedding is all about the two of you (and of course the day is made even more special because you get to celebrate it with your favorite humans). If you don’t have a first look— you might not get to even see your spouse until 3 or 4 o’clock (or later). That’s over half the day without them. And trust me— that time goes SO fast, so do all you can to get the most of it.
Trust me when I say that you don’t get much alone time on your wedding day. There are a lot of people there who came to celebrate your love & you want to make sure they know how appreciated they are. There are some people that come from long distances that you see maybe once a year. My point is, getting alone time is hard to come by. A first look will allow you to have some time to yourselves and to take in everything that’s about to happen.
4. Get most of the photos done before the ceremony (i.e. more time to be w/ your friends/fam)
All the praise hands to this one. Everyone just wants to hang out and not have to do the whole photo thing after the ceremony (even though I promise you it’s actually fun!). I’ve been on the other side & I get it. People came to see you, so by allllll means I understand that you want to spend time with them (they’re waaaaay more important than your photographer!). By doing a first look, we’re able to knock out almost all of the necessary photos before the ceremony & let everyone just relax afterwards. (FYI— I still love stealing my couples for sunset photos towards the end of the evening regardless of first look or no first look if that’s something you want to do.)
5. Generally, you’ll get a more relaxed timeline
Being able to spread everything out is niiiiice. Things don’t need to be crammed into 1 hour of time in between the ceremony & the reception. In my experience, having a first look has allowed a lot more time to slow down & just be with the people who matter most (which is truly what it’s all about).
6. Controlled environment
I love a good groom reaction shot while the bride walks down the aisle- don’t get me wrong! But depending on the location, sometimes we aren’t able to capture the emotion as well as if you took some time aside for the two of you. Certain venues might have tricky lighting and I want those reaction photos to be nothing less than amazing for you. Being in a controlled environment for that moment can *typically* result in better photos.
7. Winter weddings (earlyyy sunset!)
The sun can set as early as 4:30pm during a certain part of the year in the Midwest. If you decide not to do a first look, we will have super limited time to get in all of your portraits (with natural light). If you are getting married during the winter months, I will either push you to have an early ceremony or to do a first look to make the most of the limited daylight that we have.
8. A better guest experience
We’ve all been to those weddings where the guests are waiting for hours on end in between the ceremony & the reception for the events to get going. Everyone is wondering where the heck the bridal party is & people are getting a bit impatient (& maybe a tad bit hangry). While the day is about you— you also want to think about the people that will be a part of your day. If you do a first look & most of your photos are out of the way before the ceremony— the flow of the day will be smoother & it will provide a much better guest experience.
A few of my favorite reactions. 🙂
Welp, there ya have it. 8 reasons I think doing a first look is super helpful for everyone involved in your wedding day. I hope you found that informative. And remember- this day is about you, your spouse & your guests… the goal is to keep it that way and not let photos overtake the entire day! 🙂
P.s. This moment will still be one you’ll never forget!