Benefits with a “First Look”

I felt compelled to post about the First Look for couples, engaged or not yet (call me when it happens!).  There is so much that goes on for a wedding day that scheduling can be so confusing! So the best thing to do, is to educate you all so you feel like you have made the best decision possible for your big day.

The First Look refers to the private moment a couple sees each other before the ceremony.  This intimate moment that the couple has elected to do has many benefits and is captured by your photographer and filmmakers and not only does it help with the flow of the wedding day itself, but it provides plenty of time for portraits and frees up time for you to spend with your family and friends during cocktail hour.  This is often important to couples especially when guests have traveled out of town and they want to have time to catch up.

Most importantly, brides need to decide the time of the day when their ceremony is held.  If your ceremony ends and it’s dark outside and you’ve hired a natural light photographer, you will get artificial lighting, as in, flash in your portraits as a couple.  That might be a completely different look than what you have hired your photographer for.  So just keep that important detail in mind, or move your ceremony time up especially during the fall and winter seasons when the sun sets earlier.

Here are a few testimonials from some of my past favorite brides who decided to do a First Look so you can understand why they decided to go that route.

Will I do a First Look when I wed? You betcha.  Actually, I will contact my desired photographer first to see what dates he has available prior to booking any venue above all else – can you tell I treasure photography? *wink*

Why did you decide to do a First Look?
The First Look was a no brainer. When considering not only the timeline of our wedding day, and also the special moments we wanted to capture in our wedding photos it was clear that the First Look was the way to go. The First Look is such a special moment – why not have two opportunities to capture it? Before the wedding, you can really live in the moment and grasp the significance of the day together, without worrying about jumping right into the ceremony. At the ceremony, you can then share this experience with friends and family. I also felt like I was able to spend more time with my groom! After the ceremony you tend to get whisked away to mingle. We knew the First Look would be such a fun time to show off our fabulous wedding attire and just have fun together. We also took the time directly following the First Look to do all of our family and bridal party photos, allowing them to enjoy cocktail hour after the ceremony. – Kate

A wedding can be so hectic from the moment people begin arriving in town for the celebration. The First Look gave us an opportunity to enjoy some quite time together, as a couple, before our wedding ceremony. – Jami

Honestly? I wanted my hair and makeup to be as fresh as possible. I didn’t want my mascara to run or my hair to fall out before pictures. Also, I didn’t want to have to worry about my guests waiting between the ceremony and the reception. Logistically, I think it makes the most sense to have pictures done before the wedding because once it starts, you want to keep the party going! – Amanda

In what ways did you find it beneficial to do a first look?
The first look not only alleviates any anxiety you may have about walking down the isle or being the center of attention, but it is also a great way to get all of the photos you want without being crunched for time after the ceremony. We had a blast running around the hotel snapping photos and spending a few moments together before the rush of events. The best part? After the First Look, I was able to go back to my suite, unzip a bit, and relax before the ceremony.  – Kate

It was so great to have that time with my hubby before things really started to get crazy. It’s such a special experience to share with your soon-to-be because in that First Look moment no one else exists. You don’t even realize that Diana is there, yet she captures every moment – beautifully, I might add. Rather than seeing each other for the first time from a distance as you walk down the aisle, you get to spend some quiet time together first: crying, laughing, hugging, smiling, sharing your feelings of excitement, nervousness, joy, and complimenting each other on how great you look. It is oh-so very comforting to see your husband before the wedding and it helps put you at ease for the rest of the big day. – Amanda

Ceremony: Did you still feel excited seeing each other when the ceremony began? Was any excitement taken away or was it like a double excitement?
There is really nothing that can take away from the excitement you will feel when you arrive at the ceremony and await your walk down the aisle. Any anxiety or fears are out of your system thanks in most part to the First Look! and you can now relax and enjoy this time walking towards your groom. The First Look and the ceremony are two separate and equally memorable moments to share with each other. – Kate

Yes! If anything I was more excited and probably a lot less nervous. I feel like I got to take in the whole experience more. I was able to really look around and absorb my surroundings, see all the decorations, and get a good look at all my guests. And my hubby and I still had our ah moment as he watched me float down the aisle and I slowly walked towards the love of my life. Having a first look doesn’t take a thing away for the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. In fact, it enhances it! – Amanda

What would you say to couples who are not sure if they want to do it?
Step back and really ask yourself what is important to you and what you want to achieve from your wedding photos. Think not only about the special moments you’d like to capture, but also the timeline of the day, and how you can get all of the amazing photos without the stress of a traditional wedding timeline. – Kate

I would greatly, highly, immensely, and so recommend doing the first look! I would stress the point that it’s not breaking tradition for the groom to see the bride before the wedding, as many grandparents might say, but rather it’s creating your own tradition. What better way to start a marriage than by making each other come first in your new lives together. – Amanda

Diana Elizabeth finds that the weddings she photographs that have a First Look tends to have more images as well.  Win, win!

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.

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