‘Should I do a First Look?’ – this is a question that I discuss with nearly 100% of couples that I consult with. There is so much nostalgia and beauty to seeing your partner for the first time on your wedding day when you meet at the end of the aisle. However, what if you are looking for a non- traditional, more intimate way to share this moment?
As a documentary style photographer, I am a HUGE first look advocate. It has given me some insanely beautiful moments to photograph. But first we must remember that every wedding day and couple is unique. What has worked for some couples may not be the best fit for you, and vice versa. This little blogpost is aimed at educating couples on the benefits, pro’s and con’s and variations of ‘first looks’ that are options!
Option 1 – The “First Look”
A ‘first look’ (as defined by the current wedding industry trend) is a private moment that you share with your partner before the ceremony where you see each other for the first time. Generally the first look is done in an intimate setting, with only the couple and the photographer. The entire goal of this is to create an environment where both partners can feel free to be emotional with each other – jump for joy, cry tears of joy or whatever else that strikes them in that moment. The first look is also an AMAZING photo opportunity. The location can be hand picked for optimal background and lighting, and the photographer can get almost any angle they would like without fear of blocking the moment for others.
Many couples utilize this opportunity to read private vows to one another, exchange gifts, or just melt into each others arms. The real beauty of this moment is that you can make it 100% your own.
Another HUGE benefit to doing a first look is that it can expedite and de-stress your photography schedule tremendously. Most first looks that I have photographed have taken place directly after the couple gets ready. The remaining bridal party can still continue to get ready while the couple has this moment. This way, the couple can complete the first look, follow it up with their portraits and be finished with them by the time the bridal party is all ready, following up with bridal party pics. The benefit to this is that the majority of the time consuming photos will be finished, minimizing any need for a long cocktail hour that’ll make your guests wait for an hour plus to eat! As the couple, you’ll be able to arrive to your reception quicker, and get to partying with you guests! If you’re wondering, the family photos can be fit in before the ceremony (if everyone is available!), or after. Family photos never take me usually more than 20-30 mins to complete at absolute max, so this doesn’t usually hinder anyone getting to the reception in a timely manner!
Option 2 – “Hidden First Look”
Yes, this is also a thing. This is a hybrid of a private moment that the bride and groom can share before the ceremony, while retaining actually ‘seeing’ each other for the aisle. The best way to describe this is to see it for yourself in some of the photos I’ve included below!
A lot of couples take this moment to take hands, share vows, a sentiment or a prayer. Also, the photo ops are outta this world cute too!
….. and a few more!
Option 3 – “Traditional Aisle Reveal”
Yep, this is just what you think it is! For many, this is probably how your parents, and their parents before them saw their soon-to-be spouse for the first time on their wedding day. For tons of couples, this moment is deeply sentimental. If that’s the case, keep the tradition alive! Discuss photography options with your photographer (hopefully it’s me!) Be prepared to plan ahead – inform them of any venue requirements as far as shooting during the ceremony. Talk about the best options for your day of schedule and how to make photos go smoothly and quickly. Your photographer (hoping it’s me… again) will be a pro at being able to fit in all of the photos you want in line with your vision!
My recommendation after reading this – stick with your gut! I have photographed many weddings all three ways, and the results are always, always magical. With your brain packed full of super cute ideas, you’ll be able plan the most perfect wedding day imaginable!