Today’s blog post is going to address one question that will almost always come up in conversation when speaking with my couples — “First Look or No First Look?” I know, crazy that something truly so simple to add or take away from a wedding day timeline can be such a big question! That is why I decided to give you 5 reasons to do one or at the very least, consider it. :)
I have been shooting weddings since 2012 and as a photographer I have learned so much from each one. I have seen and experienced just about everything - what works from a practical approach, a creative approach and any other approach you can think of. From these experiences, I have developed practical approaches that have helped keep a wedding day less stressful, fun, and on time.
One of my personal preferences when a couple first inquires is having the opportunity to meet them - in person, over FaceTime (so thankful for today’s technology!), treat them to a coffee or dinner and listen to their story. I also love hearing about their wedding day vision, fears, desires, questions — everything! I love it all.
Usually one of the top reservations a bride or groom will have is the First Look and seeing each other before the bride’s grand ceremony entrance — completely understandable! I tell all my couples who are on the fence about having a First Look that it is the only element in their Wedding Timeline that dictates how the rest of their day flows. Both ways are completely and 100% possible (obviously), in most cases. Sometimes the time of year or time of ceremony will otherwise determine that ultimate decision and your photographer should be communicating that to you right away. However, in most cases, you will have the option.
These are the 5 Reasons I give each of my clients for why they should consider having a First Look:
Think about this: both you and your families are inviting 200+ of your dearest friends to your wedding. Once you are introduced at your reception, the dances are finished, the cake has been cut, what is it that you AND your guests want to do?! Dance! Party! Talk and visit! Yay! That means, if you really breakdown your wedding day, your morning is spent Getting Ready, followed by pictures, the Ceremony, maybe a lot more pictures (if you don’t do a First Look) and the Reception. I have heard so many stories of couples saying they didn’t have a single moment with just them that did not consist of picture taking, people etc. Choosing to have a First Look prioritizes that. It allows for just the two of you to pause, slow down, share a special, intimate moment together, taking in your day and everything about it. This is YOUR day — you are getting MARRIED!! :D
From a photographer, and practical point of view, a First Look allows for more time in your Timeline for pictures and/or time to rest before the ceremony. Simple as that. When a First Look is a part of the Timeline, you can pretty much knock out 95% of your wedding photos: bridal party (group and individuals at once), family, bride & groom portraits.
Every single one of my couples who were on the fence about a First Look and decided to go with it specifically thanked me after the wedding day for ultimately convincing them to do a First Look. Here is another reason why: they realized how much it relieved the entire day of unnecessary Timeline stress. Also, they realized later that seeing each other in that intimate setting really helped calm any Wedding Day nerves. They were able to enjoy their ceremony in ways they probably would not have because of prior ceremony stress and nerves.
I have yet to shoot a wedding when a couple said their First Look took away from the bride’s grand entrance of walking down the aisle. That is usually the biggest concern and every couple I have worked with who had been on the fence about the First Look said in no way did it actually take away from “that moment” — the groom seeing/watching his bride walk towards him. Surprised? I have a few tricks up my sleeve that the bride and I talk over before the wedding day to help with this — they are really simple and it works every time. ;)
First Looks give you the freedom to do this: after the ceremony, it is time to PARTY!!! All the pre-reception photos are done (aside from sunset photos with the bride & groom if that is possible), which means you get to your reception and on that dance floor faster!! :)
I hope this post was helpful and insightful to you! Regardless of whether you choose to do a First Look, know that your wedding day is your day and it be will incredibly beautiful! I would love to hear your thoughts, so drop me a line! <3 MK
P.s. Scroll down to see some of my favorite First Look moments!