In many of your meetings with vendors (specifically photographer, videographer, and possibly your wedding planner), you’ll get asked, do you plan to do a “first look?”
You’ll likely ask them, “what is a “first look?””
Basically, a first look is when you see each other for the first time, and when we are speaking specifically about the “first look,” we are talking about seeing each other before the ceremony, before you walk down the aisle. The first look is generally done at a private location where the groom has his back turned, and the bride walks up to him and taps him on the shoulder. He turns around and sees her for the first time. The photographer and videographer are far enough away to capture photos and video of this intimate moment.
When I got married, my husband insisted on not doing a first look. He wanted to see me for the first time when I walked down the aisle. I felt indifferent either way, but our photographer really wanted us to do a first look. At the time, I didn’t really understand why. Having him see me for the first time on our wedding day while walking down the aisle was definitely a special moment shared between us, and I must say I am glad we stuck to how we wanted to do things.
With that said and being a professional wedding planner now, I do see the benefit of doing the “first look.” Below I have listed a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to do the “first look.” Remember, this is your day and you should make this decision between the two of you (not based on your photographer’s or parent’s or anyone else’s opinion).
To Do a “First Look:”
It can still be very intimate and special – generally, the first look is only the two of you, and your photographers and/or videographers (hidden far away where they don’t matter). This also allows for some alone time together.
It helps relieve any nerves you may have – a lot of couples feel anxious on their wedding day, and would like to see each other to help feel more relaxed.
You will likely be able to attend some or part of cocktail hour – you would still do family photos and a few photos of the two of you after the ceremony, but doing a first look will likely allow you to attend the cocktail reception.
Your photographer will be able to get more pictures done before the ceremony! Most photographers will try to get bridal party photos, photos of the two of you, and possibly even family photos done before hand.
You may need to hire your photographer for more hours if you plan to do a majority of your photos pre-ceremony.
If you’re late getting ready, then your first look and other pre-ceremony photos could be rushed and you may need to push them to during cocktail hour afterall.
To NOT do a “First Look:”
It is more traditional to not do the first look – many couples don’t spend the night together before the wedding day, and they prefer to see each other for the first time walking down the aisle. It is very special!
We’ll need to make sure you are hidden from each other throughout all pre-ceremony. This isn’t difficult, there just needs to be much more communication between vendors.
You may be able to hire a photographer for less hours since you won’t be doing as many photos before the ceremony.
You won’t have to get ready quite as early since a majority of the photos are after ceremony and your photographer may not arrive as early.
Your guests get to be a part of that emotional moment when you walk down the aisle and see each other for the first time. Your photographer will be able to capture that as well.
You likely will not be able to enjoy your cocktail reception (unless you have an amazing photographer who can shoot very fast and then you may be able to enjoy the last 15 minutes). But don’t worry, we always make sure to bring you the hors d’oeurves and a celebratory drink.
Another idea without doing a “first look” would be doing a “first touch,” which is basically where you get to hold hands, talk for a moment, and/or share a note before walking down the aisle. This can still help alleviate any nerves as well as allow for some fun photos.
I hope that helps when considering whether or not to do the first look. It’s hard for me to tell you which way you should do it. Do what feels right to you both as a couple!
We’d love to chat with you more about your special day!
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