Oh how I love first looks! This wasn’t always the case. When we were planning our own wedding, I was very hesitant to do a first look, but I am so glad we did! Not everyone knows how AMAZING first looks are! As a wedding photographer I want to share with you some of the many benefits of having a first look as part of your wedding day.
Every bride wants a REACTION when her groom sees her for the first time! After all you’ve just spent literally hours getting ready, so there will be a big WOW factor! Some couples choose the traditional route and see each other for the first time on the wedding day, as the bride walks down the aisle. More and more couples are opting to do a first look.
Disclaimer: My couples are not required to do a first look. To share a first look or not is a personal decision every couple needs to make for themselves regarding their wedding day. I want to be sure you are aware of all the benefits of having a first look, so you can make an informed decision about your own wedding day
What exactly is a first look? A first look is an intimate time shared between the bride and groom as they see each other for the first time on their wedding day. In a private area away from the distractions of the day–the groom waits. Soon his beautiful bride—the love of his life—calls his name, or taps him on the shoulder! He turns and WOW! She amazes his with all her gorgeousness! They get to share this moment, experience this moment together. She twirls to show off her dress. He can laugh with her, cry with her, embrace her. He can tell her how very beautiful she looks. They can talk to each other, say how amazing they both look. Express how glad they are this day is finally here! They can hug and kiss and enjoy this moment together as long as they like. I’m getting misty just writing this and thinking about the love and joy couples get to experience together during their first look. My own husband is not an emotional guy at all, but he cried during our first look.
What comes back to me over and over as I write about the first look is the word together. When a groom sees his bride walking down the aisle, he will definitely have a reaction. If this is the first time he’s seeing the bride, his reaction is shared with 100-300 of your friends and family. You don’t get time to share the moment together. He may get to sneak in a whispered “you look beautiful” before the officiant starts the ceremony. You don’t get to twirl your dress for him, you don’t get to embrace each other, or laugh together, or express all that is in your heart, until after the ceremony. Thirty to forty minutes later, once the ceremony is over, the emotions aren’t the same as the initial WOW factor!
In photographing weddings, I’ve noticed guys tend to be very nervous on the wedding day. Having a first look helps everyone relax and enjoy the day. Contrast, the nervous groom secluded away, to make sure he doesn’t see the bride, just waiting until he’s give the cue that it’s time. Then he heads to the ceremony with the eyes of all guests on him. All the while the nerves and emotions are building….. his hands are clammy, he’s sweating, trying to look his best as he waits for the moment when he’ll see his bride. He sees her, takes her hands and the ceremony begins.
For the couple doing a first look, that time of waiting nervousness and anticipation is cut dramatically, adding hours of enjoyment to their wedding day. The groom still waits nervously to see his beautiful bride, but in a private space hours before the ceremony. They see each other with only the photographer capturing the emotions of their first moments together. When the couple is ready they move un-rushed into their romantic portraits. This is their time ALONE together. This is so important because they day is all about you as a couple, but without a first look the bride and groom rarely get a moment alone together all day.
After romantic portraits the couple meets up with their closest friends, to enjoy bridal party portraits. They have time to enjoy these because they did a first look and aren’t rushing to get family formals and bridal party portraits in before the reception can being. Once bridal party portraits are done, they bride and groom, can just relax and enjoy their friends, then freshen up shortly before the ceremony.
If you’re hesitating on a first look, you may think having a first look will take away from his reaction or emotions as you walk down the aisle. I’ve found the opposite to be true. Having first look is like having the best of both worlds. The first time you see each other you get to enjoy the moment and process it together. Then as you walk down the aisle, you both have the excitement of seeing each other in your amazing wedding day look, with the nerves subsided you can focus on the joy of the moment of committing your lives to each other.
You’re investing a lot in your wedding portraits. Doing a first look lengthens your wedding day and helps you make the most of your portrait investment. You’ll get 40% more couple portraits by doing a first look. These are the portraits you’ll decorate your home with, the ones you’ll share with family.
A wedding day normally starts with the ceremony, then greeting guests, rushing through portraits—romantic, bridal party and family formals to get to the reception. Sharing a first look, gives you 2-3 more hours to enjoy together. This also allows time for a more casual, relaxed, fun portrait time with your friends.
To me the biggest benefit of a first look is having time ALONE together. I capture some of the sweetest portraits of the day during the first look. There is so much raw emotion, and you get the time to enjoy the emotions and focus on each other.
Honestly, our first look is the thing I remember most about our wedding day. It was definitely the only time we were alone together! He cried, I cried, I can’t imagine not getting to share that time and get to process it together.
Can you feel their joy and excitement!?!
I love how couples share all the details with each other during their first look. The shoes, the dress with pockets, and here her an family heirloom handkerchief .
They shared so much laughter as she told him about her eyelashes! They are very boojiu!
Alyson and Dustin also shared written vows with each other during their first look and it was so special and so emotional! Laughter, tears, and lots of love.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and sharing in their first looks as much as I have. Getting to capture moments like these! I can’t believe it get to call this “my job.”
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