Hello everyone! I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts during the off season that offer photography tips to brides and grooms. Planning a wedding is a big deal, and can be very overwhelming! When I meet with prospective couples at my studio, they often come in without knowing much about wedding photography, and aren’t really sure what questions they should ask. Of course I give them as much information as I can, but it can be a lot to take in all at once, especially when dealing with all of the other details of wedding planning! This series of blog posts will answer some of the most frequent questions I’m asked, and will hopefully help make planning your wedding day a smoother process!
One of the questions I get asked most often is “Do you think we should do a first look?” or, sometimes, “What is a first look?”
A first look is when you see each other before the wedding ceremony, instead of seeing each other for the first time on the aisle. This is a new tradition that’s been gaining popularity over the last few years.
This is how it works! I’ll typically arrive at the site of the first look early to scope out the perfect location for you to see each other for the first time. It’s usually a place with beautiful natural light, that’s far removed from any guests or family members so that it will be a private moment shared between the two of you. My assistant will get one of you into place, while I lead the other to the site. Then one of you taps the other on the shoulder, you turn around, and then we take pictures of whatever happens when you see each other! Sometimes it’s waterworks, sometimes it’s nervous laughter, sometimes it’s relief… whatever it is, we’re there to capture it. Then we’ll leave you alone for a few minutes to take it all in, decompress, and spend a quiet moment with each other (which is rare on the wedding day!) before everything really starts moving.
Some folks wonder if having a first look takes away from the impact of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony when one of you walks down the aisle. In my opinion, it doesn’t. The two moments are totally different. The first look is an intimate moment between the two of you. The ceremony is like “Wow! Everyone’s here! This is really happening! And there’s the person I’m going to marry waiting for me!” I’ve seen couples cry at the first look, and then cry again during the ceremony. Some couples are relieved that they got to see each other before the ceremony because they feel much less anxious afterward and then are more relaxed during the ceremony. Couples have told me they’re better able to take it all in after doing a first look.
There are other benefits to the first look, aside from the sweet photos we’ll make and your getting to see each other and spend some time together before everything gets going! It makes for a much more leisurely schedule on the wedding day. If you choose to see each other before the wedding ceremony, we can take all of the photos of you two together, you with your wedding party, and even you with your families before all of the events begin! That way you can enjoy your cocktail hour, spend time getting caught up with your guests, and not have to worry about gathering everyone for photos during the reception. It also allows us to budget as much time as we want for portraits! That’s a great luxury, especially if you have a venue with all sorts of wonderful spots and opportunities for photos! We’ll have as much time as we want to be creative and take advantage of all the day has to offer. It also allows us to plan for the best light, depending on what your wedding day schedule looks like. If you are having a winter wedding and opt to do a first look, you’ll be able to have some photos of you outdoors during the day!
Is a first look for everyone? No, and don’t worry if you don’t want to do one. We’ll still have plenty of time to make wonderful photos during cocktail hour! We’ll discuss what’s best for you when we meet and will put together the best timeline for everyone!
Did you do a first look? Are you happy you did? I’d love to hear about your experiences!