Should I Do a First Look?
In short, I’m going to say you should absolutely, 100% do a first look and here’s WHY.
The reason that we are working together and you choose me is because we both appreciate the value of photography. Us brides, we appreciate having everything planned with enough time to still enjoy the wedding day. We are a little shy and don’t want to have a big revealing moment with a bunch of people staring at us when we are sharing an intimate moment. I want to look back on our day fondly, and not regret that we didn’t get enough romantic portraits.
We love the bride and groom romantic portraits!
A big part of photography is getting those romantic, gorgeous bride and groom portraits that you are going to print out and hang up on your wall and you’re going to post on your social media. I would like to address some of the most common questions I have received about whether a couple should do a first look or not at their wedding. Sometimes just having a resource to educate couples like you on the topic can change your mind on the decision of having a first look in your wedding day timeline.
“Why can’t I just do the first look at the ceremony?”
You certainly can, and a lot of couples like to keep that tradition of being seen for the first time at the ceremony. For me, I think that this event is a very personal and intimate moment in your wedding day, and it can be hindered by having a bunch of people staring at you. You and your fiancé will choke back the tears and it just won’t feel as special as you were hoping it to be. During the first look, you still get those same emotions that you would at the end of the aisle. Therefore, you don’t have all of your friends and family staring at you while you do it. If you’re like me, you get really nervous with public speaking. Another pro of having a first look is that you can share private vows with one another or a special prayer between you two exclusively.
I want my fiancé to cry when he sees me at the alter and with the first look, I feel like he won’t. Thoughts?
I have met some very emotional men doing this job. I can tell you that if he is an emotional man, he will cry at the first look. Then he will cry again at the ceremony. The emotional grooms are over come with their feelings when they see you. It’s a strange, psychological phenomenon, but it happens almost every time. I feel like he was able to express himself privately so he’s not ashamed to then do it again at the altar. If your fiancé is not emotional, tears are not going to happen at the altar.
Will not having a first look really affect my timeline?
Yes, not having a first look will affect your timeline. If you don’t have a first look before the ceremony, there is only a certain amount of photographs that we can take without you guys seeing each other. That means that we will have to take all of your family formals, your wedding party and your bride and groom Romantics after the ceremony during cocktail hour. If you are having a winter wedding, this can mean that the sun will set very fast. The two of you will only have one chance (usually 30 minutes or so) to get all of your romantic photos in.
There is a little bit more lee-way that we can play with when it is a summer wedding because the sun is setting so much later. I can pull you away from the reception for an additional 15 minutes or so to get some sunset portraits. That is not always guaranteed, however, because things happen. Having a first look is like an insurance policy on your portraits in case something goes awry in your day further down the line.
How is the first look set up? What if my fiancé sees me before I’m ready?
You do not need to worry about a single thing when it comes to setting up the first look. My second shooter and I will pick a perfect place with beautiful lighting and a perfect layout and we will set up the groom facing away from wherever you’re walking. The second shooter will inform your groom on how to stand and when to turn around. We get you set up into your spot and you may tap him on the shoulder, you can call his name, you can give him a hug, whatever you wanna do to make it yours. Then we let you have your first look uninterrupted and then when you are finished, we jump right into your romantic portraits.
After your romantic portraits are done we can then do your wedding party all together as well as maybe knocking out some of your close family portraits if your family formal list is quite long. This will relieve a ton of stress before you get to your ceremony. After your ceremony, we will pump through the rest of your family formals and then some additional romantic portraits and if we get done early, you can take a beat and relax before your entrance.
I’ve heard the superstition of seeing the bride before the ceremony and I don’t want bad luck in my marriage. How do I avoid that?
This is a long, winded superstition that I don’t even know how it got started. It’s one thing to want to feel the emotions of him seeing you for the first time up at the altar and if you are dead set on that then don’t let me lead you astray. However, if you’re worried about bad luck in your marriage, you do not need to fret, 90% of my couples now are doing a first look. And of all of those, they are still thriving and married. Much more of a common indicator that I’ve seen that causes a lot of divorces is smashing the cake into the brides face. It all comes down to a lack of respect not seeing you before the ceremony.
I don’t want him to see me in my dress before the big moment, how can we hide that?
So unfortunately, I am going to have to have you in your dress or else this would be a whole different type of photo shoot. What we can do is leave a bit of surprise for him. Leave something off of your body, like your veil or having your hair styled a different way, or maybe leave a special necklace off until after. Remember he has not seen you before the wedding day in your dress, just about an hour before the ceremony.
If you are 100% a NO about a first look, I do want to recommend some other options for you. You could also consider a First Touch or you could speak to each other from around the corner. This option also allows you to read any special vows that you don’t want read up at the altar, or a prayer for your upcoming nuptials. You can also express any emotions you’re feeling, such as nerves or excitement, with your partner before the ceremony. This will allow us to capture a few extra special portraits of just you two.
All in all, it is your decision. Being dead set on him seeing you for the first time as you’re walking down that aisle is a fine choice too. I am going to do my very best to build a timeline for you to still get all of your portraits done. For winter weddings, I do recommend that we have an earlier ceremony and a longer cocktail hour. This will ensure you have enough time to get all the photos that you want. Check out how to build you timeline in the article down below. That’s all for now, thanks for reading!
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