May 1, 2020
Is a First Look Right For You?
Today, we are going to discuss one of the hottest topics of the current wedding world: first looks.
Many couples these days are choosing to do a first look. Why? There are so many reasons! Regardless of whether you are totally for or totally against a first look, we hope you stick around in order to weigh the pros and cons. What we hope to show you today is that while your first look won’t happen until your wedding day, it greatly affects and shapes your entire planning process. We highly suggest choosing whether you or not you will have a first look at the beginning of your wedding planning, and you’ll see why!!
As a photographers, we are head over heels in love with first looks. There are honestly too many reasons to list in one podcast episode, but the main reason we encourage all of our couples to do a first look is this: you get to spend your wedding day with the one you love. And that’s all that matters, right?
Know How Much Time You Want to Spend Together
When we were planning, Cody really felt like we should go the traditional route. It’s bad luck, it doesn’t fit what you see in the movies, and grandma says it’s not tradition! But once we decided to do it, we realized that we would spend more time together if we were to do a first look.
On the day of our wedding, Cody was freaking out! He felt anxious all morning. He worried about bugs during the ceremony and was busy doing last minute tasks. “I was excited to see you but still just thinking is everything taken care of? And the moment you called my name and I turned around and I saw you smiling… that moment was so perfect! All of the crazy fear, anxiety and emotions went away. This day is about us.”
Nothing felt rushed about our portrait time together after the first look. We got to relax and hug and kiss and yell! “I think it was so important that we got to talk. I can’t imagine going back and not seeing you until 4 in the afternoon, I would probably have died!” says Cody. “You’re my best friend, and I want to share my wedding day with my best friend.” Doing a first look ensured we spent the whole wedding day together!
The reality is that when you choose not to do a first look, you and your groom usually end up spending most of the day apart. You might take some portraits with your bridesmaids or immediate family, but most of your morning is spent waiting for the ceremony to start.
The time finally comes for the ceremony, and your big moment of walking down the aisle to your groom is as beautiful as can be. However, you make it down the aisle and before you can whisper more than “hey” to your groom, your officiant is already speaking to you both and the crowd.
The ceremony wraps up and you have your big kiss- yay! You’re married! You make it to the end of the aisle and are wrapped up in hugs from your wedding party and closest family members. Sooner than later, your wedding day is over and the time spent with your now husband was a blur!
Thinking about how much time you would like to spend together on your wedding day will help you choose whether or not to have a first look!
Know Your Personalities
Secondly, getting to do a first look allows you to have your first reactions to seeing one another privately. For most couples, the feeling of being watched by hundreds of people doesn’t usually bring out their genuine personality. With a first look, you are free to be exactly who you are and experience these heightened emotions just as a couple. You can kiss and yell for joy and laugh and dance. You can whisper how good you both look and really take time to step back and look at one another.
You want to think about your personality and your style as a couple well before your wedding day is near. Do you both love public moments? Were your friends and family present for the proposal? Or do you value more intimate time together, separate from time spent with others watching?
You won’t want to be super far into your wedding day planning only to realize that you both are uncomfortable having such a monumental moment in front of hundreds of people. It can be incredibly comforting and special for your groom to see you before anyone else does.
Just as a caveat, all of our amazing grooms who have done first looks have STILL gotten emotional as his bride walks down the aisle. We hear often that brides or grooms are worried that a first look will downplay the emotion of the bride’s walk down the aisle during the ceremony. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! There is just something so special about seeing his bride walking towards him with all your family and friends watching. Having a first look doesn’t take away how beautiful that moment can be! “It actually helps you experience the emotions to the fullest.”
Know Your Choice Will Impact Your Vendors
Deciding whether or not you will have a first look can also help you in choosing and working with your vendors. Let’s think about your venue first. If you decide not to see each other until the ceremony, you should consider looking for a venue that has two getting ready rooms: one for the bride and one for the groom. If these rooms are across the hall from each other, this can be difficult to navigate on the wedding day. If your venue of choice does not have two rooms that suit your needs, you’ll want to think about making a different plan such as renting a hotel or Air BnB.
Another thing you will want to make sure your venue is equipped for is a space for cocktail hour. You will have to take a majority of your photos after the ceremony, and as photographers we can tell you that trying to find a suitable place for family and wedding party portraits is made much more difficult when you have guests roaming around in the space where you are trying to take pictures.
Now, let’s talk about how choosing to do a first look can also help you and your photographer maximize your time together. Your photographer might have a preference about whether they like first looks or not. My guess is if we were to poll wedding photographers, at least 90% of them would say that they prefer when a couple does the first look.
Honestly, photographers love when couples do first looks because it ensures that they will be able to serve their couples to the best of their ability and maximize every single moment they are with the couple on the wedding day! I promise this is our intention. We want you to experience a wedding day that is joy filled and a celebration of your love. We want you to receive the most images possible- and not just any sort of images- images that will make you swoon and take you right back to those butterflies in your stomach or that huge grin on your face.
The reality is, if you decide to forgo a first look, your photographer will end up capturing more images of you separate than together. Cody and I always deliver hundreds more images of our brides and grooms together than of their details or their wedding parties. Why? Because those are the first images you’ll look at once you get your completed gallery. Those are the images you’ll blow up into movie poster sizes and cover your walls with. Do we love detail shots? Absolutely, yes!! Photographers are there to capture every moment, but think for a minute about what moments are MOST special to you. Planning to do a first look before you book your wedding vendors can be a really helpful thing!
Know Your Guests
We want to finish by having you think about the people closest to you: your family, your best friends, and your wedding guests. We’ve said your wedding day is a celebration of your love. However, most people would agree that they want their guests to have fun on their wedding day, right! No one hopes their wedding day is a drag. But I bet we can all think of at least one wedding that we’ve attended or been a part of that wasn’t really all that fun, right?!
Cody and I have captured such a variety of weddings and with each wedding we are a part of, we improve on how we can help our clients create a celebration that is the best for them and their family and friends. I hate to say it…but we’ve experienced first-hand the irritation, the stress, the rudeness, and the anxiety that couples can feel and that family and friends can feel when things don’t go as planned on a wedding day. While Cody and I do our best to keep calm and cool in order to help the bride and groom continue to enjoy their wedding day, it can be sad to see how a day that is supposed to be so full of joy can easily turn south if things aren’t well thought out.
But what if you could surprise your family and guests and give them an experience that is so above and beyond all they thought a wedding could be like?! What if your wedding party could be done with photos and free to join the party right after cocktail hour? What if instead of taking family portraits after your ceremony, you already got them done before the ceremony because you and your groom did a first look? Now you and your husband can actually spend cocktail hour with your guests- the people who drove hours and flew across the country to see you get married! Your cocktail hour could be shorter and you could all sit down for dinner shortly after the ceremony finishes. Your family and friends would be blown away!
Choose What is Best For You
Choosing whether or not you will have a first look with your groom can greatly impact the entire span of your wedding day. This isn’t a decision to wait on. The sooner you choose, the more time you have to plan exactly what you will need in order to make your wedding day what dreams are made of.
Either way, your day will be filled with love. Your day will be the day you become husband and wife. And that is truly all that matters. We are so happy to help you consider how to make your wedding day the best it can be.
Thanks for tuning into the More than Marriage Podcast. If you want to continue the conversation or share your takeaways we want to hear from you! Head on over to our instagram at @morethanmarriagepodcast and comment on your favorite part! We can’t wait to hear from you!