Whether you are unsure about doing First Look photography on your wedding day or may not know what it is, I hope my guide can clarify if you should do a First Look on your special day.
One of the oldest wedding traditions is waiting to see your partner for the first time on your wedding day at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. Why then would you ever consider changing something that has always been seen as one of the pinnacle moments during a wedding? Even if you and your soon-to-be spouse think yourselves to be more ‘traditional,’ here are some excellent reasons to consider seeing your partner before the ceremony at what is called a “First Look.”
What Is The “First Look” & Why It Is A Must-Do For Couples
A First Look is the first time that you and your partner get to see one another on the day of your wedding. It is an intimate and personal moment in which you get to stop for a short moment in time amidst the hustle and bustle of the wedding day and just soak it all in.
As the photographer who captures this moment, I carefully work to bring the couple together at their desired location, and then I just step back and let everything unfold naturally.
First Looks have become increasingly popular over the past several years. As a bride myself, I had to decide to say yes or no to the First Look on our big day. It was a tough decision since I was concerned that my big “coming down the aisle moment” would not end up being as special.
After various discussions with my wonderful now-husband, our photographer, and our wedding planner, we decided to take a leap of faith and go for the First Look. Little did I know, our First Look ended up being one of the most memorable moments, if not the most special moment, of our entire wedding!
Top Five Reasons To Consider Having A First Look Perk #1: You get to share what would be your First Look at the ceremony together – and alone.
It is no secret that your wedding day is full of organized (and exciting) chaos, from getting ready with your bridesmaids to taking Golden Hour wedding photos and socializing with your guests during the reception.
This is why I highly encourage couples to take time before the ceremony (about 15 minutes) to have a sweet, loving, and private moment together with the First Look. You are away from the crowd and can enjoy each other’s company without feeling rushed or pressured. You also have the everlasting memory of expressing your love, thoughts, and feelings to each other imprinted in time forever – a chance you may not get to do during the rest of your wedding day.
If you have written personalized vows, the First Look is the perfect time to share them without having an audience. Also, in many religious ceremonies, personalized vows are not permitted, so if this is something that is important to you, it is a great way to still incorporate them into your day. The First Look also gives you the opportunity to exchange wedding gifts with one another so that you can see each other’s reactions instead of just getting a groomsman or bridesmaid to deliver it.
And what about the ceremony? I can say from personal experience that I was just as excited and emotional on my walk down the aisle as ever and my now-husband Travis said he was as well.
Pro Tip: Are you concerned that you will not be able to fully be yourself with your soon-to-be spouse during the First Look photo session? Don’t worry! When I photograph my clients’ First Looks, I use a longer lens and quietly blend into the background so that my presence does not interrupt your moment.
Perk #2: You have time to brush off the pre-ceremony nerves.
The First Look gives you a much-needed pause with your other half! You give yourselves a chance to celebrate this happiness with each other first. The comfort and joy you share help alleviate the anticipation and pressure before the ceremony begins.
The Five Reasons To Consider Having A First Look Perk #3: You will feel less distracted and more relaxed during the ceremony.
Though the walking-down-the-aisle scene is beautiful and remarkable in every wedding, it is also one of the times where you can be the most distracted and anxious. In turn, you may not fully be able to soak in the moment where you and your partner lock eyes for the first time.
But, with the First Look photography session, you have that moment captured forever! During the ceremony, your nerves may still be there, but you will feel more natural and confident in the rest of the wedding process.
Our Five Reasons To Consider Having A First Look Perk #4: You see each other at your best.
The bride just got her makeup done, hair styled, and put on her dress for the first time at the wedding. The groom has his suit on, cufflinks secured, necktie straightened, and is ready to go. Both of you are fresh and newly dressed, prepared for the day ahead. This is the best time to get your First Look!
Your couple’s portraits will capture you at your best – both in regards to the precious emotions you will be showing on your faces and how you look!
Top Five Reasons To Consider Having A First Look Perk #5: You save time in your wedding schedule.
The First Look gives you and your photographer extra time to get photos of you and your partner in your most intimate, romantic, and raw moments with each other. Afterward, you can have additional wedding photographs completed, like the bridal party photos and family wedding pictures. With all the primary wedding photos checked off the list, the rest of your wedding day can go on without any other large photo-related pauses.
Reasons For Not Having A First Look On Your Wedding Day
Although I love taking First Look photos for my clients, it is not always going to be the ideal choice for every couple… that is perfectly okay!
Here are some of the most common reasons you may choose to forgo the First Look:
- Your values and beliefs do not align with doing a First Look. My team and I at Lily Laidlaw Photography are always flexible and respectful of your vision! Your wedding day will be spectacular, whether you do a First Look or not.
- There is no room in your wedding schedule. You may not be able to squeeze in time for a First Look due to more pressing events happening throughout your day. Since I always help my couples create their day-of-wedding timeline, I will work with you to find creative ways to capture all of the shots you desire with the time that we do have!
- You prefer having Golden Hour photos instead and don’t have room in your schedule to do both sessions. In most weddings, the First Look will be earlier in the day (mid-morning or early afternoon), where natural light tends to be brighter and not have the signature “Golden Hour” glow. You may enjoy the Golden Hour photos more than the First Look because of the lighting and ambiance itself. Read more about Golden Hour wedding photography here.
- Tradition means more to you. You simply love the tradition of seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony! There’s no other profound reason; you and your fiancé(e) just love the idea of tradition more.
Whatever you decide, I will ensure to capture your most important emotions and moments to look back on.
I hope you found this post helpful!
Please reach out to me if you have any questions about planning your wedding photography.
I am excited to hear your story and would be delighted to be a part of your wedding in Alberta, Canada, or any other destination of your choice!