Hi Friends! As we continue With This Ring- The Wedding, I have the pleasure of breaking down The First Look. For some couples this is a no brainer, but for others this simply isn’t an option. So let’s discuss what the First Look is, how it can be beneficial from a photographer’s point of view, and hear from a few of my past brides about their First Look decision!
In recent years there have been an increase in the number of couples that choose to have a First Look on their wedding day. I would even venture to say that this is a trend that is here to stay for a while. For many brides the idea of seeing their groom prior to the ceremony is taboo. Most brides who are unsure of a First Look are also afraid that the impact of her coming down the aisle will not be the same if she does a First Look. I’ve heard many times that “I want to see his reaction when I come down the aisle” and typically a First Look doesn’t change that, it simply changes who witnesses it. If your guy is not the emotional type, he may not be on the wedding day and that’s ok! Often, I hear of these extreme expectations of what the bride expects the groom to do and sometimes that’s not always the case. His nerves may strike at some point during the day but at exactly which point has been unpredictable for many brides. A couple’s reason for doing a First Look (or not) may vary, so ultimately it is your decision!
1- An Intimate Moment Before the Excitement Begins
A First Look is an intimate moment shared between a bride and groom before the festivities of the actual wedding day begins. In the past I have seen couples read letters to one another, pray, cry, hug or just share quiet time once they’ve gotten ready for the wedding. Also, during this time, I am there as their photographer, capturing these moments for them to cherish later. This is typically done in a location that is out of view of others, so the couple isn’t interrupted or on display in front of crowds.
2- Potentially More Bride and Groom Portraits
Ultimately, couples that opt to do a First Look receive 30% more portraits from their wedding day than those that do not because we have included additional time in their wedding timeline for this specific moment. For couples that are getting married later in the year, it gets darker earlier in the evening. In order to achieve outdoor portraits after Daylight Savings Time, a First Look is necessary for ceremonies beginning after 3pm.
3- A Way To Stay on Schedule During the Wedding Day
A First Look can serve as a time saver. Planning for the first look can be a way to ensure the schedule does not fall behind on the wedding day. Because the First Look is done before the ceremony begins, the bride and groom are dressed about an hour earlier than normal. If for some reason the schedule gets thrown off, the couple can forego a first look and still be on time for their ceremony.
When I asked Brittani if she would could go back and change her mind about a First Look, she shared:
Would I change anything? No. I thought about the first look afterwards and initially thought that it would have been better to have the private moment to ourselves, but when I look at the pictures I still get speechless. Everything about that moment was perfect, and I am glad we have those memories to cherish forever.
Note: Brittani opted to do a Daddy-Daughter First Look, which is special for so many obvious reasons for women with a special connection to their fathers!
2015 bride, Mrs. Emily Lin did a First Look and she shares her thoughts with us:
When I asked Emily about her feelings coming down the aisle and her advice to brides, she also shared:
I still had butterflies walking down the aisle, but I was definitely more at ease. I was grateful that I was able to talk to him before the ceremony to calm my nerves.
For any brides on the fence, browse through all the photos that were taken during first look sessions! The emotion that shows through these pictures is so moving! That’s all it took for me!
Note: After the wedding, Jon and Emily took a few more portraits as husband and wife before joining their guests at Cocktail Hour. This is how they are able to receive 30% more photos from their wedding day without having to purchase additional photography coverage, which gave them more options for their signature wedding album! Additionally, we had time to use more photo locations near their wedding venue and weren’t rushed to do so! You can see more of their wedding photos featured on Every Last Detail!
When I asked Farrah if she would could go back and change her mind about a First Look, she shared:
Yes, absolutely! It rained off and on during my wedding day and doing a First Look could have given us more of an opportunity to take photos outdoors. We were able to take a few photos outside before having to return indoors, so this would be the only change I would make to my wedding day!
So there you have it, three brides with three different perspectives of their wedding day. What I love is that all three brides have their reasons for why they made their decision regarding a First Look. Because the First Look is a trend that is more accepted the more brides understand it, plan to see this option stick around for a while!
So the question you may ask, is a First Look mandatory with most photographers? For me, I would have to say no, but given certain requests for photos (i.e. National Monuments, multiple locations, or large bridal parties and families), I will encourage it as an option. Ultimately, a couple decides what they want on their wedding day! I would love to hear your thoughts on a First Look for your wedding day!
Lastly, as an alternative to a First Look with your groom, some brides have opted for a Daddy-Daughter First Look, a First Touch, a Blind-folded Prayer or even a Gift Exchange. While this may not result in an increase in additional Bride and Groom portraits since you aren’t seeing your groom, it does still allow you to create personal moments that can be documented by your photographer and cherished for years to come!
Want more??? You can view the entire #WITHTHIS💍 The Wedding:Blog Series below. (Links will be updated daily)
Monday (May 23, 2016): “Your Wedding Day: Planning your Photo Timeline” (Iris Mannings)
Wednesday (May 25, 2016): “The First Look: Trend vs. Tradition” (Terri Baskin)
Thursday (May 26, 2016): “Creating a Ceremony Experience” (Natarsha Wright)
Friday (May 27, 2016): “Planning for Perfect Portraits” (Kamron Khan)
Saturday (May 28, 2016): “How to Rock Your Reception” (Mecca Gamble)
Sunday (May 29, 2016: “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT”