If you’re recently engaged, you may be asking yourself “to look or not to look, that is the question…” And by that we mean, should you have a first look? Although I always tell my couples that the final decision is up to them, I am always secretly hoping that they decide to do a first look. Not only is it SUPER helpful when it comes to photographing a wedding, but I think it also makes your wedding day more enjoyable- but let’s be honest, you’ll probably love your wedding day either way considering you’re getting married to the love of your life.
Anyways, in the interest of possibly swaying your decision a little, I’ve put together a list of the top 7 reasons why I always recommend that couples have a first look.
1. It gives you and your groom-to-be the chance to have a moment alone.
I realize I’m writing this article under the assumption that you are the bride in this situation, but if that is not the case, then I apologize and applaud you for taking interest in planning your wedding! Anyways. Wedding days are hectic and long, but somehow they also go by in the blink of an eye. Having a first look gives you and your groom a chance to be alone for just one special moment during a day where most of your wedding will be consumed by other people. Isn’t it ironic that wedding days are supposed to be for you and your spouse, but they mostly end up being for everyone else? With a first look, you’ll have a chance to soak it all in without having the eyes of 100+ people on you for the rest of the day. Plus, your groom will feel comfortable being himself in this moment instead of trying to hold back tears so he doesn’t start bawling in front of a large crowd. (I’m actually speaking from experience on this one, this is exactly what happened at my wedding!)
2. You’ll have a chance to touch up your make-up if tears are shed!
Speaking of shedding tears, a first look also gives you the chance to recover from an emotional moment and make sure that you don’t have mascara streaming down your face or streaked foundation for the entirety of your wedding. After the first look, you’ll have time to go back and touch up your makeup so you look your best for the rest of your photos and for your ceremony!
3. It makes it easier for the photographer to capture the emotions of the moment.
During wedding ceremonies, there are usually rows and rows of people in between the photographer and either the bride or the groom. And sometimes, those people get in the way. We know how special the first look is and every photographer will strive to get those reactions if you choose to not see each other until the ceremony, but if your Uncle Bob decides to step in their line of view with his iPhone X to capture a picture of your grooms reaction or a picture of the bride as she’s walking down the aisle, that may prevent your photographer from capturing that moment for you. While you may have Uncle Bob’s iPhone picture to remember it, if you want to ensure that your professional photographer gets the reaction photos with their professional equipment, a first look before the ceremony makes that possible.
4. It gives your photographer more time to capture couples photos and bridal party photos!
If you do decide to have a first look, then that means that the photographer will have much more time to capture all the photos you’ve been dreaming of with your entire bridal party and with your new spouse! Instead of rushing in between the ceremony and reception to get all these photos done without upsetting waiting guests, you and your photographer can take all the time you need to get the photos that you’ll love.
5. Your guests won’t be kept waiting at the reception.
Not only will you have more time to take photos if you do a first look pre-ceremony, but you’ll also be able to go straight to the reception directly after your wedding ceremony instead of having to stay back with the photographer! Plus, it’s an added bonus that there won’t be guests waiting around to watch your wedding photos being taken. At my own wedding, we had a crowd during our photos which made it slightly more uncomfortable during couples portraits since we knew everyone was watching us. These same guests might also be pulling out their own phones to take your picture and get in the way while your photographer is trying to work.
6. You’ll have more time to spend with your guests.
Yet another bonus, since you’ll be able to head straight to the reception after the ceremony, you’ll have more time to spend with all the people who came to celebrate with you! Taking photos before the wedding doesn’t take away any of the time that you have to spend with your guests at your reception, and with all the people you have to talk to at your wedding, every moment counts!
7. Your photographer will thank you for making their job easier.
Taking once in a lifetime photos can be stressful and every wedding photographer wants to deliver the best photos to their couples, but a little bit of the stress of the job is alleviated every time we hear a couple say they want to do a first look. Not only will you have a more relaxed wedding day if you decide to have a first look, but I can guarantee you, your wedding photographer will also be ecstatic that you’ve made their job that much easier. With a first look, wedding photographers are guaranteed that they’ll have the time they need to take the perfect wedding photos for their couple. While every photographer will strive to do this regardless of whether or not you decide to have a first look, it sure helps when it comes to timelines to get the bulk of the pictures out of the way before the wedding instead of trying to herd cats after the ceremony.
So, with all this being said, this is YOUR wedding day we’re talking about, so do whatever you darn well please! Your photographer will make sure that you have photos you love no matter what. But, if you’re on the fence about whether or not you should do a first look, I hope this helps you decide!