What’s a first look?
First looks are relatively private moments where the bride and groom get a “first look” at each other, in their wedding attire, before the actual ceremony takes place. It’s typically a very emotional moment for the couple and usually produces some breathtaking photos. Pictures aside, it just gives the couple a beautiful moment to share with each other amongst the usual chaos of a wedding day.
What’s the point?
Some of you might be wondering, “Why would I have a first look?” It might seem like you’re just adding more to an already packed day, but a first look definitely has its benefits.
The moment lasts longer
The feeling you get when you see your fiancé for the first time on your wedding day, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s an incredibly special moment, and you have the right to enjoy it for as long as you want. If you wait until the ceremony, the moment really only lasts from the entrance to the altar, then boom, the wedding starts and it’s over. With a first look, you get much more time to hug, hold and kiss each other, while the photographer captures all of it. Then once the two of you are ready, you can go on to take your wedding and family portraits before the ceremony starts.
Calms the nerves
Your wedding day can be an emotional roller-coaster. Those final moments before the ceremony begins, will almost 100% leave you feeling stressed or flustered. So by the time you actually made it down the aisle, you can be a giant bundle of nerves. Now while having a first look means an addition to an already hectic day, it can actually have a very calming effect. Sharing a moment with your spouse before the ceremony can help relieve so much anxiety! It’s like one deep breath of air before the final push. There’s going to be a big wave of emotion as you see your partner, but once that subsides you should start to feel more relaxed. And trust me, that relaxation definitely shows in your pictures!
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Get portraits out of the way earlier
In most weddings, once the ceremony is over, there is a brief cocktail hour for guests while the newlyweds, bridal party, and close family have to run off to take portraits. Now, you would think this is enough time for this to be done, but you’d be surprised at how rushed the entire process can be. Before you know it, time is up and you have to get back to the guests at the reception. By scheduling a first look a few hours before the wedding starts, there should be ample time for the photographer to capture the moments between you and your spouse, as well as, the additional portraits with family and the bridal party. You know what that means? When the ceremony is over, you get to enjoy cocktail hour with everyone else!
Extra time to touch up for the ceremony
Now I wouldn’t wish this on any bride, but picture this. You decided that to wait until the ceremony to see each other. The ceremony has started and the two of you see each other for the first time. It’s a magical moment, but it quickly becomes overwhelming and before you know it, you’re crying. Not a few baby tears, we’re talking full blown ugly crying. You try to wipe away the tears, but all you end up doing is smudging your makeup. The ceremony is starting and there you are at your own wedding looking like a hot mess. Now picture the same scenario, but it’s a first look. You might still look like a hot mess, but thankfully you have another 20-25 minutes to go back and have your makeup retouched before the actual wedding starts. And like we said earlier, with most of the nerves out of your system, you’ll be so much more relaxed during the actual ceremony.
Q: Does a first look cost extra?
Q: How long will it take?
Q: Will I have time to readjust my makeup?
Q: Where do we take the pictures?
Q: Can our families be there too?
Q: Can we wear our rings for the pictures?
Q: Do we have to do family portraits after the first look, or can that wait until after the ceremony?
If you’re curious, here are a few first look portraits that I’ve taken over the years:
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For those of you who are curious about the idea of having a first look, I hope that this post gave you some good insight. Also, please don’t think that I’m trying to say, you absolutely need to have a first look done. If you and your spouse prefer to do things a bit more traditional, that is more than fine. It’s your wedding day and you have every right to plan it the way you want.
Over the past couple of years the age old rule of seeing your groom at the altar for the first time has become a thing of the past. A private “First Look” or “Reveal” before the wedding ceremony has been around for many years. What is a First Look? This is the moment where the bride and groom see each other for the first time in a private location. They share a special moment while the photographer captures every hug and kiss. From having extra time with your significant other to being able to enjoy spending more time with guests after the ceremony, there are so many reasons why a First Look is beneficial on your wedding day. Here are my top 10…
1) IT IS NOT BAD LUCK! This is the least of your worries on your wedding day.
2) Get that First Impression you’ve always dreamed of: Walking down the aisle in front of all your guest is one of the most nerve wracking things a bride and groom will ever have to do. There are so many things a bride is thinking about while walking. Is the veil on straight? “Am I holding the bouquet at a good height?” “Oh, cousin Beth made it.” “Smile for the camera!” “Wait, I haven’t made eye contact with the groom yet.” By the time you’ve reached the altar, the 10 seconds of walking down the aisle towards the rest of your life have simply passed. The moment of a First Look allows you to control the scenario. It can be as intimate as just the bride and groom with the photographer in the background capturing the moment, or as fun and exciting with your whole bridal party watching. It all depends on the mood and emotion you are envisioning.
3) Allow your photographer creative freedom: Traditionally, portraits are taken during cocktail hour. That gives your photographer only 45 minutes to capture family portraits, bride and groom portraits and reception decor. When it comes to photography there are different factors to think about – if you are looking into having creative and romantic photos, the First Look will allow you the time to capture everything you have always dreamed of.
4) Additional time to enjoy the benefits of daylight photos: Natural light does not require a fancy set up or flashes. A photographer has the ability to play with the light and create the perfect setting. During the day, the photographs show the colors and textures of nature’s beauty which makes your memories look bright and vibrant as apposed to dark. However if night time photos is what you like having a first look will allow you to have the best of all worlds.
5) Time to relax before the ceremony: Allows time between photos and ceremony to freshen up and re-apply makeup if necessary. The reveal also adds time to your day by allowing a few minutes of freshening up and relaxing before walking down the aisle.
6) Make it worth your while: In some cultures, the bride and groom have to see each other before hand anyway to sign the marriage license together. So why not get the most out of it and see each other earlier to get amazing photos.
7) Extra time with your significant other: In a traditional wedding scenario, the bride and groom only spend the ceremony and reception together. Totalling up to 5 hours together. A First Look allows you a couple of extra hours together to enjoy on your big day.
8) The venue of your dreams: Have the choice of taking your portraits at a different location than the venue or hotel where you’re getting ready. If the picture spot of your dreams is out of budget or time frame, then a first look is the way to go. 100% of our New York City brides want portraits in Central Park which is usually not possible unless they do a first look.
9) Be the FUN Bridal party you see in magazines: Dedicate ample time for just your photos, family and bridal party photos. When group photos are taken during the “First look” time, it is more organized than if it is done after ceremony. This gives you the ability to inform family and bridal party members when and where to meet. It also gives you time with your bridal party for some fun and creative photos. After the ceremony, the area is busy with guests mingling and walking around. It can be distracting for the family members who need to be in photos which then leads to a delay of gathering everyone together.
10) Enjoy your cocktail hour: Not only does a First Look allow you extra time for photos with your significant other, but immediate family portraits can be done during that time as well. This way, the bride and groom can spend cocktail hour mingling with guests and thanking them for joining your wedding celebration. Usually, thanking guests takes place during the reception where the bride and groom spend almost all their time going from table to table. Joining cocktail hour not only allows you to eat, drink and relax but also allows you to fully enjoy the reception with your new spouse.
At the end of the day, it is all about enjoying time together as newlyweds and enjoying a day that goes by so quickly. Squeeze every fun second out of it and a First Look is definitely a step in that direction.