As you can probably gather just by reading the title of this blog post, we’re going to talk a bit more about “First Look” photos and why we’re big fans. That being said, please let us precede this post by saying that if you’re a bride and groom and you’re still trying to figure out if you should or should not do a first look, that is completely up to you. As photographers who have photographed several weddings, we feel like it is our duty to explain why we think there are benefits from doing first look pictures but as your photographers, we’ll do whatever it is you want to do with seeing each other for the first time. Whether that be in a special moment prior to your ceremony or your first glance happens when your eyes meet for the first time when walking down the aisle – we’re here for you.
Our first exposure to the idea of first look pictures came at our own wedding (a few years before we started our own photography business) when our wedding coordinator suggested doing a first look, by ourselves in the sanctuary of our church, with just our photographers to capture the moment. In the time leading up to our first look, I was a bundle of nerves. I just wanted to finished getting dressed and see Justin for the first time. I wanted to see him and needed just a bit of time with him alone before the real craziness of the day began. Today I look back at the photos from our first look and they are some of my absolute favorite photos from our entire day. Just that little bit of time together helped center us and get ready for the main event. After our first look, I was able to hang out in the bridal room with my bridesmaids (checking the score of the Mizzou football game on my phone) without the slightest bit of nerves. Doing a first look didn’t diminish the feelings and excitement of walking down the aisle to Justin but instead allowed me to really focus on all the other details and moments. I could really take in that my Dad was walking down the aisle with me and how special that was. I could really take in the faces of our guests as they saw me for the first time and appreciate their joy and excitement for this special moment in our lives. And I could still focus on Justin, knowing I was ready to marry my best friend.
With all that being said – here are our top 5 reasons (in no particular order) why we’re BIG fans of the first look:
1. You gain time on your wedding day where it is just an intimate moment between the two of you. This is your time to laugh, cry, hug, pray, and just enjoy each other’s company. To tell each other how awesome the other person looks and how excited you are to be getting married! Because once you make that walk down the aisle, the chances of you two having a bit of alone time are pretty slim.
2. You can shake off a lot of those wedding day nerves. We had one bride who did not do a first look with her groom and I thought she was going to jump out of her skin while she waiting to walk down the aisle because she was so nervous. With a first look, you can let some of that anxiety go and just focus on enjoying your day.
3. You can extend your wedding day schedule. Don’t want to leave too much time between your ceremony and reception but still want plenty of portraits? Doing first look pictures can help with that. By doing some of your portraits prior to the ceremony, we can focus on getting those all important family pictures done following the ceremony and still get you to your cocktail hour on time. We had previous clients who originally didn’t want to do a first look but were doing a Friday wedding with a full Catholic mass two days before the shift in Daylight Saving Time and wanted to get to their reception at the same time their guests did. By doing a first look, they were able to really shift the time frame of their schedule, allowing for more portraits capturing the beautiful late fall light and get them to their reception on time.
4. You get more portraits. Not only do first look pictures free up your schedule for more portraits with the family and your awesome wedding party, but it also provides more portraits of just you two. Wedding photography is about capturing the entirety of your day but it’s also about capturing all the special moments between just you two as you embark upon this life adventure together. We love when we’re able to capture first look moments because it can be so reflective of all that your wedding day means to you two.
5. You still get to experience that magical moment of seeing each other as you walk down the aisle. Many times the reasoning we hear from couples who do not want to do a first look is that it takes away from tradition and how special it is to see your bride/groom for the first time as they/you walk down the aisle. We find that it’s almost the opposite for our brides and grooms who do first look pictures, they enjoy the walk down the aisle even more. They’re so much more relaxed and able to take it all in, focusing on all the little moments of the ceremony.
But don’t take just our words about why first look pictures are awesome! Below are some first look pictures we’re absolutely in love with and the words of advice/wisdom from the brides and grooms who opted to do first looks.
We choose to do a first look because we wanted a special moment together, that we could remember. The suspense and excitement before the first look, was half the enjoyment. Then, seeing in real-life what we had been looking forward to for months, seemed to bring everything together. We think a first look is a great start to anyone’s wedding day. There is just something magical about the anticipation of the first look. And as we look back, the pictures of our first look end up being some of our favorites of the whole day! Katie + Caleb
I am so glad that we chose to do a “First Look” photo opp. My husband and I are each a little on the anxious side and not big on being the center of attention. Doing the First Look with each other before the ceremony truly helped to calm the nerves and allowed us to capture a really special moment. If we wouldn’t have seen each other before hand, we wouldn’t have had time to gush over each other at the alter! With how fast the day flew by, the First Look also allowed us time to get some pictures before the craziness of the ceremony-reception began. I would highly recommend doing a First Look to any bride/groom! – Danielle & Matt
Choosing to do a first look was the best decision I made that day (besides saying “yes” to the love of my life :)). After getting all dressed up and putting on my beautiful wedding dress, my husband was the first person I wanted to show it off too. The first look was enjoyable because to me the best feeling was seeing his reaction and knowing that I was the only one who got to see it first. It’s an emotional moment that you never want to forget, and the best part about it is you’re getting it all captured through pictures. While standing there looking at the back of my soon to husband, my heart was pounding so hard! Yes, I was VERY nervous! This was one of the biggest days of my life!! I definitely recommend a first look not only because it calms your nerves but it also gives you memories of a such a special moment that you want to cherish forever! – Natasha
I chose to do a first look because I wanted to have the first moments of us together on our wedding day captured and be able to look back on down the road. It was enjoyable because of all the excitement that has been built up is caught on camera. I would recommend a first look to other couples for the main reason of being able to have one of, if not the most memorable moments of the day on camera and being able to look back on it is such a blessing! – Caleb
Kayce and I did a “first look” before our wedding Mass. This was one of Justin’s ideas and we are so happy we did it. Justin worked with Kayce and I to organize and plan the first look so that it was an intimate, special, but relaxing way to begin our celebration. – Mark & Kayce