Today I want to talk to you a little bit about First Looks. What First Looks are, how they can change your wedding day’s experience, and how they can affect your wedding photos! First Looks have become a popular tradition in the wedding industry in the past few years, and as a wedding photographer of eight years, I am a huge fan of them! I am so excited to walk with you through all of the ins and outs of First Looks and share with you a few quotes from my JHP couples about their very own wedding days and First Look experiences.
Let’s start with this: What is a First Look?
Don’t feel bad if you’re asking this question! I promise you, I get it often from my couples as we are planning their wedding experience. For those of you who don’t know, the First Look is when the couple decides to see each other before the ceremony. This allows for couples to have a private intimate moment on their wedding day, reveal their wedding day looks to each other in a private way, and have more time for photos on the day!
It’s been a common idea based in tradition that the groom to seeing the bride before the wedding day is bad luck. And, though for some couples participating in this tradition can still be very special and romantic, I’m sad to tell you that the tradition’s origins are not all that romantic. Here, I’ll let Liz Susong from Brides.com and Catalyst Wedding Co tell you more about it…
“… the superstition that it is bad luck to see the bride on the wedding day. Now, we must ask ourselves: but why would it be bad luck to see the bride? Picture this: You’re an Elizabethan-era father who scraped together enough goats and cows to make a compelling dowry for your teenage daughter, and you’re this close to getting her married to the fella down the street. You’ve been negotiating with his family for months, and you’ve nearly got it in the bag.
The last thing you would want is for the groom-to-be to catch a glimpse of your daughter the morning of the wedding and realize that—bless her heart—she’s a homely thing. Why, if he saw her before the very second she arrived at the altar, he might run, and now wouldn’t that be bad luck? Better to be safe than sorry—you have your daughter don a veil, too. Now there’s no way he can make a quick getaway as she treks down the aisle. Phew!
Western weddings used to be business transactions between two families; now, most of us would be hard-pressed not to marry for that one, most sacred, enigmatic, inexplicable reason: love. We trust that our beloved won’t balk on the wedding day, so deciding whether or not to see each other before the wedding is truly a matter of personal choice based on the mood-scape you hope to orchestrate.”
So, not so romantic right?
Now, I do think couples in 2019 and beyond can participate in the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony and toss off all of the negative connotations that these origins have. Don’t get me wrong, friends. I one hundred percent believe that every couple should do exactly what they want to do on their wedding day! If that means not seeing each other until the ceremony, then perfect! I love that.
If that means having our first look, then perfect! I love that, too. My deepest desire is for every couple to have the wedding day that they want and that reflects what’s important to them. So, if not seeing each other before the ceremony is important to you, don’t take this blog post as a knock on that! You don’t have to have a First Look to have a perfect wedding day, I promise you that.
So, now you know what is what a First Look is and a little bit about the tradition behind why First Looks have just recently become a new western wedding tradition. Now, I’d like to talk to you a little bit about all of the benefits that a first luck will provide on your wedding day..
Jessica said, ” Obviously, I haven’t experienced what it feels like to have my groom see me for the first time walking down the aisle, but from what I’ve heard from others, it’s not always what you expect or imagine. You probably both will have so many feelings and emotions when you see each other for the first time, First Look or otherwise, but you can’t really express them or say anything in the middle of the ceremony. You might be able to whisper “I love you” or “You look beautiful/amazing/gorgeous/handsome” but not like you can in the First Look moment. “
The Benefits of a First Look
First, and this is the most important to me personally, you get to see each other for a longer period of time on your wedding day! No, really! If you have a First Look, you will probably be seeing your future spouse at least 3 to 4 hours before your ceremony. That means you won’t have to wait until four or five or even six in the evening to see each other on the best day of your life. I don’t know about you, but spending more time with the person I’m going to marry on our wedding day sounds like a good idea to me!
Katie said, “My husband and I have talked since our wedding about how the time we had to ourselves during our First Look really grounded us and made us feel so much more connected through all the other parts of our celebration. We had a blast at our wedding and loved all the people that were there with us, but that time to ourselves before everything else was so special!”
Second, the second benefit to having a first look on your wedding day is that you will receive more photos of you two together as a couple in your final gallery. More often than not when couple choose to wait to see each other until the ceremony, couples will find themselves rushed through their portraits in between their vows and reception. By having a First Look, you will be able to spend as much time as you would like on your photos together as a couple on the day. Want to be photographed for 30 minutes together? You can do that with the First Look! I tell all of my couples that if they choose a First Look on their wedding day, they will receive on average at least 50 to 75 more images of them together as a couple in their final gallery.
Not only will you receive more photos from your wedding day if you have a First Look, but you will also be able to get all of your photos taken when you’re looking your best on your day. Moments after your hair and makeup or other preparations are finished, you can slip out to see your future spouse with the freshest of faces. Not only with you see your soulmate while you’re looking your absolute best with a First Look, but you’ll also look your freshest and best in your photos, as well!
Cass said, “Decide what is more important to you as a couple. It is your day, and you want it to be as memorable as possible. Having a First Look allowed us to take so many beautiful pictures as a couple without as many time constraints, and it was fun to have the wedding party together before the ceremony. We were less anxious, and more excited about the ceremony after doing a First Look.”
Third, a First Look allows your day to flow so much more smoothly from moment to moment! If you wait to see each other till the ceremony, that means you are also waiting to photograph all of your wedding party portraits and portraits of you two as a couple together until after the ceremony. Sometimes, I refer to the 45 minutes after every ceremony as a ‘portrait marathon’ because it really kind of is! You will be going from family formal photos straight into your wedding party formal groupings and then straight into your photos of you two as a couple on your wedding day without a First Look. Sometimes (okay, who am I kidding? Most times if we are being honest.) that can be exhausting! Having a First Look will allow you to plan your day to avoid any portrait marathon moments, tired smiles, or flustered faces. You’ll be able to spend more time together being photographed and spend more time on your photographs in general!
Straight to the Party
First Looks also allow you to go straight from your ceremony to your reception. No waiting on the couple or wedding party for an hour so everyone can start to eat! Gone are the days of your guests sitting around hoping the couple is announced already, my friends. Now you can have a First Look, get all of your photos done before your ceremony, and head straight to the party after you’ve said your vows!
Cass said, “We loved it. It took a lot of the anxiety of the ceremony away by being able to share a personal moment together and being able to see each other and talk before the ceremony. The bride was able to fix the groom’s bow tie, and the groom was able to twirl the bride around to see her entire dress. Having that time alone was a lot of fun, and fit our personalities!”
What are the Cons to a First Look?
When my couples ask me if there are any negative results from having a First Look on their wedding day, I happily tell them ‘No!’ If that traditional ‘reveal’ moment is not important to you and doesn’t strike a chord in your heart, then you should consider seeing each other before the ceremony in a First Look! It’s going to make your wedding day better, you happier, and your wedding photos that much more gorgeous.
Having a First Look on your wedding day will change your wedding experience. It will make your day flow more smoothly, make your photos more relaxed, and allow you to enjoy your day and be present in your memories. You want your wedding day to be fun for you, your spouse, and your wedding party, right? Having a First Look will allow you to not only enjoy your day and flow as it happens around you, but also receive all of the gorgeous photos you want without any of the headache that you that don’t.
Melanie said, ” I totally think other couples should do a First Look! Having those moments to spend with just your partner will turn out to be some of the best memories of the day. Tons of pressure will be lifted off of your shoulders because you get to see each other for the first time without 100+ people watching you react to one another. “
Will First Look with affect your Photos?
First Looks will allow your photographer to spend more time with you two as a couple and allow your photography team to spend more time with your wedding party, as well. In my experience, when I have a couple who is having a First Look, I am able to spend more time with them and their photos and therefor create a better gallery for my couples. We are able to not only create the beautiful picture perfect portraits that everyone wants from their wedding day, but also get a little creative with our extra time together. A First Look will allow you to spend as much time as you would like on your photos and give your photographer the time they need to create something really magical for you!
Katie said, “I would suggest a first look to any couple that isn’t opposed to it for long-standing traditional reasons that they want to abide by! It felt great to get away from the stress and craziness and just be together for a while before our ceremony. And from a logistical perspective, it was so hugely beneficial in making our day run smoothly for us and our guests!”
A First Look is always a great decision for any couple planning their wedding day. If that big a traditional ‘reveal’ moment is not what you envisioned for your day or does not resonate with you and your spouse, then you should absolutely consider having a First Look on your wedding day. It will allow you to have a flawless day, receive better photos of you and the love of your life, and enhance your overall wedding day experience!
First Look’s are something I suggest to all of my JHP couples as they progress through their wedding experience with me.
So, what do you think? Do you love the idea of a First Look? Why or why not? Let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions in the comments below!