A new trend has become popular with modern day couples. They are choosing to do a “First Look”. A First Look is where the bride and groom see each other privately for the first time on their wedding day before their ceremony. This is a very special time for the couple to be able to spend a few minutes alone on one of the most important days of their lives. When I first mention this to my couples, 90% of them will automatically say, “NO!” before I even finish the sentence, until I explain what is involved. Now, I would say about 1/3 to 1/2 of my couples want to do a First Look. Many people think it isn’t romantic until they understand what is actually involved. I think it actually adds to the romance of your day. I wrote this article to better explain what a First Look is so that you can make an educated decision for what is best for you and your fiance.
Years ago, when most marriages were arranged, the couple was not permitted to see each other prior to their ceremony. The bride was covered head-to-toe, including a veil. The groom could not see his bride until after they were married to make sure that he didn’t run for the hills! These days, this obviously isn’t the norm, so a lot of couples are ditching this in exchange for a a new tradition because of the many benefits (and many brides don’t wear a veil either, but that’s another subject!)
Reasons to Do a First Look
- After you see each other, you are much more relaxed and there is much less stress for everyone involved with the wedding. You also don’t have to play hide and see from each other before the ceremony. At some locations it can become difficult!
- The majority of the formal photographs can be taken before the ceremony. Then, you can quickly get to your reception and enjoy your night! Many times there is pressure to finish your images ASAP by parents, event coordinators, etc., and this ends up cutting into your couple portrait time. I feel these are the most important images of the day. These are what you want to use to decorate your home for years to come.
- Depending on the time of your wedding, choosing to do a First Look can affect your wedding day portraits. If your ceremony starts after dark, without a First Look, your formal images will also be taken after dark. Many people choose their ceremony/reception location because of the outside aesthetics. These may not be visible at night, so you may be limited to inside portraits. I can light you up, but not the entire landscape (although there are instances that evening portraits are beautiful!)
- You can see each other privately, and spend a few special minutes alone while we photograph it from a discreet distance. Many times these are the only moments during a whirlwind day that you will have alone. During this time, you can hug, kiss, and tell each other how you feel instead of not being able to say anything because you are standing in front of your 300 closest friends
- Last, the First Look images are probably some of the most genuine and beautiful images of the day. You can see from the examples on this page how much these couples adored having this private time with each other. None of these images are posed.
How Does the First Look Work?
You begin the day the same as you would traditionally, with both of you getting dressed with your attendants privately. Once you are ready, we take you to a pre-determined location with only you, us (the photographers) and videographer if you have one. (I heavily enforce this.)
We place the groom with his back to where his bride will be approaching. When she is ready for him to see her, she will tap him on the shoulder, and he turns to see her for the first time. We document these moments, which always result in some of the most beautiful and natural images of the day. When you are ready, we take your couples portraits, followed with the wedding party and family formals (or as many as we can prior to the ceremony). This is also a perfect time to exchange wedding presents or letters written to each other.
Nope! If you strongly believe in the tradition of not seeing each other, that is perfectly OK with me! I do not force my couples to do a First Look, but depending on the time of year and your wedding schedule, it may affect your images. But, we can talk about all of this in more detail when we discuss your wedding day schedule!
Please let me know if you have any additional questions about the First Look!