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First Looks: Should you do one?

Advice for brides

May 21, 2017


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I know, I know… you’ve heard it over and over again, in every bridal magazine and from every vendor you work with. Are you doing a first look? It’s becoming one of the most polarizing questions for those planning a wedding, with brides firmly in one camp or the other. There aren’t many wandering through the grey space with this decision.

For many brides, this question prompts several others. To start, what is a first look? What are the benefits of doing one? Why shouldn’t you do one? When would you fit it into your already crazy day? And why the heck to all of the bridal blogs tell you that you “absolutely have to do a first look”? (HINT: It’s totally up to you.)

That’s right. It’s up to you. I bet you thought this post was going to be another piece persuading you to go in one direction or another. And guess what, ladies? That’s just not how I roll. Above all else when planning your big day, I want you to remember one thing. This is YOUR day. Not mine, not your florists, not your caterer’s… and not even your planners (although, you should really listen to their advice) 🙂 It’s your big day. The day you’ve likely been dreaming of your entire life. If you have dreams of walking down the aisle and surprising your groom, then don’t waiver from that. On the flip side, if you dream of having that intimate moment together and spending even more time with your groom on that monumental day, then maybe a first look is something to consider. Either way, make it about you.

Need to know the deets about this pesky decision? Look no further. 

What is a first look? 

Excellent question. So basically, a first look is a moment dedicated to you and your groom, and no one else. Once you’re finished getting ready, I will set up a location and bring your groom out (eyes closed, obviously) to see you for the first time. It’s a moment that the two of you get to have alone, apart from the craziness of the day that is about to ensue. AND, it creates gorgeous photos, but that shouldn’t be a surprise.

What are the benefits of doing one?

When you decide to do a first look with your groom, you’re expanding the amount of time that you get to spend with each other on your big day. See, weddings go by incredibly fast. I can attest to this firsthand. And typically, ceremonies begin in the early to late afternoon. That means that you may be spending the entire morning and afternoon hiding from the one person this day is all about — your other half. By seeing each other before the ceremony, you’re allowing yourself hours more together on one of the biggest days of your life, a day that is already going to fly by.

Another huge benefit from a photography perspective is having the ability to get all of your bridal party + bride and groom portraits done before the ceremony even begins. If you’re planning a cocktail hour after your ceremony and you want to actually be a part of the party, you can do that with a first look since all of your photos will be done already. (Disclaimer: I will still drag you outside at sunset, because… obviously) 🙂

But what about tradition? 

Exactly. This is the part where I’m always torn. And to be honest, ladies… if I were planning my own wedding (which we all know is not happening right now), I would never do a first look. Why? Tradition! I can’t help it. I’m a girl that is so in love with the tradition of a wedding day and that moment when you enter the church and your groom is seeing you truly for the first time as a bride is engrained in my head. Personally, I just would’t want to change that. That being said, everyone is different, and every individual couple is going to have their own opinion about tradition and making their day their own. To be honest, my favorite weddings to photograph are the ones that are all about the couple. When you make your wedding your own, just about the two of you, you’re sure to have a day you remember (no matter what you decide!).

So is having a first look going to totally change my timeline? 

Yes and no. It’s usually very easy to create a time in your day to do this if you’re thinking a first look is right for you! BUT, it will change some things. Most notably, you’ll sort of be reversing the order of your photos. When a couple chooses to do a first look, they then have the opportunity to have all of their bridal party photos taken before the wedding ceremony. So, instead of leaving the ceremony and filling the time between the ceremony and reception with photos, you can instead go to your cocktail hour (or go bar hopping… am I right?). We’ll still usually have family photos immediately following the ceremony, but you’ll then be free to enjoy time with family and friends.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re going to do a first look is to have your hair and makeup done with enough time, and to make sure you have your photographer show u pearly enough to capture everything.

So, what are your opinions to this polarizing question? Will you break tradition and see your groom before the ceremony? I’m dying to hear what you think!

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I'm Jessica and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our business, lives, travels, and more. Stay a while and say hello!

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