To look or not to look, that is the question! Should you do a first look before your wedding? Consider this. You’ve picked the venue, said yes to your perfect dress, eaten more wedding cake samples than you’d like to admit, hired a photographer whom you hope will capture your love story, oh, and you found your prince charming, what else do you need?
There is a vast divide between the schools of thought on the subject of doing a first look before your wedding ceremony or not. “Right wing” conservatives will bark that it’s bad luck to see each other before you’re man and wife, or your man won’t be as touched when he’s already seen you, but one of my favorites is I’m traditional, I’m having a traditional wedding and I want his breath to be taken away the moment he sees me! As they play the traditional wedding March of “Marry Me” by Train.
On the left side of the aisle you’ll hear the biggest fight for the first look to come mostly from photographers and videographers who are begging for more time to fulfill the compounded Pinterest shot list they’ve just received. While there are definite arguments from both sides whether to have a first look or not, we’ve even met some fellow photogs who won’t work with a couple unless they agree to do one, the thing we try to get our brides to look at is what experience fulfills their ultimate dream day. Granted we are about to list several reasons in support of doing a first look as well as some testimony from past clients who chose to do one, the real goal, however, is to help you as a bride and potential client consider some things you may not have thought of.
A wedding day is very busy and, to say the least, extremely stressful for all involved. Now, if you’v hired a good wedding planner and photographer, they should be good at keeping stress from the bride. She never needs to find out little Johnny threw up all over his ring bearer tux, or that the 100 year old gazebo is standing in 3 feet of mud. Her only concern is looking her best and having the day she has always wanted. Most brides still face some stress no matter how well their day is planned.
It doesn’t matter how many of your friend’s weddings you’ve been to or involved in nor does it matter how many wedding shows you’ve seen, there are things that we, wedding professionals, know to look and plan for since we do this practically every weekend. Here are some basic reasons to consider doing a first look, but also things to consider if you choose not to. We have served couples on both sides and captured beautiful love stories for both.
A First Look gives more time for pictures:
Ok this one is pretty straight forward. If you haven’t scheduled a bridal session prior to your wedding day, then the only Moments your photographer will be able to grab are the ones that fall in the time you allot him or her. If you chose not to do a first look, this dramatically limits that time. Typically, wedding ceremonies happen in the evening time between 5 to 7pm. Sometimes weddings happen mid-day, but it’s the exception to the rule. Regardless, the bride and her besties will arrive at the earliest they are allowed at the venue to start the transformation of Cinderella. Typically we strive to perform a first look at noon, which gives the bride and groom a roughly 4 to 5 hours to capture as many portraits, family pics, friends, etc. before the ceremony.
Now, any photographer worth his or her salt will tell you that you don’t need that much time to grab the special Memories that a bride will Treasure for her lifetime. While this is certainly true, there are many things that can disrupt the flow of even the most experienced, world class photographer. Makeup and hair never takes extra time, the aunts and uncles will show up exactly when scheduled to, and of course, everyone will flash the perfect pose the first time so we can move on. It’s quite simple: time is money. Let’s say you’re done by noon and you choose not to do a first look.
What are you doing to kill those 5 hours before your ceremony? True you can get all the individual pics out of the way, but like the professionals just told us, it doesn’t take that long apparently. So what are we doing? Waiting….tense, anxiety provoking, waiting. You’ve paid for this beautiful venue, which I might add is usually only booked for about an hour after the ceremony unless the reception is at the same place.
So now you’ve got to collect your things, find your ride to the reception, meet with your photog and grab as many portraits as you can before the masses start chanting for their Filet Mignon. While yes, you can have the guest start to eat while you take pictures, imagine your favorite restaurant. Now picture having to wait 2 hours to find a table. Have you gone somewhere else yet? Haha. Just consider you have those 5 hours to wait, hmm, what could you do to help ease the transition to your reception.
A First Look can take the edge off:
Most brides won’t admit to being nervous, though 99% are trembling when they walk down the aisle. We’ve had countless brides tell us of the comfort having a first look provided them.
Whitlee Peitz explains, “When planning my big day I had so much stress weighing me down. I took a lot of time making the decision to do a first look. Mainly, I took into consideration that I am very clumsy and uncoordinated. I knew that if I saw Alex for the first time while walking down the aisle I would trip. I also knew that seeing my husband would be an emotional moment and I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend that moment with a crowd of people, nor would I want that moment to be rushed by the preacher starting the ceremony.”
Sometimes that extra moment with your man is just the amount of time you need.
You’ve spent all day to look your best and you can’t wait to start this new life together. Just realize typically the first time you speak to your husband on your wedding day is during your vows. You’re feeling all these emotions and you have to follow what you’ve written. Think of intimate in can be to spend a few minutes with your prince before the big moment. It definitely lightens the load. No matter your choice, this is your day and it will be amazing! Everyone has come to help the 2 of you start a new life together. Whether you elect to have a first look or not choose a good photographer. They will go out of their way to capture your love story as they can.
No one should pressure you into doing something you don’t really want. The main thing is to consider all the angles and make a decision that is best for you. Then your love story will be unique and your fairytale wedding be everything you dreamed it would be.