Should we do a First Look? {Wedding Planning Advice}

Are you planning your wedding day timeline and wondering if you should do a first look? It’s probably the decision that effects your wedding day timeline the most.  In this blog post I will give you all the pros and cons of doing a first look so you can make the best decision for you and your wedding. There is no right answer. We will start off with the basic facts and I will give you my personal thoughts at the end.

What’s a first look, anyway?

If you are like many couples you have never heard of a first look until you started planning your wedding.  A first look is a somewhat choreographed moment for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony.  Pretty simple, right?

Bride coming down stairs for her first look at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal 6 Reasons to do a First Look

1. The biggest reason couples choose do a a first look is get the formal pictures done before the ceremony.  That way when the ceremony is over you can just relax and have fun at your reception. You don’t have to stop and refocus on all the formal family pictures.

2. You have more time for pictures. By doing them before the ceremony we aren’t limited to cocktail hour to get all the formal pictures done. More time means more pictures and most likely a greater variety.

3. Your guests don’t have to wait while you take pictures after the ceremony. It’s pretty tough to get all the pictures done during cocktail hour which means your guests might have to wait a little bit longer for you to return.

4. You might be more relaxed during the ceremony.  Some couples say seeing their fiancé before the ceremony helped them to be more calm and relaxed in the moments before and during the ceremony.

5. It’s less risky. You have extra time built into the timeline in case things run late.

6. You will look your best for pictures.  You will be minutes removed from hair and makeup and be looking flawless instead of doing pictures an hour or so later after the ceremony.

Groom Looks lovingly at his bride during their first look.

3 Reasons you shouldn’t do a First Look

1. You have always dreamed of that moment as the bride is walking down the aisle.  It just seems wrong to see each other before the ceremony.

2. You will look your best during the ceremony. Taking pictures before the ceremony likely means that you are walking around in your dress, often outdoors.  It’s possible your dress could get a little dirty.  Not doing a first look means you will be fresh out of hair and makeup right before the ceremony.

3. It’s possible you will look and be more relaxed  for pictures AFTER the ceremony. Some couples just can’t get fully relaxed until the ceremony is over.  Maybe you are worried about messing up your vows or tripping as you come down the aisle.  Many couples can’t relax until that monkey is off their back. If that’s you, you should consider NOT doing a first look.

Groom adores his bride as she walks down the aisle.Groom is emotional as bride comes down the aisle

My thoughts…

If you are looking for me to say one way is better than the other you are going to be disappointed. If you have always dreamed of going the traditional route, do it.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you won’t get great pictures if you don’t do a first look.  Over the years I have gotten great results with both options. If you are worried about your guests waiting too long I am used to working quickly during cocktail hour and am usually able to get most everything done in an hour or so especially if we are going to do a sunset session.

I love doing first looks too!  There is an anticipation to them that is awesome.  Yes, it’s more controlled but that doesn’t mean it’s any less meaningful or authentic.  Oh, and First Looks with the father of the bride are awesome too!

To sum up there is no right or wrong answer. It’s going to be different for everyone and you need to make the best choice for you and your wedding day. The good news is can get amazing images with both approaches.

If you have any questions about this topic or any other don’t hesitate to reach out to me.