5 Reasons To Do A First Look

It’s no secret that wedding days can be chaotic. Planner or no planner, tight timeline or all the time in the world, 15 bridesmaids or 5 bridesmaids…it all has an impact on the day’s schedule and how smoothly (or not smoothly!) everything runs. But perhaps the biggest factor in how your wedding day is scheduled is whether or not you have a first look. Let’s take a look at 5 reasons to do a first look from a professional photographer’s perspective.

1. you’ll have double the opportunity for raw, emotional photos

One reason I’ve heard couples say they don’t want to do a first look is that they’re scared it will make seeing each other walk down the aisle during the ceremony less special. And let me just tell you…this is never the case! Despite the fact that you’ve already seen each other, there’s still SO MUCH emotion when you see each other again as you’re walking down the aisle. Both moments are uniquely tender, and having twice the photos is always a bonus.

2. it calms everyone’s nerves

Once you’ve seen each other, you’re much more relaxed, happy, and mellowed out. That suspense is over, and now you’re free to relax and enjoy the rest of your time leading up to the ceremony.

3. you’ll be able to take all of your formal pictures before the ceremony

Once you and your partner have seen each other, it frees everyone up to go ahead and do family pictures and wedding party pictures. This is particularly important for evening ceremonies! If the ceremony ends after sunset, and you haven’t done a first look, that means all of your family pictures and wedding party pictures will have to be taken inside. If you’re hiring a photographer who specializes in off camera flash and studio-style portraiture then this isn’t a problem. But if you’re hiring a photographer like me, we prefer that yummy, dreamy, natural light. And as a bonus, if you take all your photos before the ceremony… (see #4)

4. you won’t have to keep your guests waiting at the reception

Without a first look, you’re forced to take all of your formal portraits immediately following the ceremony. If you have a large family and/or wedding party, and if couples portraits are important to you (I hope they are!), then it will take AT LEAST an hour to finish everything. Having a cocktail hour is definitely a solution, but even that’s not long enough to truly dedicate quality time to your photos. And the longer you’re away from the reception, the more rushed you’ll inevitably feel to wrap things up and not keep your guests waiting.

5. you’ll be able to set aside time for sunset couples portraits

If you’ve gotten all the other pictures taken care of BEFORE the ceremony, that frees you up to take a few minutes of couples portraits immediately AFTER the ceremony, when (again, depending on what time the ceremony is) that jaw-dropping golden hour has arrived. Or if you missed sunset, or if you took your couples portraits when you had your first look, then it frees you up to head straight into your reception and not spend any time away from your guests.

your day, your way

At the end of the day, this is YOUR wedding. If waiting to see each other until you’re walking down the aisle feel super important to you, then stick with your gut! A professional, experienced photographer will be able to work with whatever you want. If you’re still unsure, talk it over with your photographer and/or wedding planner to see what will work best for your specific needs.

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