First Look

First look. pros and cons

Planning a wedding involves a myriad of decisions – budget considerations, guest lists, and the overall theme or style. While many choices are tied to finances, the question of whether to have a first look isn’t necessarily about money. There are so many opinions on first looks, the pros and cons of having one or not. This might leave you feeling a little bit on the fence about the idea. That’s why I’ve written this article to help you decide if having a first look is something to consider for your wedding.

In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about a first look. Including why they can be a great choice and alternative ideas if you decide to not have one. I’ll also share my perspective as a photographer, offering insights you may not have considered.

Should I have a first look at my wedding?

To answer the questions if you should have a first look at your wedding. First, we need to define what a first look is. A “first look” means that couples intentionally arrange a moment to see each other before the official ceremony kicks off. During this private time, couples might opt to share personal vows, exchange gifts, capture portrait photos before the ceremony, or a combination of all of these.

A first look calms the nerves

I find that so many couples say their first look served as a remedy for the wedding day jitters. It offers a moment of solace before the ceremony. Take a moment to contemplate your likely emotions during this time. Are you someone who feels nervous in the spotlight? Does your partner bring a soothing presence to your excitement? If so, a first look might be the perfect choice for you. But also, the private nature of this moment allows for a more profound expression of emotions.

A First Look Gives You More Time Together

You’ve likely heard the advice to savor every moment of your wedding day because it zooms by – and it’s spot on. That’s why lots of couples opt for a first look – it adds precious extra time to your special day. On average, a first look can gift you at least 30 minutes to 1 hour extra with your partner. And here’s a bonus: if it’s well-timed, your photographer can capture all those portrait photos before the ceremony kicks off. This means you get to fully enjoy mingling with your guests during the cocktail hour and reception without missing a beat. But there are cons to this that you may not have considered.

Alternatives to a first look

  1. Exchange letters – Keep it simple and sweet – try expressing your feelings through a letter to your partner. Arrange to meet back-to-back or at a cozy corner of your venue to share these heartfelt letters. And hey, if you’re up for it, you can even take a moment to recite your vows alone during this special time. It’s all about making it uniquely yours! 
  2. First touch – Are you all about that “touch” love language? If a comforting hug from your partner is what you need to soothe those nerves, but you’re not ready to reveal yourselves, think about using a blindfold. Your photographer or coordinator can step in to create that perfect moment for you.

A first look or first touch can be such a special and intimate time between you both on the wedding day. It’s definitely not for everyone but it’s something to consider

First touch

The Pros & Cons of portraits after a first look

Choosing to do some portraits after a first look can be a great option. But there are also some very important factors to consider. On the positive side, as I mentioned above, it allows you to spend more quality time with your guests after the ceremony and ensures that all your photos are taken care of before the ceremony. While this may sound appealing, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind.

Did you know that you don’t have to have your photos done after a first look? Consider having photos after your ceremony because a major potential downside of having your photos done after a first look is the lighting situation. Shooting in harsh, midday sun isn’t typically ideal for achieving the most flattering photos. Another important factor to consider is the bride’s dress. Understandably, she wants to keep it pristine before the ceremony, which could affect the quality of the photos or limit your choice of locations.

Based on my experience as a photographer, having a first look (or first touch) can be a fantastic option. If you opt for a first look, I would still consider scheduling the portrait photos after the ceremony. This allows the bride to worry less about keeping her dress clean and gives you more flexibility in choosing diverse and stunning locations for your photos.

Whether you decide to embrace a first look or not, your wedding day promises to overflow with emotion and happiness. The first look is just one of the many wonderful wedding traditions you might consider for your big day.

And speaking of capturing those sentimental moments, having a skilled photographer (wink wink) and/or videographer by your side is key! As someone who loves immortalising these heartfelt moments, having professionals who know how to capture these moments quickly and efficiently is key. The last thing you need is a first-look moment to feel forced, staged, and non-authentic. There’s a fine line between genuine and forced.

If you’re looking for other helpful tips during your wedding plans. Check out one of the most popular blogs I’ve written.

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