What is a first look?
A “first look” is when a couple sees each other before their wedding ceremony on their wedding day. It’s a newer wedding tradition that is becoming more popular as time passes, and is utilised as a private moment for the couple to share together before being surrounded by friends and family.
Should you plan a first look?
The question that everyone is dying to know.
I’ll be honest here when I say that a first look is not for everybody but some couples do wish to do it for many awesome reasons!
I will say that it is totally dependent on what you both want — make the decision that is best for you two and try to not let anyone sway your minds or pressure you into deciding what is best for you.
What would I typically do in a decision like this? Make a pros and cons list! So grab a piece of paper and a pen or a pencil, and let’s get to it!
ADVANTAGES OF A FIRST LOOK
- ALONE TIME — You’ll get to spend alone time solely with each other before seeing everyone else, and you won’t have anyone else right next to you (except the photographer to capture your genuine moments) watching your every move, or guests sitting there taking photos on their phone. It’s a great way to slow down and bask in the private time that you get to share with each other before continuing on with the festivities of being surrounded by your loved ones.
- CALM YOUR NERVES — Weddings can be nerve-racking! Especially if you don’t like being the centre of attention or being in a crowd of people. A first look is one way that can calm your nerves with your other half before the ceremony — help each other relax, do breathing exercises with each other, give each other pep talks….who better to help you be calm than each other? You’ll be calmer and more present during your ceremony.
- TIME TO FRESHEN UP — if you think you’re going to be an emotional mess when you see each other for the first time, you’ll be able to freshen up your makeup that probably took hours to apply!
- MORE TIME FOR PORTRAITS — More than likely, you’ll be able to have more time for portraits of the two of you. If you wait until cocktail hour, we’ve only got about 45 minutes to an hour to shoot all the family formals, your portraits with each other, and probably your wedding party photos.
- WON’T MISS COCKTAIL HOUR! — While we are on the topic of cocktail hour, you might even have an opportunity to join in the cocktail hour festivities if you decide to have your couples portraits (first look) and family portraits done before the cocktail hour!
- RECOMMENDED FOR WINTER WEDDINGS — Having your wedding during a time of the year where it gets dark early? Having your portraits (first look) done before your ceremony means more daylight to take amazing natural light photos of yourselves.
- YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER WILL HAVE A BETTER OPPORTUNITY TO GET LOVELY PHOTOS OF YOU BOTH — Having a first look means that you’re having more alone time with your photographer to be able to capture those genuine moments of just the two of you.
DISADVANTAGES OF A FIRST LOOK
- GET UP EARLIER — Chances are that you might have to get up and get ready earlier.
- YOUR LOVED ONES WON’T BE APART OF YOU BOTH SEEING EACH OTHER FOR THE FIRST TIME — Some couples are OK with this, and others are not. Some members of your family may especially feel like they are missing out on an important moment.
- BREAKING TRADITION — Those that tend to not choose to do a first look, usually make this decision because they want to stick to tradition. If you really envision yourself waiting to see each other until the wedding ceremony, then go with your gut feeling!
- MAY LOSE OUT ON TIME — If anything prior to the first look is running behind, then you’ll lose out on that time of having portraits together.
- RISK YOUR DRESS GETTING DIRTY — Know that it might get a little dirty. If you chose to do your first look somewhere like a secluded garden, park, woods, etc. you definitely run the risk of your dress getting a bit dirty on the bottom (but I do promise to help keep your dress clean as much as possible!). But if you don’t mind getting a bit of dirt on you then a first look is definitely a great option!
AN ALTERNATE IDEA: The “First Touch” session.
This is where you both simply hold hands around the corner of a wall or a door so that you are near each other and can touch and feel each other without actually seeing each other before your wedding ceremony. I’ve seen couples that do this while talking to each other to calm each other’s nerves down, and I’ve also seen couples do this while reading handwritten letters to each other.
No matter what the decision is that you make, make sure you make a decision that is best for you both that you both agree on. What is important is that at the end of the day, you’ll be marrying your best friend and partner in life.
Happy planning, and feel free to email me with any questions that you might have about planning your first look!