Let me just start this by saying, I was a bride too. I understand that everyone will be telling you what you should do on your wedding day. In the end, it comes down to you and the man you can’t wait to spend your life with. Just remember one thing, It’s YOUR wedding day.
**If you are having a ceremony that's early in the day (12pm-3:30pm) or a Catholic wedding, we generally don't do a first look due to time limits before the ceremony. Catholic weddings tend to have a two hour time gap before cocktail hour giving us time to capture beautiful and natural portraits
I would love to shed a little light and help you to decide whether or not a first look is for you! Here are some of the reasons why we highly encourage, but don’t force a first look.
1. You get a chance to have a private moment with each other before the madness of the day takes over.
If you don’t see one another before the ceremony, you could easily spend your whole wedding day without getting a chance to talk with the most important person in your life. The first look is my favorite part of a wedding day. We walk around the venue shooting portraits of just the two of you.
2. Getting rid of the stress and pre-wedding jitters so you can both take in and enjoy every moment. It’s nice to be able to have a calm moment before all the wedding theatrics
3. More Pictures! – Doing a first look allows the photographer to get lots of fun and romantic pictures of just the two of you. We can get all of your formal portraits out of the way before the ceremony so that you are free to truly enjoy your day with your loved ones. Most brides don't wants to miss an hour of their reception/ cocktail hour! It's no secret that brides who do a first look will receive more images. It gives us the time we need to get creative, and get those beautiful, natural photos of the two of you without feeling rushed.
4. You'll look your best! Doing a first look allows for photos right after hair and makeup when you are looking your best! I can’t tell you how many weddings our couples have regretted not doing a first look because their hair has fallen, their dress got ripped while greeting guests, getting sweaty during the outdoor ceremony, or a spilling wine during communion before a single photo was taken of the couple together. Also keep in mind that if you are doing an outdoor ceremony - You will be standing outside for possibly 30 minutes and starting to sweat and it’s better to take photos prior.
I can honestly say that doing a first look doesn't take away from the moment seeing each other as you walk down the aisle. We still see the tears from our couples who have done a first look...we just aren't worrying about smeared mascara because we've gotten so many beautiful photos prior.
If really want to wait to see each other, that’s ok too, just plan your wedding earlier in the day so that there is at least 2 hours of daylight post-ceremony for your portraits. My husband and I didn't do a first look before our ceremony, so I respect the decision to keep things traditional. I will say that if I could do it all over again, that I would have chosen to do a first look. It would have made our day much more relaxed and enjoyable.
If you've decided not to do a first look, you will need to schedule an extended cocktail hour or time gap between the ceremony and reception to allow for a minimum of 1 hour and 15 minutes for pictures. Also, please note that you will need to stick to the 7 traditional family groupings provided in the questionnaire.
I hope that I have given you the information you need to make the decision that is best for YOU and your groom to be! If you need help planning your timeline, Check out
Wedding Timeline Tips and Tricks!