The Benefit of Having a First Look

August 21, 2019

First look or Not?  How to decide if it’s for you.

It’s finally here.  Your wedding day.  The day you have dreamed of since childhood.  Or at least the last year while you have been busy planning all the wonderful little details.  The day when you will marry your best friend surrounded by family and friends.

Unfortunately, that is the part that tends to overwhelm couples.  Each moment you will be completely and utterly surrounded.  (Yes, by well wishers and loved ones each excited to congratulate and share in this wonderful experience) But what about some alone time?  A quiet moment for you to just breathe?

Your wedding day is a whirlwind of activity from the minute you wake, to your last kiss goodnight as a newly married couple.  It will be a roller coaster ride with a long list of to do’s, appointments, (I am talking hair and make-up) and trying your best to keep on track so you arrive on time.  (Yep, I have seen many bride’s late for their own wedding)

If you are a people person and thrive in that bubbly, sorority type environment of female bonding rituals, your adrenaline and spirits may rise like the temperature on a sticky Southern Florida summer day.  But, if you are the type of person who craves some alone time and those quiet minutes of solitude and self reflection, what are you going to do?

One of the most intimate moments you can have on your wedding day is a First Look.

What the heck is a First Look you say?  Well, simply put it is a quiet, private moment between you and your soon to be spouse prior to walking down the aisle.

Private time in a crowd

One major benefit of having a first look is this will be the ONLY time you and your spouse will be alone and away from all those adoring watchful eyes your entire wedding day.  It is the opportunity to express true, authentic, unchecked emotion.  To experience the awe and overwhelming adoration and love, one on one.   To have some private time amidst all the pomp and circumstance.  This is where you will see his or her reaction, to feel the moment, up close and personal.  To share quiet words of love.  Excitement.  And anticipation.

Opens up time for intimate couple’s portraits

Part of the craziness on a wedding day is trying to fit it all in.  You want to experience each and every moment without feeling stressed or rushed.  By opting for a First Look, you will gain valuable time later in the day.  Where traditionally, bridal portraits happen in the hour between the ceremony and the reception (During the guests cocktail hour). It is a mad rush to get all the images captured during that small amount of time. By participating in  first look, your photographer may then capture your images earlier in the day directly after this precious moment.  Most wedding photographer’s will stage the first look by selecting a private location, and have the Groom awaiting the arrival of the Bride.  The photographer will stand back at a distance and document this emotional meeting for you.  Once you are ready, the photographer will then move in and begin capturing couple’s portraits.

If you want to take part in your cocktail hour, have a large bridal party, have travel time from your ceremony to reception site, a first look may be for you because otherwise these are the times when bridal party portraits and family portraits normally take place.

The standard is an hour between the end of the ceremony to the couple’s Grand Entrance.  Most guests expect the “cocktail hour” to mingle and enjoy the Hors d’oeuvre’s.  Any longer than this and your guests will start to get bored and antsy, especially if you will NOT be serving refreshments and something to eat.  Face it, your guests will be hungry at this point and having Hors-D’oeuvre’s waiting for them will tide them over till the main course is served.

A First Look does not detract from the “moment”

You may be thinking no way, I do not want my fiancee to see me before I walk down the aisle.  Some tend to think having a first look will detract from the moment, where somehow it will not be as special or emotional.  After experiencing many wedding days, I find the opposite to be true.

The first look provides time to get emotional and take it all in.  When you are walking up the aisle or standing there watching your loved one approach, the emotions will still be there.  The anticipation and excitement.  I think of it as a sneak peek or little taste of what’s to come.

Many couples who participate in a first look write letters to one another and I will deliver them to the other right before the ceremony is about to start while they are waiting to line up.  Notes say:  Meet ya at the alter, See you in a few when we say I do, and other cute or meaningful sayings.

First Touch in place of a first look

If you are adamant you do not want a first look, there is also something called the first touch you may participate in.  This is where the couple stand on on opposite sides of a door, wall or other obstruction and reach their hands out to “touch” and exchange a few words before the ceremony.  Of course this is still emotional, but the benefits of having your couple’s portraits captured ahead of time is lost.

I hope this article has been helpful in your decision to have a first look.  For us photographers, we adore them!










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