When we begin working on the timeline for the bride + groom’s special day we always ask the question, are you going to do a first look? Some couples know exactly if they want to or not, but others ask “Should we do a first look?” There are many factors that go into choosing if you’d like to do a first look, some logistical and some traditional. If you are on the fence whether you and your sweet heart should do one before the big “i do,” read on to get the oh so talented Rachel Havel’s perspective on first looks. Although, this decision is ultimately up to the couple, it is always helpful to hear from the pros!
“This is a topic that comes up often with my couples and can really make or break the flow of your wedding day if not properly considered. I’ve really seen all sorts of scenarios with and without a firstlook, so I’d love to shed some light from a photographer’s perspective on this subject.
Lets start by explaining what a first look is. Simply speaking, it is a time that you set aside before the wedding ceremony to see each other. This is a private setting where there is no audience outside of your photographer and videographer.
So why have a first look? There are a number of benefits to choosing to have a first look. So, let’s explore them.
Connectedness. One of my favorite parts of a first look is that it’s just you and your groom. You’ve finally made it to the wedding day. After months of extensive planning, the day has arrived and there’s so much anticipation and joy happening inside of you. The first look allows you a moment to press pauseand just be together. Alone. You get to actually embrace each other, say what is on your heart, and reflecton the day to come. You don’t have to wait until the ceremony and portraits to finish to feel like you can finally catch your breath and have a moment together.
Time with guests. This is one of the most pressing reasons that couple’s choose a first look. After your first look, you will move directly into portraits with your groom, followed by bridal party and family portraits. By completing these photos before the ceremony, you free up time afterwards to actually be a part of the cocktail hour and spend more time with your guests. Imagine, you get to actually taste all those yummy h’ordeuvres you picked out.
Stress Reliever. There’s something to be said about walking into such an important event hand in hand with the love of your life. The ceremony is often the pinnacle of your wedding day and can be the largest cause of anxiety. When a couple chooses a first look, there is a legitimate change in the air. There’s a sigh of relief and the anxiety melts away. At this moment, you are facing the day together.
All that being said, I totally understand that some couples really want to cling on to the traditional element of not seeing each other before the ceremony. Oftentimes I hear that the biggest concern, really, is the fear of losing that emotional moment of when you first see each other down the aisle. However, what I have seen time and time again, is that the first look actually creates an extra moment for you that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. As for that moment down the aisle, it still happens because it’s still the moment that your lives are being joined together forever.
So should you have a first look? Well, the reality is that there is no straight forward answer to this questions. What you first need to unearth is the answer to another more important question.
What kind of experience do you want your guests to have? Allow yourself to really envision the day from your guest’s perspective and what you hope they feel as they participate in your wedding. Equipped with this answer, you’ll be able to tackle, not only the question of a first look, but you’ll be able to utilize this clarity throughout the planning process. Ultimately, your wedding day is really about celebrating your new legacy with the friends and family that you love deeply, by creating a welcoming and comfortable environment that makes them feel special.”