When we were planning episodes for the podcast, we realized that Dan and Sara have never sat down and talked with you about photography! This entire time, it’s a topic we haven’t hit. So, today, our producer Dan is going to be Sara’s co-host and we’re going to talk about first looks! We want to discuss how to know if you should have a first look or not. This episode is the first of our little mini-series about wedding photography, so let’s dive in!
What is a first look?
A first look is basically a reveal. You and your soon-to-be-spouse see each other before the ceremony. When we think of the traditional wedding day, couples don’t see each other before the ceremony so that’s what makes it different than a classic wedding day.
Why should you have a first look?
One of the main reasons for choosing to do a first look is so that you can adjust your wedding day timeline. Choosing to have a first look will flip your timeline and it will look something like: Getting ready, first look, family portraits, ceremony and so on. A traditional timeline would be more like getting ready, ceremony, family portraits, reception and so on. With a first look, it’s more likely that you’ll have extra time for portraits pre-ceremony but that you’ll also be able to join your cocktail hour and your guests earlier! Of course, first looks can also calm anxiety and the stress of the day, too!
How do couples decide?
When we speak with couples when they go to book, it’s one of the questions we ask. Some couples know right away how they feel about it. Others will ask our opinion as their photographer. Typically if they know the ceremony is super important to them, like a church ceremony, it’s not likely they’ll do a first look. Oftentimes they’ve imagined that grand entrance and reaction so that’s a reason they won’t do a first look. But – as photographers in this area for many, many years, we want to tell you a first look will NOT take away from that moment. No matter what you choose, we understand and will work with you to make your timeline the way you want!
Who is a first look for?
Typically, we see first looks between our couples. But, there’s also some other fun options! We’ve outlined a lot of ideas in THIS POST, but let’s break down a few more first look ideas now, too. Remember, a first look is really about a reveal. So you could do one with your bridesmaids! It would be fun for them to see you in your gown, hair, and makeup for the first time. Maybe through a doorway or on a staircase. It’s so much fun. It doesn’t take a lot of time in your timeline, either!
We also do something similar for brides and their dads. Many times the brides will keep their dress and full bridal look a secret from him, so they have a first look to show their dad everything together. The genuine reaction of these parents is just incredible! We’ve seen them smile, cry, and everything in between. It’s such a sweet moment. Now remember, you can do first looks with whoever you want! So maybe it will be your mom, your brothers or sisters, uncles, grandfathers or grandmothers. Seriously: make it your own!
How do you know where to do a first look?
Good news! Once you know you want to do a first look, there’s not really much else you need to worry about. Our team will figure out the best time and location for your first look. There’s some great spots in every venue – from staircases to big doorways to outside on patios… the list is endless. But it’s part of our job to figure out what will work best for your first look! And honestly, a first look is less about where it is and more about capturing those genuine reactions.
What else should you consider when planning a first look?
First and foremost, you need to consider the time of year you’re getting married. If you’re getting married after daylight savings starts, you need to almost always have a first look. The light just disappears so quickly and that means outdoor photos really can only be before your ceremony. Otherwise, we’ll have to be inside. Not to mention, it gets cold once that sun goes down!
Another thing to consider is where you might want to go for your portraits. When you do a first look, you free up the time in your timeline after the ceremony because we’ve not only captured some of your portraits but we’ve also photographed your families and bridal party already! That means after your ceremony, we could go to another location for more portraits of you two. Or you could simply have a breather that’s just you TWO before joining your guests. When you forgo a first look, there’s a lot of portraits to cram into the time between your ceremony and reception. Taking time to go 15 minutes down the road to park turns into an hour. Trust us. And you’ll almost always miss your cocktail hour that way.
Does having a first look take away the emotional moment walking down the aisle?
No! We want to reassure you, though, that if you do a first look, that moment is not any less emotional because it’s still your wedding day!! You can never replace that moment, no matter what you decide. Not to mention, it’s not just your spouse seeing you for the first time. There’s still a huge wow factor for your guests, your family, and your friends.
What’s the domino effect of a first look?
First looks often result in what we call “the domino effect” on your wedding day. When we’re able to take all of those photos before your ceremony, there’s less you have to squeeze in during cocktail hour. That means as a couple, you can attend cocktail hour. There, you can greet your guests and say hello… which means during dinner, you can actually EAT the meal you so carefully chose! And, then, you can get on the dance floor and party the night away without having to be pulled away. Isn’t that incredible?
No matter what you decide to do – first look or keep things more traditional – we’re here for you as your wedding photographers. We’ll work with you to keep the day flowing as easily as we can. You’ll get ready, get married, and do your photos because that’s our job and we can’t wait to make your wedding day incredible!
Links Mentioned in the Episode
You can find more information on first looks in THIS BLOG!
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