I personally love capturing first looks as a wedding photographer & videographer and they are often some of the most special and intimate moments of the entire day! But I also know they are not for everyone and I think it’s important to consider your options instead of letting someone else make that decision for you.
The ‘first look’ is a modern wedding trend which bucks the tradition of seeing each other down the aisle and instead allows for a private moment when you meet before the actual wedding ceremony. Typically it is followed by portraits– either with your bridal party & family, just the two of you, or both. This allows you to get a leg up on your wedding day timeline. The alternative is usually waiting until after the ceremony, during your cocktail hour, to capture those photos.
Many of my brides and grooms often ask me for my take on whether or not they should have a first look during their wedding day. While I appreciate my couples looping me in and asking for my input, I always like to put it back on them because I don’t feel like it’s a “one size fits all” type of thing.
Here are two important things to think about in order to decide if a first look is right for YOU!
The first thing to think about is your wedding day timeline and what time your ceremony will take place. Traditionally, most couples take family portraits & couples portraits after the ceremony during their cocktail hour. However if you are having a sunset wedding ceremony and it will be dark out by the time it’s over, then having a first look may be the best option for you so that you are not taking photos in the dark. Granted if you want to take photos after sunset we can make it happen! It’s just important to be aware of the difference between portraits taken in natural sunlight versus photos captured in the dark with flash so that you know what to expect. Otherwise having a first look might be your best choice so that we can capture some beautiful and romantic photos before the ceremony!
Aside from that, if you are not doing a full hour of cocktail or if you want to attend your cocktail hour then it may also make sense to do a first look in order to accommodate your timeline without sacrificing valuable portrait time.
You know yourselves best! If you are the type of person that gets very nervous or anxious, then I recommend a first look to help calm your nerves before you walk down the aisle. There’s nothing quite as comforting as being with your honey, so seeing them in advance can be just what you need to keep you from totally losing it!
Also if you are the type of couple that loves to talk or ask questions, then a first look may be ideal since you won’t really get to speak to each other until after the ceremony! Not to mention having that intimate moment just the two of you away from the chaos to talk and soak it in can be priceless.
On the other hand, if what you have always dreamed of is your future spouse locking eyes with you down the aisle for the first time (especially if your fiance is the emotional type!) then a first look may NOT be for you. Also if you are both very traditional then I probably wouldn’t recommend it as having a first look is a modern trend.
If you still want a private moment just the two of you then consider a first touch which you can do behind a door or around a corner so you can have a sweet emotional moment together without seeing one another!
Author: Elle Baez, Orlando wedding photographer and wannabe Salsa dancer