When meeting with brides and hearing about their plans for their wedding day, the question of when to schedule time for photos always arises. There are two options. 1.) The groom first sees the bride when she walks down the aisle, and photos are taken after the wedding. OR 2.) They schedule time for an intimate “First Look”, and photos can be taken before the wedding!
As a photographer, I see so many benefits of having a first look. But also, I have seen the benefits first hand by being in so many weddings. I have been a bridesmaid 8 times. Yes, 8! Holy Bridesmaid dresses. Anyways, the benefits of a first look are seriously endless and they really set the tone for the wedding day. Let me explain to you how it works, and why it works.
The First Look is done before the ceremony to ensure ample time for photos. The groom (or bride, if she prefers) is placed in a beautiful location and told to wait for their spouse. Normally, the groom’s back is turned and the bride is able to get into place before he turns around to see her, or she can always walk up and tap him on the shoulder, give him a hug, or call out his name. The moment is usually intimate, but some couples prefer to have family and friends watching from a distance.
Unless requested by my clients, I always shoot with an assistant. This means that I have 2 views of this moment. There are sometimes tears, lots of smiling, and plenty of priceless moments to capture. Some of my FAVORITE photos that I have taken are from the first look and portrait time following.
Here are just SOME of the reasons that I think make a First Look one of the BEST decisions on a wedding day.
1.) You get the opportunity to soak in the moments of the wedding day as they unfold. You know the phrase “time flies when you are having fun”? Well, on a wedding day, time zooms by. This day that you have spent months preparing for and planning is really only 24 hours long. Taking time for a first look allows the bride and groom at least some time together to take photos and to enjoy each other. This also means that we have time to be creative with the photos. Maybe even walk to a few locations around the venue, and definitely be creative in our posing. Also, if the groom wants you to twirl in your dress so he can tell you how fabulous you look, YOU CAN! If he wants to give you a hug and tell you how much he loves you, that is totally fine! The first look allows you time to really soak in the moment, and the day.
2.) Walking Down the Aisle is still Special. No matter what people say, when a bride walks down the aisle, I almost always tear up. And so does the groom. Regardless of whether or not the bride and groom have seen each other a few hours before, that moment when the doors open and the groom sees his bride walking down the aisle, IS EMOTIONAL!
3.) You get to enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. Instead of trying to bust a move between the ceremony and reception to take photos, you are able to spend time with the family and friends who have traveled from all over and chat with them during cocktail hour.
4.) 100% of my brides who have done a first look said that it made them feel LESS stressed about the rest of the day. A wedding day is FULL of emotions. It is one of the biggest days of your life, and it is okay to be feeling a million emotions at once. When a bride and groom see each other before, it gives them an opportunity to breathe. They are reminded what is important about the day, each other.
The following 2 photos were taken by my assistant, Kyle. But it just shows how great it is to capture these moments from 2 angles!
Life is beautiful.