Is a First Look For You?
Updated: Apr 23
The modern wedding-industry famous trend: first looks. In case you're not sure what a "first look" is, I will tell ya. It's simply seeing your future spouse before the wedding ceremony, rather than partaking in the traditional act of seeing each other at the ceremony (such as when the bride is walking down the aisle toward the groom).
I am one of the few photographer's who is not always in favor of a first look, and here's why.
There are definitely pros and cons to doing a first look. In fact, there's probably more pros generally. But one major con I have come to find is enough to rule out all the pros:
You are doing a first look only for the schedule of the day, and nothing more - and you don't even want to do one.
Now then, this con is obviously based on feelings and opinions, and nothing to do with facts regarding your wedding day. We can argue back and forth all day about if first looks are "good" or not. Personally, I love them for all the pros:
- private and intimate
- make for a relaxed and easy wedding day timeline/schedule
- your hair and makeup and overall attire is fresh and you look your best
There are some other reasons that doing a first look is so great on your wedding day, and I support any brides and grooms who want to do one. But I have to be honest...my heart breaks when my brides and grooms feel like they absolutely have to see each other before the ceremony for the sake of their schedule, but don't actually want to do this.
Many people are in favor of the traditional trend of waiting to see each other at the ceremony. I personally am a photographer who is getting married in August of 2020, and my fiancé and I are waiting till the ceremony to see each other.
There is something so important for me to note about this:
We built the schedule of our day around our pictures.
Yes yes I know, I'm a photographer so "of course I would do this". But hear me out - if you are hiring a professional photographer and want bridal party photos as well as photos of just you and your spouse, you need to keep the pictures in mind when building a schedule.
I am going to share our day of schedule for our Saturday wedding. We have a separate ceremony site from our reception hall - this is not ideal to some people, including myself, but we made sure the drive was 20 minutes or less (18 minutes to be exact, lol). So for anyone with a ceremony and reception at the same location, you can still apply this schedule and make it even shorter (which is nice, and I'll show you why).
DAY OF TIMELINE
2:00pm - 3:00pm GETTING READY
3:15pm - 3:45pm BRIDE & BRIDESMAIDS PHOTOS | GROOM & GROOMSMEN PHOTOS -
4:00pm - 4:30pm RELAX :)
4:30pm - 5:00pm CEREMONY
5:00pm - 5:40pm FAMILY PHOTOS
5:40pm - 6:20pm BRIDAL PARTY & BRIDE & GROOM PORTRAITS *5:40pm-5:55pm whole bridal party, 5:55pm-6:25pm just bride & groom
6:30pm LEAVE FOR RECEPTION
6:50pm ARRIVE AT RECEPTION & FRESHEN UP
7:00pm GRAND ENTRANCE
Dinner served by 7:15/7:20pm
As you can see, we will have enough time for photos of just ourselves, ourselves with our bridal party, and us as a couple. All together, there is 70 minutes for pictures before the reception. We also plan on doing sunset photos if the weather allows, or indoor photos at the venue if the weather is bad (after dinner).
We will be getting ready on site of the ceremony location, and doing bridal party photos on site as well. If you are getting ready elsewhere, just incorporate the drive times to your ceremony site. Keep the same thought if you are taking photos elsewhere too.
Now then - if the ceremony, reception, and bridal party photos are all (or even just two of these things) at the same location, you can save "drive time" for more photos, or relaxing, OR start dinner earlier.
Some thing to keep in mind that many people do not like to accept, is that you can schedule the ceremony as early or late as you'd like (assuming your venue allows you to do this) in order to have time for a first look or avoid a first look.
All this to say - your day is YOUR day. Have a first look if you want that private moment together! Have one if you are indifferent about the subject, and embrace a relaxed schedule for your wedding. Don't have one if you are set on that traditional moment down the aisle.