First Look: Is it Worth it?

At almost every wedding consult I do, I ask my couples if they plan on doing a first look. A good portion usually tell me, “I’m not sure! We’re on the fence.” So often couples want the traditional first look, seeing each other as the bride walks down the aisle for the first time - the moment they’ve dreamed about since they were little. I TOTALLY get that! In fact, that was always my vision too. But now that I’m engaged, and have experienced so many weddings over the years, I can say with confidence that I 100% want a first look with my future husband before the wedding ceremony. Because of the crazy amount of weddings I have shot over the past 7 years, I have been fortunate enough to experience first hand the benefits of a first look.

Today, I’m going to share with you my 5 reasons WHY it could benefit your day too.

1.) Getting to enjoy cocktail hour

Okay THIS is a big one. You’ve just paid all of this money for your wedding day - the beautiful venue, the amazing food, and do you remember when you had the tastings with your caterer and you sampled those delicious fried mac and cheese bites!? You can actually enjoy your FULL cocktail hour without having to worry about doing anymore portraits during this time. Without a first look, your bridal party photos, family photos and bride and groom photos would typically take place during this hour. Bye bye fried mac and cheese bites.

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2.) The privacy of seeing each other without the audience

This was one of the biggest reasons for why I chose this plan. For those brides and grooms who tremble at the thought of having 150 pairs of eyes on you, this one is for you. It’s a little nerve wracking enough just walking down the aisle with all attention on you, but knowing that your guests are also peering over at your groom to see what his reaction will be to seeing you for the first time while you’re at it… talk about pressure! Personally, I would much rather have that moment in privacy, just the two of us, so that we can fully let go of any emotions we have together. I often hear from my couples that they were so nervous up until the first look and they were able to shake the nerves off together, and walk down the aisle a little more relaxed. The first look is always such a sweet and special intimate moment between the couple - one of the only times of the day they get to truly be alone with each other and soak in this moment.

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3.) Less rushing around

Remember that YOU are in control of the day before setting up the timeline for the day prior to the wedding day. If you choose to get ready at the hotel, go right to the ceremony, directly to cocktail hour, and finish with the reception - that is 100% your decision and I’m happy to be apart of it no matter how you plan to order the day. But, be prepared for a little more rushing and chaos during cocktail hour to fit in all the photos. Typically, I reserve about 2 hours of time to comfortably fit in bridal party photos, family photos, as well as bride and groom photos if you choose to do a first look before hand. If you choose to not take that approach, all photos are saved for that one hour of cocktail hour and we may have to move fast to get everything we need!

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4.) Getting your guests to come out of cocktail hour is HARD.

I’m speaking from experience people! Now that your family and bridal party have entered cocktail hour - the land of drinks and conversations with loved ones - It’s pretty dang hard to peal them out of there for pictures! Hunting down your bff Sue is now twice as hard because she’s had two Malibu Bay Breeze’s and just caught up with Marge, who she hasn’t seen in years. There goes 15 minutes lost trying to wrangle someone out of cocktail hour. I will tell you personally, that one of the hardest parts of a wedding day for me, is wrangling family members if they’re not where they’re supposed to be for pictures. And once cocktail hour starts, wrangling guests out of there just made things a little harder and cuts into time.

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5.) Extra time for photos + Extra time with guests

It’s a win win. Having those couple of hours before the ceremony to complete all your photos with ease, is a beautiful thing. This allows more time for all of your pictures, creative shots, and so on. This also means that we’re able to capture cocktail hour photos too since we wouldn’t be doing your portraits during this time! And then with that, comes extra time with guests. And besides getting married, isn’t this one of the most important parts of the day - enjoying time with friends and family celebrating?

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If you have your heart on seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony, please do what your heart tells you to do!

This list has been made based off of what I’ve experienced on wedding days and what typically makes for a less hectic flow of the day. This is usually new information for most couples and may not know a lot of these pointers, so I feel it’s my job to educate them and feel completely prepared for the day you’ve spent so long planning!

Whatever you decide, I’m here to capture it!