I could talk about first looks alllllll day long!! They’re one of my favorite parts of a wedding day & I absolutely love photographing them. However, so many people are unaware of how great they are because they’re caught up in how non-traditional they are. After experiencing so many weddings (including my own!!), I’ve come to this realization. Brides want a REACTION from their groom – couples who aren’t interested in a first look usually think that by seeing each other before the ceremony, they’ll lose most of that reaction. They also assume that it won’t be as emotional or special as it would be if they were walking down the aisle.
The *one* thing that I KNEW we had to do on our wedding day was a First Look – and honestly, I wanted it because I knew that my fiance would be SO nervous & I wanted to put him at ease. However!!! *I* was a nervous wreck leading up to our First Look – all I wanted to do was see and be able to talk to my now-husband before the day got away from us. I am SO thankful we did a First Look – we were able to be together, to laugh, to hug, and there was NO rush. Our wedding day went by in a blur but I so VIVIDLY remember the time we had together at our First Look & how it completely relaxed us and got us SO EXCITED for our ceremony!!!
Here’s the thing…wedding days are just a little bit stressful for the bride & groom. The whole day is focused on them, they have to look their best, be on time…you get the idea.
Before the ceremony, the gravity of the whole day starts to sink in, & the super relaxed, collected groom who was JUST playing hanging out with his friends a few hours ago is starting to get a little anxious. Before the ceremony, he’s ushered into a small room where he waits for the wedding coordinator, and then with nervous butterflies in his stomach, the groom enters the ceremony & what does he see? Anywhere from 80-300 people looking RIGHT at his face, because everyone has expectations of his first reaction!! This is absolutely the FARTHEST thing from a private, intimate moment.
A groom who has seen his bride already and lost those nerves is SO much more expressive!! He’s got NO more pressure on him – he’s spent a part of his day already with his bride and his friends and he’s ready to enjoy the beautiful day!!
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to do one – here are a few reasons why they’re amazing!!
1. You’re going to be able to TALK to your fiancé before you get swarmed with guests and family!! This doesn’t seem like a big deal but it’s HUGE!! It’s your only alone time for the whole day, otherwise it could be THE RECEPTION by the time you get to have a moment alone together.
2. You’re going to get at least 40% MORE portraits of the two of you!! We’re not going to be rushed by a DJ or a coordinator because we’ll have padded your timeline with extra time for the first look.
3. We’ll do your bridal party photos after we do your portraits – this ensures that they can go to cocktail hour and after we do a handful of just married portraits after the ceremony, you will too!!
4. It diminishes nerves!! Grooms who do a first look will admit that they’re less nervous once the ceremony rolls around and they’re ready to be stared at by a hundred people!!
So many people are against doing a first look because they’re afraid that the emotions of seeing each other down the aisle will disappear if they’ve already seen each other. But don’t worry!! The emotion is still there but the nerves are gone!! You’ve been able to talk, hug and kiss each other already, and all that’s left is the excitement and joy!
If you’re not already convinced, I asked some of my past brides what their thoughts were on doing a first look & here are some of their responses!!
Sarah: “Ray and I weren’t originally planning on doing a first look because we thought we wanted to see each other at the same time as everyone else. However, we are so happy that we changed our minds because our first look pictures are some of our absolute favorite pictures! I loved doing the first look because it gave us a lot more pictures of just the two of us for the album as well as portraits for family.”
Jenni: “I’m SO glad we did a first look. It was one of my favorite parts of the day. Being alone at this moment was so special and meant so much. Not only did Chris need it, it also let us enjoy our party with our guests after the ceremony.”
Jillian: “It was great to sneak away from all the chaos, all the noise, all the family members, and really just take a special moment for the two of us before we officially said I do!”
Abby: “I was so against a first look initially but my husband is shy and can get quite nervous at times. After listening to what Caitlin had to say and reading what she had in her booklet it really helped us decide that we should do one. We both were less nervous and it was so great to get most of our pictures out the way first so we could enjoy the evening. One of the best decisions in terms of planning and making the day that much better.”
Sierra: “I originally didn’t want a first look either and my husband was so relieved when Caitlin talked me into it! It was such a romantic moment between the two of us❤️ Derek said he loved that he could hug me and talk to me right away and we could just chat about how surreal and amazing the day was going to be together. He said if he saw me first when I walked down the isle, he wouldn’t have been able to tell me how beautiful he thought I looked and would have had to wait the whole ceremony to kiss me! He was relieved he didn’t have to wait 😉 AND so much pressure was taken off of his reaction when I walked down the isle, at that point we were relaxed and just SO ready to get married! Also they turned out to be our favorite pictures because we were so relaxed and full of love at that moment!”