I'm just going to start by saying that I am incredibly passionate about today's topic so it may be a loooooong post because quite honestly, I could talk about it all day. Like I mentioned in my last two posts (you can check them out here and here), this series is all about enhancing your wedding photography experience and getting the most out of your wedding pictures. I get so many questions from couples who are in the depths of planning their wedding, from what to wear for their engagement pictures, to when they should start getting ready on their wedding day, to whether or not they should do a receiving line. I LOVE offering my professional opinion about these things because it is not only my goal to deliver beautiful and treasured photos, but I also want to be as transparent and authentic as possible with my couples, leaving them with a positive experience that they'll remember. For today's third post in the four-part mini series for brides, we are talking all about a First Look and why I think you should consider the benefits when planning your wedding day timeline.
If you know anything about me, you probably know that I am a HUGE fan of a First Look. What is a First Look? Simply put, a First Look is an opportunity for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony in private, allowing only the photographer to be present during this special, candid moment. But let me tell you, it is SO MUCH more than that! I've not only experienced the amazing-ness of a First Look as a photographer on several occasions, I've also experienced it first hand with my own wedding so I can personally tell you, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Before you write it off as being too "un-traditional", hear me out on this one because the benefits are truly incredible...
You get to enjoy that special moment. When you do a First Look, you get to fully enjoy and take in all of the emotions of seeing your significant other for the first time. You get to hug them, kiss them, laugh with them, wipe away their tears, tell them how AMAZING they look, just be with them in that moment. Let's be honest...when it comes to brides, what we really want to see from our groom is a reaction! When you do a First Look, you can see their reaction up close and personal, all while the photographer is capturing it for you to reflect back on for years to come.
Your nerves are calmed. If you opt to do a First Look, you get to enjoy that special moment without 100+ people staring at you. After spending this alone time together, you will naturally be more relaxed and ready for the day. In my experience, brides and grooms are a lot less nervous after doing a First Look because they can focus more on enjoying the ceremony and being present in the moment. For our wedding, I was incredibly nervous and worried about the weather...it had literally rained all day long. When we had to move the ceremony indoors at the last minute, I was trying my best to stay positive. My amazing bridesmaids and mother did all they could to distract me from the rain, but deep down, I knew I was disappointed. The second I saw Bryan for our First Look, ALL of my concerns faded away as I realized that nothing else mattered because that was the day I was going to marry my best friend. It was pure bliss, and I will always remember that moment.
You actually get some alone time. Weddings are crazy, people. From the second the ceremony starts, all eyes are on you two and will be for the rest of the day and long into the evening. You are constantly being pulled in every direction imaginable and barely have enough time to stop and say "I love you" to the other person before getting pulled in another direction. When you do a First Look, it is often the only time you two will get to be together and alone for the entire day. After you spend this intimate time together, it sets the perfect tone for some seriously romantic bride and groom portraits where you can be all "lovey-dovey" because you've just experienced all of the emotion of seeing each other for the first time.
Your pictures aren't as rushed. When you do a First Look, you are able to do most, if not all, of your wedding pictures before the ceremony. Assuming you've planned accordingly, you have more time to just relax and enjoy spending time with your significant other and best friends and less time rushing though your pictures to get to your reception. When you do your pictures before the ceremony, your guests spend less time waiting and you get to actually enjoy your cocktail hour. You want to get to YOUR party, right?!
You get more pictures of the two of you. Yup, you heard that right. Couples who opt for a First Look generally receive more bride and groom portraits for a few different reasons. First and foremost, you are getting an entire separate collection of images from the First Look, as well as all of images from the ceremony of you walking down the aisle and of the groom's reaction. Second, couples who do a First Look tend to have more time for bride and groom pictures. Like I mentioned before, when you do your pictures before the ceremony, you have less time restraints. If you wait to do pictures until after the ceremony, you have to fit in all of your wedding pictures in a certain amount of time, which usually leads to you rushing through them. You've invested a lot of money into your wedding photography so you deserve to get the MOST out of your pictures.
I could provide you with SO MANY thoughts on why I think doing a First Look is a good idea because I've seen the benefits of it over and over again. However, when it comes to your wedding day, it is ultimately your decision. My couples are not required to do a First Look at all. I want to emphasize that whatever you decide to do, I am on board 110% and we will make it work no matter what! For my next and LAST post, I'll be talking in depth about creating a wedding day timeline and putting it all together! It will be the most important and detailed post of the series so you won't want to miss it!
P.S. I couldn't end this post without sharing some pictures from our First Look from the amazing Maison Meredith Photography! Enjoy!!