Client Education: First Looks

March 6, 2020

My brides + grooms frequently ask my opinion on whether or not they should have a first look. As a photographer, I love first looks for a handful of reasons! I put together this blog post with some of the benefits I see with first looks, as a way to help couples that may be on the fence about whether or not they want to have one!

1. It’s one of the only times you two will be alone on your wedding day. 

I remember a friend explaining that a first look might be the only real time my husband and I would be alone together on our wedding day and it kind of stopped me in my tracks. Up until then, I hadn’t really given that part of it any thought. From getting ready surrounded by friends in the morning, to the ceremony itself, cocktail hour, and the reception – there isn’t much down time carved into the day. You’ll of course be alone during bride and groom portraits, but if you’re feeling like you want some extra quality time with your hunnie – adding in a first look is a great way to get it!

2. It takes the edge off.

Ahh this! Those morning jitters while you’re getting ready are blissful. Sometimes though, they might be a little more than jitters. If you’re nervous about the ceremony, seeing your babe prior to the ceremony and having a quiet, calming moment together could be helpful! Once you’ve seen each other, some of those nerves will come down and you’ll be able to really soak in all of your ceremony.

3. It frees up your timeline! First looks can be especially helpful if you’re working with a tight timeline. 

I’ve found this especially helpful for Fall weddings that occur after day light savings time. When the sun sets at 5pm, it doesn’t leave much daylight for bride + groom portraits. Depending on your ceremony start time, there is a chance that the sun will be completely set afterwards. Doing a first look allows you to get the majority of your photos done pre-ceremony. If your timeline runs behind [as they most often do], you won’t end up in the dark trying to take photos with flash or missing the first part of your reception! 

You can attend part of your own cocktail hour! Wait – did I just say that?! You can actually attend part of your own celebration?! YESSS BABES! YOU CAN! Often times when we do a first look, we do wedding party portraits pre-ceremony as well. Some of my clients even opt to do family portraits before the ceremony. This means they have essentially all of cocktail hour to mingle with guests, have a drink, and actually eat some of those hors d’oeuvres they had catered! By the time the reception comes, the couple can sit down, relax, and enjoy their dinner because they’ve already had the opportunity to greet guests. 

If you have a large family, family portraits can take up a lot of time during cocktail hour. Having a first look is a great way to offset that and make sure you get plenty of photos with you and your new husband! After all, that’s one of the most important parts of the day!

My goal with this post was to give you gals some information that you may have never considered, and hopefully it will help you during the decision making process! Communicating with your photographer about weighing the choices, timeline options, and what’s best for you as a couple is going to be the best way to make sure your big day is everything you’ve dreamt of!

As always, comment below if you have any thoughts or questions to add to this post! If you’re a past bride and have any advice to brides, please contribute below in the comment section! I’d love to hear what you girls have done, what worked, and what you would have changed!

xx - Lia