The Argument For a First Look

Lately when speaking with many of my wedding clients there has been a lot of discussion about the “first look” and my opinion on it.  I am all for couples doing a first look and firmly believe that you will be more satisfied with your photos if you do. Even though those more traditional couples that are quick to shoot down the idea – I beg you to reconsider!  

First, what exactly is a first look?  The first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the actual wedding ceremony (GASP!). Untraditional – yes. Awesome – double yes!  Instead of simply complying with tradition let’s examine the origins of it.  Back in the day when arranged marriages were all the rage, the bride’s parents wouldn’t let the groom see the bride before the wedding for fear the groom would not be attracted to the bride and would not go through with the wedding.  Welcome to modern day– chances are you have already met the person you are marrying and shouldn’t have to worry about them bolting.

A first look has many advantages. Firstly, the bride and groom have the opportunity to share a very special and private moment together before the stress of the ceremony begins and without all eyes on them.  From a photographer’s standpoint this a perfect time to capture true emotions and many times they turn out to be the most beautiful and memorable pictures of the day. PLUS the bride and groom will be less stressed out when they see each other in front of all the guests at the wedding.  The groom will have more of a genuine look in the photographs when he gets to enjoy seeing his bride for the first time in front of only the photographer instead of every single person at the wedding.  

Some people think that the first look will take away from the emotion of seeing each other when walking down the aisle. It won’t.  That moment will still be just as special because you both know you are about to officially start your life together as husband and wife. Seeing each other before this ceremony will not change this. During the first look, the groom will also be able to say things to the bride that he wouldn’t normally be able to say if he sees her walking down the aisle.  He can tell her how beautiful she looks, how excited he is to marry her and how much he loves her. Often these words and moments are something the couple remember forever and wouldn’t normally have if they don’t see each other until the ceremony.

During and after the first look the photographer has time to do some personal portraits.  Having these pictures done before the wedding allows more time to be creative and will also leave more time after the wedding ceremony to get pictures of the wedding party and the guests. Less time for pictures after the ceremony means the bride and groom can enjoy mingling with guests and get to the reception much faster.  Many people do not realize how little time there is between the wedding ceremony and reception and many times the pictures are rushed.  You are paying for a photographer so why not give them time to do their job properly?

A first look is a personal choice and as the photographer I want my clients to be happy with every aspect of their wedding day. I would never push anyone into anything they don’t feel comfortable with but I also feel the responsibility to educate clients on ways to get better pictures and get the most out of their hard earned money. I do truly believe that a first look results in more genuine pictures, much more relaxed pictures and even more creative pictures. Remember, your wedding pictures last forever. 

The first look is quickly becoming the new tradition in the world of weddings and I highly recommend you consider it if you are getting married. Do some research and check out other people’s experiences!  It’s your day and it should be perfect according to you. 

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