If you’re looking for reasons to do a first look, you’ve come to the right spot. If you’re wondering “What is the first look?” it’s a modern wedding tradition where couples choose to see each other before the ceremony. It’s a very intimate moment that makes for beautiful, deep-feeling photos but it’s also so much more than that. There are so many reasons to do a first look both emotionally and practically and we’ll discuss some of our favourite reasons here today.
#1 – Timeline Advantages
Hands down, one of the most important reasons to do a first look is because it will give you a timeline advantage.
When you’re planning your wedding, you want to minimize the amount of time that your guests are present at your wedding without you there. A first look is scheduled way before the ceremony and if often followed immediately by your formal photo session as a couple and with your wedding party. Some folks also choose to do family photos pre-ceremony as well. The amount of flexibility this offers you for your wedding day is extraordinary!
So what happens if you choose not to do a first look? If you’re choosing not to do the first look then your wedding photography timeline will put all of your formal photos between your ceremony and reception… you know, that time when you’re supposed to be at your cocktail hour! Cocktail hours are typically 60-90 minutes and should never be longer than 90 minutes even if you have entertainment for your guests. By not doing a first look you’re putting yourself in a position where not only will you be absent from your cocktail hour but you’ll be squeezing all of your photos (including family photos) into a short amount of time and you’re also limiting your ability to travel offsite to fun and exciting photography locations. Speaking of which…
#2 – Photography Location Flexibility
With the timeline flexibility that doing a first look creates, you now have the opportunity to do a little bit more traveling pre-ceremony and venture off-site to a location that better matches your needs and esthetics.
I always recommend that my clients choose a weather-proof photography location: one that we can use rain or shine. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible when photos happen in between the ceremony and reception due to time constraints. When you’re looking for reasons to do a first look, you need to think beyond just that moment and realize that a first look gives you the flexibility to find the absolutely perfect photography location and still make it to your ceremony on time.
#3 – Better Guest Experience
Another reason to do a first look is to improve your guest experience. There are ways to add entertainment to your wedding day like having musicians or renting a photo booth for your cocktail hour, but your guests will enjoy all of that even more if you’re there with them. Your guests want to mingle with you as much as they want to see others. When you’re absent from your own cocktail hour that greatly diminishes your guest experience as well as opportunities to capture amazing candid memories.
By doing a first look you’re giving yourself and your guests the gift of being truly present (physically and emotionally!) during your cocktail hour. What’s better than that?
#4 – A Safe Space for Anxiety + Emotions
One of the more personal reasons to do a first look relates to anxiety as well as emotions. Seeing each other for the first time on the wedding day can be an extremely emotional moment and not all couples are okay with this happening in front of all their guests while they’re walking down an aisle. For those who want to be vulnerable and feel all the emotions on the wedding day but who don’t necessarily want to do that in front of 100+ people, a first look is an excellent idea.
There’s no right or wrong way to schedule your wedding day, but if you’re looking for reasons to do a first look please know that there are many that are not only practical but also emotional as well. Seeing each other for the first time will be amazing regardless of whether it’s during a walk down an aisle or in an intimate setting and it will become the foundation to build a lifetime of memories on.