Wedding Planning - To Do A First Look or Not

Planning Your Wedding: Part 6 – To First Look or Not To First Look

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Today’s wedding planning tip touches on a post I write two years ago: What is a First Look and Should I Do One?

The information in that blog post is still true and relevant, and it also talks about why I love the First Look both as a photographer and as a bride.

Take a look at the post, and then come back here.

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First Looks [or First Sights, etc.] are very popular in today’s wedding photography world for many reasons. I talked about them in the post linked above, but to recap, First Looks are awesome because they:

1. Allow the bride and groom to be able to see each other for the first time in a private setting, where they can cry, hug and kiss all they want, without anyone [aside from the photographer] watching.

2. Often times, wedding day jitters are completely wiped away once the bride and groom see each other.

3. Because the bride and groom don’t have to wait until the walk down the aisle to see each other, the bulk of the portraits [bride and groom, wedding party, family] can be done before the ceremony begins, leaving only fun and celebration to happen after the ceremony.

A vast majority of my couples choose to do a First Look for the above reasons.

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However, there are many couples who take a more traditional view on seeing each other for the first time, and they want to keep that special moment for the walk down the aisle.

If that’s what you want to do, awesome! Like I mentioned in the link above, if you know you don’t want to see each other before the wedding, then don’t let anyone talk you into doing anything other than that. We photographers are here to serve you, so if you have strong feelings against a First Look, we’ll adapt!

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There are several things to note if you choose not to do a First Look.

The biggest are the changes to the wedding day timeline.

If the bride and groom don’t see each other before the wedding, then that means the vast majority of the photos have to be taken after the ceremony, before the reception.

Depending on when the ceremony is taking place, this can result in a long social hour, a delayed dinner, or a very short time slot for photos to take place.

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Just as an example, I typically allow a good two and a half hours for portraits on a wedding day. This includes images of the bride and groom, wedding party and both sets of families. Usually, this is very easily done with the First Look, and all formal photos are completed before the ceremony even beings.

However, if you aren’t seeing each other before the wedding, that two and a half hour time slot needs to be implemented after the ceremony, before dinner/dance. If that’s not feasible, and you are decided on not doing a First Look, then the amount of time allotted for photography may need to be shortened, and less images captured.

The most important thing is to talk to your photographer about your thoughts. If you know you don’t want to see each other before the ceremony, tell this to your photographer asap. That way, you can talk through your day’s timeline and create the best possible setup for the photography of your wedding day. This will allow the day to run smoothly, you will be able to have plenty of time to create amazing wedding day images, and you will be able to keep your dream of waiting for the walk down the aisle to see each other.

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If you don’t have strong opinions on seeing each other before the ceremony, consider the benefits of the First Look, and talk that option over with your photographer as well.

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