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what is a first look


What is a First Look?

July 29, 2022

So you’re planning your wedding and everything you are going to do on your wedding day and you keep seeing this thing called a first look showing up. But what is a first look? Is it something you should include in your special day? 

I absolutely love first looks and think that they are a great addition to your wedding day. They can be so magical and the photos are always some of the best from your wedding. 

But before you choose whether or not to a first look, let’s answer the burning question. What is a first look? 

What is a first look? 

A first look is a beautifully intimate moment between you and your partner. Normally these first looks happen right after you finish getting ready before your ceremony. This is usually one of the few times you will be alone with your partner on your wedding day. 

The first look gives you a chance to see your future spouse all dressed up and really take in the beauty of the moment without having hundreds of eyes on you. You can take this time to just sit with each other and reflect on what is to come for you both or even write each other notes to read. 

When it comes to what exactly your first look looks like, that is totally up to you. We can scope out your venue to find a quiet spot away from all the hustle and bustle before your ceremony to create the perfect atmosphere for you both. I will also work with you to make the reveal the perfect moment and don’t worry, first look photos always come out amazing!

Why You Should do a First Look

So now that you know what a first look is, let’s talk about why I love them so much and why they should be a part of your wedding day! 

It allows you to enjoy your wedding day a little more.

This is hands down the biggest benefit of doing a first look. You have probably spent months and months planning your wedding and it is finally the day of and you end up spending most of your time away from your guests. This is one of the most important days of your life together and I want to make sure that you get to spend it how you want to. 

Doing first look wedding photos allows us to get all of your intimate one-on-one photos taken before you say I do so once the ceremony is over, you can actually enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests. Without a first look, most people will completely miss their cocktail hour taking these photos and who wants to miss out on any part of their wedding let alone this one (especially if you have crafted special drinks for your cocktail hour!). 

While it does take a little more planning to make a first look happen (more on this later), you get to have the best of both worlds, beautiful intimate pictures, and quality time with your friends and family after you say I do. 

This can also relieve some of the stress and pressure during the reception. It is a party celebrating you and your union, but no couple wants to end the night without being about to say hi to all of their guests. Doing first look wedding photos allows you to have an extra hour to celebrate with everyone so you don’t feel like you are rushed during your reception! 

It can help calm your nerves.

Let’s be honest, everyone is nervous on their wedding day and there are probably not a lot of people who can help calm your nerves. Sometimes all you need is a hug from your best friend to help bring you back into the moment and calm those butterflies in your stomach. 

Doing a first look gives you just this. Not only do you get to see your best friend, but you also get to spend a little bit of time with the only other person who is feeling the same things you are.

Whether you just stand with each other or talk about how far you have come and the future that you will get to share together, a first look is a perfect way to ease your nerves so you can really take in the moment when you are standing up in front of all of your friends and family saying I do!

I also love that first looks give you the chance to show off your wedding outfits to your partners and actually enjoy their full reaction. Yes, you do still get to see their initial awe when you walk down the aisle, but seeing them before the ceremony lets you hype them up all you want without getting interrupted by the officiant trying to start your vows. And isn’t that reaction what you want to take in? 

You have probably had your outfit picked out for a while and there is so much anticipation leading up to your partner seeing you in it for the first time. Why rush that first moment together when you can take your time and have a little fun with each other to help ease yourself before saying your vows! 

The photos are beautiful, obviously. 

I absolutely LOVE first look photos. The moment you see your partner for the first time all dressed up is such a special moment and one of my favorites to capture. Having this moment in private with just the two of you (and your photographer) makes the moment even more special.

You can really express how you feel without having to worry about a bunch of eyes on you (or holding up your wedding). The reactions we are able to capture are priceless and are often some of the best of the entire wedding. 

There is also a little more time and space to play with when you do a first look compared to just seeing each other for the first time while walking down the aisle. This gives us some flexibility to capture not only your initial reaction but also you and your partner interacting in such a special way. 

These photos always end up being such precious photos and help tell the story of your perfect wedding day. 

Why Some People May Choose Not to do a First Look

While I do love doing a first look, they may not be for everyone. Here are some things to consider when making your decision on whether or not to do one. 

You want to break away from tradition.

Traditionally, you don’t see your spouse on your wedding day until they walk down the aisle. This tradition actually dates back to arranged marriages. In these marriages, you would not see your partner until they walked down the aisle to ensure that you actually got married and no one would back out. 

Today, some people will still say that it is bad luck to see your spouse before you walk down the aisle and some couples may even stay in different places the night before the wedding to make sure they don’t see each other. But all of that is just superstition!

If you do want to stick to tradition or if you are really superstitious, you may not want to do a first look. It really depends on how you and your partner feel about it! 

It does require some extra planning and time.

I know, I know. Wedding days almost never go exactly as planned. Things pop up that can sometimes throw your schedule off that you had set. However, if you do want to do a first look, you will have to make sure you plan accordingly. 

Unlike doing your pictures together after the wedding during the cocktail hour (where it might be okay if you run a couple of minutes late), you don’t exactly want to be late to your own wedding. If you do want to do a first look, you will need to make sure that you are ready earlier in the day so that you have enough time to take your pictures before walking down the aisle. 

This is especially important if you plan to have a wedding earlier in the morning and would have to get up super early to be ready in time for a first look. 

So, is a wedding first look right for you? 

First look wedding photos are just one more thing that can make your wedding day even more special. While they may not be for everyone, I absolutely love them and it has become one of my favorite parts of shooting weddings. 

Now that we’ve answered your questions about what is a first look, you just need a photographer there to shoot it. Still looking for the perfect photographer? Click here to connect with me and talk about how we can help capture your wedding day! 

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Photographer, cat-mom, amateur snowboarder, inspired by music, good movies, and you.

*BIG SEO RE: LOCATION* I'm a photographer with a specialty in capturing wedding days with a documentary approach. I believe that love is pretty rad, and your wedding photos should be, too. 
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