What is a First Look?
A ‘first look’ is a private moment shared between the couple before their wedding ceremony. The bride and groom get to see one another all dressed up for the first time without any guests around. The couple can make this moment as intimate as they want it to be. From writing short personal love letters, exchanging words of gratitude, to prayer, this moment can be tailored to make it special for the both of you.
Benefits of a First Look on your Wedding Day
In traditional weddings, it’s common for the couple to wait until the ceremony to see each other for the first time. We are all familiar with the typical wedding scenario — the bride walks down the aisle and everyone’s gaze turns to the altar to see the groom’s reaction. With so much excitement building up to this moment, it is understandable why some couples choose to keep this tradition.
But, what if you want to cherish this moment intimately just between the both of you? Will having the first look spoil your wedding ceremony? Absolutely not! In my experience as a wedding photographer, it’s becoming more and more common for couples to choose to have a first look on their wedding day. After all, it is your special day as a couple to celebrate your love for one another. The choice is ultimately up to the two of you, so go for what will make it the most memorable!
Should I have the first look on my wedding day?
Let’s be honest, having a bunch of people stare at you during a special moment can be nerve-racking and lead to a certain level of expectations. Doing a first look allows you and your fiance to share an intimate moment without all the stress from other people watching. It’s also a great opportunity for your wedding photographer to capture emotional photos of you and your loved one without other guests in the background. This means more photos for your wedding photo album and potentially ones that you otherwise might not have from your wedding day if you choose not to partake in a first look.
What are the benefits of adding a first look to my wedding timeline?
In the midst of all the craziness during your beautiful wedding day, having a first look has more pros than cons. Think about your potential wedding timeline and what you want to happen during your special day. How much time will you actually get to spend with your spouse-to-be while trying to accomplish everything on your wedding checklist? From family portraits to preparing for the ceremony to interacting with all your guests at the wedding reception, a first look moment will dedicate uninterrupted time for you and your significant other to fully be present with one another. Aside from that, having a first look can also benefit you in the following ways.
Reduce Pre-Wedding Anxiety
It’s normal to have pre-wedding jitters. A lot of time has been spent planning and preparing for this big special day. All your family members and close friends have gathered to celebrate your wedding. As excited as you should be, you may have thoughts like “How will I get through my wedding if I’m anxious?” or “What if this anxiety means I am having doubts about getting married?” pass through your mind.
Calm Your Nerves Before the Wedding Ceremony
With a first look, your partner will be there to reassure you that you’re not alone and you are in this together. They too may be feeling anxious and can help calm you down. Having the first look will alleviate some of the anxieties and anticipation you may experience before your wedding ceremony. It gives you and your fiance time to cry, to laugh, or to exchange words of affirmation before seeing each other again at the altar. You can also hug, compliment one another, and get excited because you’re about to get married to the love of your life!
Minimize the Risk of Not Having Your Wedding Expectations Met
Your expectations for your wedding will probably be high and that’s because it’s a once in a lifetime experience with your spouse-to-be. But let’s be real here, expectations vs. reality are often not one and the same. No matter how much you plan and rehearse for your wedding to go smoothly, there will always be something that comes up unexpectedly. And that’s okay! You just have to be prepared and minimize the risk of not having all your expectations met. Whether it be guests running late, bad weather, missing rings, lost bouquets or the officiant stuck in traffic, you will not have control over every little thing during your wedding day. This is why having a first look pre-scheduled in your wedding timeline can help tremendously. If anything outside of your control happens, you still have the first look moment to fall back on. No matter what may happen during your wedding day, nothing can take away the feelings that you and your fiancé experience during this intimate moment. Only the two of you can remember how this moment felt like. That’s the true definition of love right there!
Capture Memorable Portraits with Fresh Makeup and a Perfect Wedding Hairstyle
By having a first look in your wedding timeline, you can have wedding photos of you and your fiancé looking at your very best. Relying solely on the photos from the ceremony can be risky as even the finest airbrushed makeup and securely hair-sprayed updo can wear down by the time you make it to the altar. Since your wedding photographer will take photos of you and your partner right after hair and makeup is done for the first look, you can worry less if sweat from the summer heat strikes or if a bobby pin falls out of your hair. Your wedding ceremony should be memorable and always remind you of the beginning of your marriage journey. What’s a better way to reminisce other than breathtaking photos of you and your spouse?
Be Present and Savor Every Moment of Your Wedding Day
Seeing your fiancé before the wedding ceremony will remind you of what this day is really all about. That is, a beautiful union between two individuals who love each other dearly. Amidst the memories and chaos of what this day may bring, partaking in the first look will ground the both of you to be present and savor every moment of your wedding day. After all the months of planning, you will be surprised as to how fast this beautiful day goes by. Placing a first look photography session in your wedding timeline can help ensure that all your desired wedding portraits are taken — brides and grooms portraits, family portraits, bridal party and groomsmen portraits, flower girl and ring bearer portraits, and portraits with your fur babies. With all of the necessary photos taken, you can leave the candid shots for your wedding photographer to take and simply focus on celebrating your special day. Who doesn’t want to enjoy their own cocktail hour and dance the night away with their spouse and guests? Seriously, this is YOUR wedding reception, so go have fun!
Say Your Vows With Confidence
Oftentimes, since you’ve gotten the nerves out during the first look session, the walk down the aisle feels a lot more comfortable since you’re not seeing each other for the first time that day. You can be confident that you are marrying the love of your life and say your wedding vows with love and tenderness. Read through our blogs for advice with writing your own wedding vows or examples of traditional wedding vows by religion.
Kimmi Cranes is a Lake Tahoe wedding photographer who offers all-inclusive wedding photography packages, engagement photoshoots, elopement photography and family portraits. Based in South Lake Tahoe, she’s more than happy to travel and capture your special event in the surrounding areas of Reno, Truckee, and San Francisco. She loves to explore the outdoors and take photos of people in front of breathtaking landscapes. Her photos craft a beautiful story of love, excitement, and emotions to be remembered for years to come.