One of our favorite moments during a wedding day, is the first look. I wish so much that I had done a first look when we got married, but I insisted on seeing Kyle at the ceremony (and first looks weren't a thing back then). What is a first look, you ask? A first look is when a bride and groom see one another before the wedding ceremony. What is so special about that? You have to experience it to really get it. I tear up during just about every one of them.
Here are a few benefits of doing a first look:
The Logistics. After a ton of research and in the field experience, we have found that couples who do a first look will get roughly 40% more photos with their significant other. This is based on time spent together throughout the day. That's a LOT of photography you are losing out on. Most couples want to socialize with guests after the ceremony and it can be tough to pull them away from that for photos - not too mention that you can tell how antsy they are in the photos.
The Moment. Let's face it, when you are walking down the aisle, there are a ton of people, everyone is using their phones to take photos of you, and you have to be a little quieter than if you weren't at a ceremony. When you do a first look outside of a ceremony, it is very private. It's the two of you with the photographer(s) lurking around the corner to capture the moment. You have that time to say hello (laughing or in tears), you can hug, kiss, whatever, and take that moment to spend with one another.
Timing. This is a huge one and it is beneficial for a number of people in the wedding. Think of it this way - you can get the majority of your photos done before the ceremony. Why should that matter. Oh, so many reasons...
- People get antsy after the ceremony. They all want to go to the cocktail hour, regardless of age, part of the wedding, etc. And it shows in the photos. They want to get things done and go party. I can't even tell you how many times I have had groomsmen and bridesmaids get upset with the bride and groom because they can't leave to go have fun after the ceremony. It shows.
- Any elderly family members can just go to the cocktail hour and reception. I don't know about you, but elderly people and children are the ones I want to make most comfortable in any situation. If you tell them that after the ceremony that they just have to go to the reception, they are good to go. It's easier on everyone.
- You don't miss out on certain photos. There have been a number of times where the bride and groom want to get certain photos done, but due to doing them after the ceremony, they can't. It's not because we can't shoot them, but due to a number of other variables. The biggest one being that people don't want to stick around to do photos with them, so the bride and groom cave and tell them they can go to the cocktail hour. Another being that some people just go to the cocktail hour and they can't be found for photos. One variable we have no control over is sunlight. In Minnesota, there are times of the year where it gets dark really fast and if the ceremony is later, there may not be daylight.
- Other things can come up. After having three VERY busy years, we have come to see some of the bad sides to weddings. Venues double booking, hair and makeup running too long, people getting locked out of cars and not being able to get to the wedding, you name it. Why would this apply to your first look? If you do a first look, we are spending our time with the two of you while all that stuff is going on and being taken care of in the background. It's not eating up all your time.
Daylight. Depending on what time of year a wedding is or how late the ceremony starts, a first look allows for the couple to take photos while it is still light outside. This isn't an issue with us working, we have shot whole weddings at night, but a lot of couples want those daylight shots and cringe at the idea of nighttime photos (regardless of how awesome they are). You have no control over the daylight, so keep that in mind.
Keeping Calm. I don't care who you are, you're going to be stressed on your wedding day. It can be a little bit or a LOT, but you'll be stressed. You don't do a ton of planning for a single day event and not worry a bit. What calms you down? Seeing the person you love, of course! I have found that all of our brides get super nervous right after the hair and makeup is done. That's when it's real and they get tense. I have told this to so many brides to calm them down, assuring them it's normal because I see it every week. Having a first look really calms those nerves. You see the one you love and they say all those wonderful things to you that they do and all of a sudden, the day is awesome and you're getting married!!!
The Cuteness Factor. This is my personal favorite reason. It's your wedding. You look AMAZING. Who doesn't want to see and hear your loved one's reaction to this? We all do.