Good morning friends!
Spring is in the air and wedding season is in full bloom! Whether you are flushing out the day-of logistics for your celebration this year, or thinking through what you want your wedding to look like next year, one of the first questions any photographer or planner will ask you is if you plan on doing a “first look.” If you’ve never heard of this, it is a wedding trend that has taken on both a ton of traction and a lot of controversy over the past five years. When you have a first look, the photographer will choose a spot with great light where the couple can have an intimate moment and see each other for the first time prior to walking down the aisle. The first look is a great idea for some, while sticking to a more traditional route is better for others. But how do you know where you land and what is right for you? Today we want to help you better understand key factors to consider when thinking through this important decision so that you can determine what will be best for you and your sweetheart on your special day.
You know what we mean when we say “that moment.” It is the moment that everyone dreams of when they think of getting married and they see their soon-to-be spouse for the first time. No one knows exactly how they will feel on the big day before they get married, but you imagine you’ll be a bit nervous, a little giddy, and really excited when “that moment” happens. Some brides have a difficult time giving up the idea of “that moment” taking place in any form or place other than the aisle. If that is you, no worries. We know a lot of couples who love having “that moment” at the altar and could never do it any other way. With that being said, it is a common misconception that you can’t still have “that moment” during a first look. Believe me when I tell you that you totally can (and some couples even like it better)! When you choose to do a first look, you keep the special nature of the moment but without the pressure of all your guests’ eyes on you while it is taking place. Either way (whether you choose to have a first look or wait to see each other until you walk down the aisle), “that moment” will happen, it is just up to you to determine where and when you want it to take place!
Tradition, Values & Personality
If a strong sense of tradition is a key value in your wedding, the first look may not be the best path for you. Participating in set traditions on your wedding day can be a lot of fun and, based on your personality, can really help make your wedding special. Therefore, if sticking with tradition is your plan, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, if you are having a less formal, more unconventional day (or you just really want to enjoy your own cocktail hour), then having a first look is something you should definitely consider! Some couples want that feeling of the tension rising until the moment that the ceremony starts. However others really enjoy getting the whole ‘seeing each other’ part over with and being able to let loose, have fun and experience their ceremony at ease. Having a first look gives us the ability to really play with the day of flow and gives us the freedom to make your wedding day all your own! Again, you need to consider your sense of tradition, the feeling of your wedding, and your personalities to determine if a first look is or is not the right choice for you.
Let’s be honest, a solid wedding photographer usually costs a pretty penny. The truth of the situation is that the first look helps you ensure the best quality product from your photographer possible, as they have more time to shoot everything you hired them to capture and that is important to you. As event planners, we love when a couple chooses to have a first look, as it helps everyone stay on time and not feel rushed during cocktail hour. You can only imagine how hard it is to try to cram all your more posed photos (family, bridal party, and romantics) in the confines of a 60 minute cocktail hour (and trust me when I tell you that extending cocktail hour is simply not a great option in terms of flow for your guests). If your aunt goes to the bathroom or the groomsmen get lost on their way to the bar, it can be like herding cats trying to get everyone pinned down in one place at the moment when we need them, and photographers usually ends up sacrificing some of the time he or she was planning to spend getting those foxy shots of the bride and groom that everyone wants. On the other hand, if you don’t do a first look, you might not need your photographer for quite as long on your wedding day (about an hour less, since most of the posed stuff will be done during cocktail hour), which may end up saving you money if your photographer’s package is based on an hourly rate.
Ultimately the decision of whether or not to have a first look is 100% up to you, and while your photographer may want you to (it is easier for them), you and your future spouse need to pick the option that best suits your vision of that day. Any planner or photographer worth their salt won’t force you in a direction that simply isn’t right for you. Here at Marisa Nicole Events, we do first looks often and think they are a super helpful, allowing you to get the most bang for your buck and making it easier stick to the day of schedule. However it is important for you to consider the dynamics that we have described above to see if the first look is a good option for you, or if it is better for you and your honey to keep with tradition and not see each other until you walk down the aisle. Wherever you find yourself landing on this issues, there is no right or wrong answer, just what is right or wrong for you!