To first look or not to first look? That is the question. Thankfully however you choose to answer this question, it won’t have the same implications as it did for Hamlet. But, if we’re being totally honest here, your decision will impact not only your memories of your special day, but also the entire timeline of how it runs. I want to preface by saying that many couples opt not to do a first look, and their day is just as beautiful and amazing as those who do. But if you are on the fence and aren’t sure what would work best for your day, I’ll do my best to explain below.
Any good wedding photographer will tell you that in order for you to get the photos you want and still have time to enjoy your day, everything needs to be planned in advance down to the minute. This meticulous planning is essential, but many couples worry that this down-to-the-minute planning can be stressful and can take the sentiment and spontaneity out of your wedding. Enter first look.
Many couples choose to do a first look because of the timing of their day. They realize they won’t have time between the ceremony and cocktail hour to get the photos they want. Or they due to the time of year they simply don’t have enough hours of daylight to make it work. There are many timing factors that go into this decision, and your photographer is your lifeline in making these determinations. In fact, it’s literally the first thing we do at Heyn Photography when we sit down and talk to you about your day. Once we help you build a timeline, the rest of your decisions are much easier to make.
Another factor in deciding to do a first look is the couple’s personalities. Many couples want a private moment to see each other before being put on display in front of all their friends and loved ones. In the past, it was considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before she walks down the aisle. Today most people have dispensed with that old superstition and are looking at it differently.
Every bride has dreamt about this day, put thought and care into all the details, especially what they will look like as they go from Ms. to Mrs. The reality is that most wedding days fly by in a blur of activity and one needs to stop and really appreciate those details and moments. When a couple does a first look, it gives them some private time to take in the magnitude of the day and their love for one another. They get to genuinely react to seeing one another without the pressure of an audience. It is one of our favorite times of the wedding day to shoot and is always the most memorable.
After our couple has taken in the moment, we spend some time with them alone taking advantage of the genuine feeling of love and joy in the air. These are the main photos of the day and are cherished by our couples forever.
I realize that making the decision to do a first look or not can be incredibly daunting and feel overwhelming. So take a moment, talk to your future spouse about how they envision that first moment between the two of you on the most important day of your lives. Then, go talk to your photographer! I promise you we’ve helped thousands of couples make this decision and have a formula for figuring out what will work best for you.
Most importantly, no matter what you decide, remember to take in the moment. It’s the one you will remember forever.