After you've secured your venue, photographer, florist and other key wedding players, it's time to start planning how your day is going to go. I was a bride once too, and I get it, everyone wants to tell you HOW you should do things and why their way is the best. My best piece of advice here is to go with your own gut and plan your day for what will best suit you and your groom.
With that being said, I am going to tell you why as a photographer I always recommend a first look for my bride and groom! When it comes to deciding whether or not you want to see the man you've been waiting to marry before your ceremony I think it is important that you make an informed decision. So, let's talk about the pro's of having a first look!
What Is a First Look?
A first look is a time set aside for the bride and groom to see each other. I believe this time can be really special. It is the perfect way to be able to document your groom's reaction to you in all your bridal beauty in a very personal way. I have also seen that having this time helps calm last minute nerves and gives the couple a time to exchange notes, gifts and a hug before they commit themselves to each other forever!
So, Why Should I Have a First Look At My Wedding?
As a photographer the number one reason I recommend this is for timeline purposes. Weddings days are hectic and chaotic most of the time. Carving out a time for you to see your groom and have portraits taken allows the timeline for the day to be as relaxed and calm as possible. You don't want to try cramming in family photos, full bridal party photos AND your bride and groom portraits all between ceremony and reception. While this can be done, usually it means leaving guests fend for themselves for a couple of hours while they wait for you to return. And if you have a ceremony that cuts it close to sunset, trying to get all those photos before losing the light is pretty much a nightmare. I also want to point out that in general, your wedding party (and you!) have already had a long day of primping, hanging out and waiting around and so by the time you've had your first kiss, all you want to do is get to celebrating!
Another incredibly good reason to get all your photos out of the way prior to ceremony? Because that means, once you say I do and kiss your spouse, you are done! Besides knocking out some family photos (in case you have grandparents or relatives that only arrived in time for ceremony) you will be ready to greet guests, relax and enjoy the reception that you've probably paid a lot of money for. Past brides have said that this makes the day so enjoyable because they can't really focus on and enjoy the friends and family surrounding them instead of heading off to do an hour or two more of photos.
So does a first look sound right for you?
If you are working with me on your wedding day, we will pick out a special and private spot for you and your groom to see each other. We'll capture the moment he sees you for the first time and then give you a couple of minutes to talk, exchange notes or gifts or just take a breather from the rush of the day! Once you are ready, we will take bride and groom portraits and then add in your bridal party to knock out all the photos we need to get! If your family is there and you want to get family photos done before ceremony too, we can add that in so that you literally will be done with all formal photos for the day! It's just that simple!
So, what if you still want to go traditional?
Maybe you are in love with the idea of your groom and everyone else seeing you for the first time as you walk down the aisle. Does that mean you are doomed to a day of hurried, unrelaxing wedding photos? Not necessarily. For you, it will be super important to communicate with your photographer and ensure that between ceremony and reception you have plenty of time (and daylight!) to make sure you get great photos. The most important photos, the ones you will hang in your home and show your children, are going to be of you and your new husband, so its beyond important to make sure you don't schedule a sunset ceremony with no first look and then expect stunning photos in the dark.
No matter what you choose, it is important that you work with your photographer to come up with the best timeline that suits your wishes and offers optimal times and locations for photos! No decision is the wrong decision, as this is 100% YOUR day!