I LOVE first looks. The moment when the couple sees each other for the first time is the best. You can see the stress melt away, and you can see the excitement on their faces. But doing a first look is more then just that moment, it's really about how you want to spend your day. It means more time together, getting photos done early while your hair and makeup are fresh, having time to mingle with your guests at cocktail hour, and so much more! In my experience throughout 8 years of weddings, 99% of all non-first look weddings run late, causing less time for portraits. So if you hire a really good wedding photographer, you don't want to waste anytime and wind up with less portraits. All photos by me, Danielle Poff Photography.
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1. You spend a lot of money and effort on one day, so you should live up every second.
If you don't opt to see each other until the ceremony, there's a good 2 hours that you could have already spent together, soaking in this amazing day. The day goes by so fast, so an extra time you can have to make more memories together, I highly suggest it!
2. Doing a first look means being able to utilize every area of your venue before guests arrive.
It means getting to take photos everywhere at your venue because once the wedding has started, guests will be everywhere and photo spots will become limited. If your cocktail hour or reception space is super cool, doing a first look will let you use those spots for portraits. After the ceremony, decor and people will have filled those spaces making it not usable.
3. Most people feel stressed on their wedding day.
Seeing each other always takes that stress away, and allows you to feel calm and really live in the moment. Most couples tell me that they feel a little nervous while they are getting ready, but once they see each other at the first look, they instantly feel calmer.
4. It's a great option if you know you're someone who runs late.
With the first look, there is a built in buffer for time. We have two hours of portrait time before the ceremony as well as that hour of cocktail hour after in case we need it. This is really important for couples who care a lot about portraits. I always feel awful for couples when things run late and it eats into portrait time. So if you really want good portraits and a lot of them, consider a first look to know that you have a nice big window for photos.
5. Your hair and makeup will still be fresh and being a girl, I know how important that is!
Your first look, some bride and groom portraits, all wedding party photos, and family photos, if you opt for that before the ceremony, will be done within 2 hours of your makeup being finished. This means that sweat and tears haven't gotten to your makeup much yet. If you wait until after the ceremony, that's been hours now that your hair and makeup have endured the elements.
6. If you have a large and/or rowdy wedding party
The wedding party tends to be antsy after the ceremony, so by doing the wedding party pictures before, everyone is more cooperative. After the ceremony they just want to party and drink (I know from experience haha), so wrangling them all is more of a challenge. So if you know your friends are rowdy or if you have a very large wedding party, consider a first look. This well help make sure that your friends will be cooperative, giving you the best photos possible with them.
7. You can even get your family photos done before the ceremony.
I love this option! Knocking out all photos before the ceremony is a great idea because it means you can go straight to cocktail hour with all of your guests!
8. You can go and enjoy ALL of cocktail hour
Use this time to greet all your guests, hug, and take photos with them. This time is great for your photographer to capture candid and posed moments with you and your guests. This way when the reception starts, you can just sit back and relax and know you already made your rounds. If you have a lot of guests from far away who traveled to your wedding, it's great to be able to spend more time with them.Otherwise, greeting your guests during your reception takes quite a while. If you don't do a first look, there's no time for you to go to cocktail hour.
9. You get TWO special moments.
Doing a first look doesn't take away from the groom seeing you down the aisle for the first time (if this is something either of you are worried about). I always ask my grooms about this, and they all say the same thing: "Nothing can replace that moment when your bride is walking down the aisle towards you. Doing a first look doesn't take away from it." I've seen grooms cry during the ceremony even when after doing a first look.