What’s a First Look at a Wedding?
Wedding tradition says you can’t see each other until the altar, but I disagree. My opinion: do whatever the fuck you want, because who cares? I think it’s incredibly important to know all your options and discover what’s best for you and your love, not what the world tells you you’re “supposed” to do. So today, we’re talking all about first look wedding tips!
The tradition of waiting to see each other on your wedding day comes from when arranged marriages were much more common. It was completely normal back then for the couples to never have met each other until their wedding ceremony. (Not exactly the romantic love story some of us might hope for, but whatever works for you, boo) Waiting until the ceremony to see each other ensured the groom couldn’t run away if he thought the bride was ugly. I know, how sweet, right?
Just like a lot of wedding traditions and superstitions, this one kinda stuck around without anyone questioning it.
While the origins are not so cute, a lot of couples dream of the butterflies they’ll get when they see each other for the first time down the aisle. This is absolutely a super romantic moment, and as a photographer, definitely one of my favorites to shoot.
I wanna open your mind up to other possibilities than what you might automatically think of when it comes to wedding days. A first look is a common alternative to waiting until you’re down the aisle to see your partner!
Know that my goal isn’t to sway your opinion either way through these next words; rather, I just want you to make an informed decision and know all your options. No matter what you choose, make sure it’s meaningful to you and unique to your love story. Let’s get into the top 5 reasons to have a first look!
5 Reasons Why You Should Do a First Look
1. Get Ready for the Day Together
If you do a first look, that means you can get ready for your wedding together. Instead of having to get ready with your friends and family (which, don’t get me wrong, can be super special), you have the option to get ready with your partner. Do your hair together, your makeup, put on your accessories, help each other get their attire on. Together you two can get all dressed up, and take a few moments to think about the people you’re about to see, the delish food you’re about to eat, and prepare for the vows you’re about to make. Who wouldn’t want to get ready with their love and get that quality time together before the ceremony?
2. You Get More Time Together
Your wedding day is literally all about your relationship with the person you love the most. So why not spend as much of that day with them as possible? With a first look, you can spend more time together on the day of your wedding.
Since you’ll see them earlier, you don’t have to hide from each other until the ceremony. This means more time for cuddles or kisses or taking shots together before you seal the deal.
While we can absolutely make your timeline work no matter what you decide, the wedding day often flows smoother when you have a first look. Since you don’t have to hide from each other before the ceremony, you can do family & wedding party pictures all before the ceremony.
This way, once your ceremony is over, there’s nothing else you need to think about except partying it up. Your guests won’t have to wait a long time in between the ceremony and reception. That makes the day a little more enjoyable to them too. Without a cocktail hour, you’ll also save some money – and can get straight to having a fucking blast with your favorite people.
4. An Intimate, Private Moment
Honestly, most couples don’t get enough alone time on a wedding day. When you do a first look on your wedding day, it ensures you get at least 15-20 minutes alone to soak in the day together. Most of the time, the only people present besides the two of you are your photographers and videographers. And if you want, we can step back after we get some footage, and you two can have some space. You two definitely deserve it.
This can be a time to exchange gifts or letters to each other. Or if you’re not reading your vows in front of everybody, this is the perfect chance to do it privately. This is an especially great option if you’d rather not pronounce your love for each other in front of everybody, and get the chance to read your vows in a more intimate space.
No matter what you do during this time, it’s a special moment for the two of you to reflect on the day ahead.
5. It Calms the Nerves
It’s completely normal to feel a little (or a lot) nervous on your wedding day. This is a big day with lots of anticipation, pressure, and emotions. And when you’re nervous… who do you want to be with? Probably your soon-to-be spouse.
When you two spend time soaking in the moment during a first look, it lowers the big stress of walking down the aisle. It’s as simple as that! You’ve already seen each other and gotten quality, intimate time together. Without nerves to distract you, the aisle moment can be even more magical.
BONUS TIP: You’ll Get More Photos Together
I might be a little biased but I truly don’t think you can ever have too many photos from your wedding day. Seriously, there’s nothing more romantic, authentic, and sweet than first look photos. The moment when you two see each other all dressed up, in the last moments before your wedding… It’s such a surreal moment and is always an honor for me to witness.
The time during your first look is the perfect chance to get more couples photos of you two on your wedding day. With those pictures done, there’s no need to stress about sunset photos if you run out of time or would rather hit the dance floor in the evening when the time comes.
Or if you still do sunset photos, you’ll have twice as many photos of the two of you. And those photos of you two are probably the ones you’ll send out on your holiday card or frame in your living room. So why not have even more options?
Whether you decide to do a first look or you’d rather wait until the aisle, you’re marrying the love of your damn life. No matter what feels right to you, I’ll be there to support you and document all the magical details of your wedding day.
If you’re looking for more wedding planning advice, check out my blog post on Five Steps for Planning Your Dream Wedding.