5 Benefits of a First-Look on Your Wedding Day

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A “first look” is a somewhat newer tradition where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony and share a special, intimate moment with no other people, distractions or on-lookers. The groom turns around to see his beautiful bride for the first time in her wedding dress and not only get to see her, but embrace her, kiss her, cry with her and just enjoy that moment together for as long as they want.

Keep scrolling to see what I believe are the top 5 benefits of implementing a well planned first look into your wedding day!

1. Takes some pressure off of a very busy day

Wedding days are very busy, there are many portraits that must be fit in, your family and guests are vying for your attention and at the same time we’re on a time schedule. Implementing a first look can take a lot of pressure and stress off of an already busy day. By getting most of the formal portraits completed before the ceremony (bridesmaids, groomsmen, full bridal party, bride/groom portraits & some of the family shots) we take a lot off of our plate as far as what is needed to be completed during the small time frame between the ceremony and reception, when all of your guests are wanting to pull you aside and your entire bridal party (& the groom!) are hot, kind of pictured-out by that point and anxious to get to the reception. By opting for a first look and being able to do these portraits before the ceremony, you’ll actually get to enjoy that portrait time with your bridal party and your new husband, opposed to needing to kind of rush through it right after the ceremony because we only have an hour to fit a lot of portraits in.

You wouldn’t believe the pressure that’s released on both your photographer and you as the bride and groom when the ceremony is over and all we have to worry about is capturing the remaining family photos before heading directly to the reception!

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2. Calms the nerves & your groom is more likely to show his true reaction

Your groom is most likely going to be super nervous right before you walk down the aisle to him. Why? Because he knows that ALL eyes are on him and there’s this huge pressure to have a reaction. With a first look, it gives you and your husband-to-be a chance to see each other prior to walking down the aisle, calm the nerves a bit and remember this is all just about the two of you. Most of the time, grooms hold back their true reaction because of all the pressure and eyes watching them, especially the more shy guys. Whereas if you did a first look he’s more likely to share those true emotions with you because it’s just you & him without any other distractions or eyes watching (besides your photographer/videographer of course to capture it!). It really helps to diminish those nerves and get you both even more EXCITED about the ceremony and just the rest of the day in general!

Now, if your guy wouldn’t normally get emotional about most things, he most likely won’t for the wedding day. For those of you who say “I just know he’s going to cry when I walk down the aisle and I don’t want to ruin that one-time experience!” I COMPLETELY get that, but I will say that every groom I’ve photographed that is a more emotional guy, he cried both at the first look AND when she walked down the aisle, twice! It was so sweet getting to see and capture that emotion and love twice, and I’m sure the bride loved getting to feel that feeling twice as well! This just goes to show that if he’s a more sensitive kind of guy that would react this way, he’s most likely to react this way BOTH at the first look AND coming down the aisle!

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3. You can enjoy more of your reception and guests, possibly even join your cocktail hour

By getting all of the most important photos done before the ceremony, it gives you more time to spend with your guests and at your reception. Also less waiting time in between ceremony and reception for your guests, they will love you for that! Sometimes with first looks, the couple will still do a full cocktail hour between ceremony and reception, and we’ll spend the first 30 minutes on family photos and after that the bride & groom head to the last half of the cocktail hour to spend time visiting with their guests and thanking them for coming. This is the ultimate idea, because then, by the time you head into the reception for dinner, you’ve spoken to most of your guests and no one will be bothering you while you’re trying to eat your dinner! Then afterwards you can actually enjoy your reception instead of feeling obligated to spend almost the entire time visiting with every guest because you haven’t had the chance to speak to or thank them all for coming yet. Afterall, you spend so much money on the reception, you should be able to enjoy it as much as you can!

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4. You’ll receive more portraits together

By doing a first look, it provides opportunity for lots more photos of you and your groom together and time for me to get creative as well. When we wait until after the ceremony, things typically feel rushed, there’s usually lots of commotion and family standing by watching and everyone is so anxious to get to the reception which makes it harder to get everyone to focus so that I can pose you. But when we do some portraits before the ceremony, immediately after the first look, neither of you are anxious to get anywhere, you’re looking your best because we do this first thing before doing any other portraits, and we’re not in a huge rush. We can fully enjoy your portrait time and you’ll also be stuck in that “lovey dovey” mode because you just had your first look and can’t keep your eyes off of eachother!

Something I also recommend to every couple is that you allow me to pull you away from your reception for just 10-15 minutes for some more portraits together during sunset. These photos always turn out to be some of my favorites as well as my couples’ favorites. The lighting is soft and romantic and you get that pretty backlit glow that really will make you look at your photos and say “wow!”. Sunset photos combined with photos done after your first look that aren’t rushed typically means more photos of the two of you delivered into your final gallery, and who doesn’t want more photos to remember your best day ever!

5. Your ONLY special, intimate moment together out of the entire day

One of the best things I love about the first look, is that it’s really the only time out of the day where the two of you get a few moments together, just the two of you, to hug, kiss, take a deep breath and calm all those nerves. I’ve seen so many ways couples make this even more special by writing letters to each other or their own vows and reading them out loud during this time. I have teared up behind my camera more times than I can count when photographing a good letter/vow reading during a first look! There’s just nothing else like it, it’s your wedding day, the day you’re becoming one, and you’re taking a moment to take all of that in, together, and truly say whatever you want to each other before getting up in front of everyone for the ceremony. Everyone is going to be vying for your attention the entire rest of the day to congratulate you and talk to you, this will be just about the only moment you have alone together on your special day outside of the end of the night!

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Well, there you have it, 5 of what I believe are the best benefits of opting for a first look on your wedding day! Although first looks are super beneficial and will make for much less stress on your wedding day, I am in no way saying you will have a bad day if you don’t. If you decide to stick to being traditional and not seeing each other until you walk down the aisle, your day will still be beautiful, you’ll still get great photos and it will still be one of the best days of your life! I just wanted to share some of the many reasons I adore first looks and believe it really helps make your wedding day more laid back!

Want more wedding day tips? Check out “5 Ways You Can Be a Stress-Free Bride on Your Big Day” next!