Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today I'm talking about a wedding planning topic that I'm super passionate about: The First Look. This part of the wedding day takes place before the ceremony, and is when the wedding couple see each other for the first time in their wedding attire. Words cannot describe the emotion and excitement you two will feel during these tender moments! Arturo and I did a First Look on our wedding day, and we're so glad we did.
The First Look is such a big part of a wedding day, and definitely one of my favorites! I encourage my couples to do a First Look for a variety of reasons, which I'll touch on in some points below. Generally, a First Look starts off with the bride coming up behind the groom, who has his back to her. She taps him on the shoulder to turn around, where they both can then soak in the vision of their love dressed up for their wedding day!
Top Reasons to do a First Look:
1. It calms your nerves.
One of our biggest reasons for choosing to do a First Look on our wedding day was to ease our nerves before I walked down the aisle. Like most couples, Arturo and I were jittery with excitement to exchange our vows, but seeing each other before the ceremony allowed us to have some private moments to process the range of emotions we were feeling!
2. It allows for a romantic portrait session early in the day so you don't miss your entire cocktail hour.
Working in a First Look to your wedding timeline allows for the day to be a bit more breathable. After my couples do a First Look, I like to take them for some private romantic portraits without any family members or the bridal party around. This not only allows me to get plenty of beautiful shots of the couple filled with pre-ceremony excitement, but it also means they won't have to worry about running out of time for romantic portraits after your ceremony since this is generally when family formals and some bridal party portraits are taken, depending on the day's timeline. If time permits, I always enjoy whisking my couples away after formal photos for a few additional romantic portraits as they bask in their newlywed bliss before sending them off to their cocktail hour!
3. It ensures we'll still have some sunlight.
Depending on the time of year you're getting married, the sun sets earlier (cooler months) or later (warmer months). If your ceremony won't be ending until close to sunset, this means we won't have much use of daylight for romantic portraits outdoors. Since natural light (sunlight) plays a key role in my signature style, I always advise my clients to at least consider doing a First Look.
Below you'll find one of my favorite First Looks I've ever photographed. The emotions and excitement Amanda and Will felt were nothing short of beautiful!
If needed, the bridesmaids might help the bride walk to the first look location to make sure her veil and dress stay clean and are properly laid out for photos (of course, as a photographer, I'm always keep my eye out for these details too!). Often times, the groom has his back to the bride, and waits until she taps him on the shoulder to signal him to turn around.
Oh, those reactions! The anticipation of seeing each other on your wedding day builds up even more in the minutes before your first look, making for beautiful, genuine portraits! If possible, ask your bridal party to step away from the First Look location so they aren't in the background of your photos, as well as to give you two some moments alone.
After a First Look, I generally like to take my couples away for a few minutes to capture some romantic portraits before moving onto bridal party formals.
Now that you know about the benefits of doing a First Look, talk with your partner about finding the perfect spot to have it!