You’ve booked your vendors. Picked out the perfect dress. Dreamed about the moment you walk down the aisle. Now your wedding planner begins creating the wedding day timeline. She asks, “Do you want to do a first look?” Trust me. There are many first look pros and cons.
You say yes, but you second guess your self because you start to worry that it might ruin that “aisle moment.” Will it?
Hi ya’ll! My brides have been about 50/50 split this year with doing first looks. I love first looks for so many reasons, and I also love the traditional aspect of seeing your future spouse for the first time down the aisle (deep down, I belong in the 1920’s with a swing dress on, so I definitely love the traditional aspects of weddings). In fact, I myself didn’t do a first look at my own wedding! There really are many first look pros and cons.
Although, I’ve grown to love first looks, especially as a luxury wedding photographer, and I’ve realized that a lot of couples aren’t exactly sure if they want to do one or not. So why not write a blog post about first looks to help you decide if it’s right for you. Bonus: Bethany Faber, a professional wedding planner herself, wrote to me about her experience with first looks and why she loves them from a wedding planning perspective!
I want to start off by telling you 3 reasons why I did not do a first look on my wedding day.
1. Our ceremony was in the morning. This was one of the biggest reasons why we were able to wait to see each other down the aisle. Considering all the time it takes for us ladies to get ready, we didn’t want to wake up even earlier to do our hair and makeup.
2. Our ceremony and reception were at different locations. This allowed Tim and I to take pictures between the two while everyone else made their way to the reception.
3. Like I said, my husband and I are definitely more traditional. We loved seeing each other for the first time down the aisle, and I think our personalities played a huge roll in that.
Now that those points are out of the way, I want to chat about why I also LOVE first looks!
1. First…a first look is NOT the same thing as walking down the aisle!
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t like the idea of a first look when I heard about it. I had a hard time envisioning both moments being intimate and special. Although, if you view the first look as a completely separate event that has a distinct purpose on your wedding day, you may just warm up to the idea! Don’t think of the first look as seeing your husband or wife for the first time. Try thinking about it as the private, intimate, and encouraging moments before you commit your lives to one another. I personally believe that the wedding ceremony is sacred, and no other moment in the day will compare. The ceremony is the moment you’ve been preparing for. The ceremony is the first moment of your future as husband and wife. The first look does not have take away from that moment, but in fact, it may even ADD to it! I love what Bethany wrote about this. She says,
“I think seeing each other before gets the jitters and initial anxiety out so that you can both just be excited and experience happy emotions! As a bride’s wedding planner, I see her in the morning, while she’s getting ready, and right before the wedding ceremony. Yet, I still cry every time one of my brides walks down the aisle. The moment a bride walks down the aisle is magical. Every single time!” – Bethany Faber Events
2. More time with each other on YOUR wedding day.
The next point I want to talk about is how a first look allows you to have more time with your partner on your wedding day. I’m sure you’ve already thought about this one, but have you thought about it in the grand scheme of the day? Without a first look, you may end up spending more time APART than TOGETHER? It’s very common to have a ceremony at 6:00PM. If that’s you, you’ll end up spending the majority of your very own wedding day apart from the very person you are marrying! This is the day you may have waited over a year for, and you are choosing to spend most of it apart. Unless your ceremony is in the morning, like mine was, I would strongly encourage my couples to have a first look. Even though I ranked this as my second point, on the first look pros and cons list this is a really important one to think about for your wedding day.
3. Timeline timeline timeline…
Wedding day timelines are so important! Whether or not you have a wedding planner, I highly suggest creating a strong timeline. Timelines are what will help the day run smoothly and make EVERYONE less stressed. Naturally, first looks lead to a less stressful schedule, and your guests will not have to wait around as long. You get to spend more time with your friends and family instead of leaving them for at least an hour to finish pictures. Bethany Faber writes,
“I see most photographers need about an hour after the ceremony to take family photos, wedding party photos, and couple portraits. Then we have to gather the wedding party and bustle the bride’s dress before their grand introductions. Make sure that you have snacks and beverages available for your guest during that hour (the cocktail hour), and consider some entertainment such as games or a photo booth to keep them occupied!” – Bethany Faber Events
A financial bonus of doing a first look would be that you don’t need a cocktail hour! You can go right to the reception after taking family photos.
So what did Instagram say?
I asked real brides about first look pros and cons, and I loved hearing their responses! So before I go, I want to leave you with some of their responses. Know that every couple and wedding is different, and there is truly no right or wrong answer as to whether you should do a first look. Simply consider all of your options and choose what is best for you! To view more wedding images, click here.
“Since the ceremony is so important to us, our “first look” is going to be down the aisle.”
“Yay – because it’s often the only alone/intimate/quiet time a couple has that day!”
“We plan on having one so we can get pictures, then spend more time with our guests!”
“No! I loved seeing my spouse for the first time as we are getting married.”
“No, but I wish I would have just for the pictures.”
“I did one, and I’m so glad I did! I ended up being more emotional going down the aisle anyways.”
“We didn’t do one for our personal wedding! We wanted the aisle moment to be raw.”
“We did it and I’m thankful. We had a few minutes to ourselves. 1000% would do it again.”