I wanted to make a blog to educate brides and grooms on what a first look is. The funny thing is I had no idea what it was before I got into photography. Close to half of the brides I talk to usually haven't heard about first looks. My goal for this blog is for you to know what it is and if it's right for you. I'm going to give you some pros and cons of having a First Look so you can make an educated decision. At the end of the day it is up to you to decide so never feel pressured or forced to have one.
What a "First Look" is:
First, I want to tell you what a First Look is. It's the time right after the bride and groom have gotten ready when they decide to meet at a secluded area. This is an area where the photographer usually decides on that has really good lighting and is very appeasing to the eyes. The first look is often just the Bride, Groom, and photographer/videographer. It's a more intimate moment because it takes away all of eyes that would be staring at you. Usually the First Look starts by having the groom facing the opposite direction of the bride. Once the photographer tells the groom not to turn around, the photographer then leads the bride to the groom. The bride then touches the groom shoulder and that's when he turns around. Some bride and grooms decide to have photos and video of the whole First Look. Now that you know what a First Look is lets get into some pros and cons.
The pros of having one:
First Looks are so intimate because it's just the bride, groom, and a camera. There aren't many eyes staring them down. There isn't any screaming children or anything to draw attention away from the moment. Also some men and women hate showing emotion in front of others so this allows them both to feel comfortable showing emotion. I know us guys like to act tough and hold it together but when it's just us and our lady that's when we let our guard down typically. It also gives the bride and groom time to talk and just enjoy the moment. During the ceremony once they see each other the ceremony proceeds to start. A First Look stops everything for just a moment so they can just spend time together.
2. Less picture taking after the ceremony
After a First Look the photographer then does the Bride and Groom portrait session. This will get that out of the way earlier so after the ceremony you can go straight to partying at the reception. After the bride and groom portraits, if the photographer also does the bridal party or family portraits, you can just relax the whole time and take everything in. If not then the only thing you have to do after the wedding is family portraits and bridal party and then you get to party. That is better than being in pictures for 45 minutes or longer right after the wedding. Doing this also saves your guests from waiting for you at the reception for too long. Obviously it's your wedding so they shouldn't have a problem waiting anyway though.
3. Controlled environment plus more time
The photographer picks the place for the first look so you can bet it's going to have perfect lighting and everything is going to be well controlled. During the walk down the aisle it could be dark, someone could be in the way, or etc. Obviously a photographer will be in a good spot beforehand but light and other factors could be a problem. A controlled environment means everything is planned out and all parties are ready. Also doing this means the bride and groom get more pictures together. What if after the ceremony it starts raining or the weather turns sour? That means less pictures of you. However, after the First Look it's just the bride and groom getting as many pictures as possible. No one is waiting around or distracting the couple.
The cons of having one:
1. Your wedding day starts earlier
Since the First Look and the bride and groom pictures are happening before the ceremony this means you have to get an earlier start. This means at least an hour less of sleep unless you can go to bed earlier. You have to make sure you both are all dressed and ready to go at least an hour before the ceremony. That way you have an hour to do a First Look and the bride and groom portraits beforehand. If you also do family portraits afterwards then you might need to give yourself even more time.
2. Prevents family from seeing actual first look
Doing a private First Look means both families won't see the actual first time the groom sees the bride. If this bothers you then you might not want to do a first look.
3. It's not traditional
First looks aren't traditional so your family might not like it. Some families are heavy on tradition while some are laid back. If some family members get upset or just do not prefer it and that bothers you then you might not want to do it. Remember, it is your wedding so carefully think on what will make you both the happiest.
At the end of the day it's your wedding day. Do what you two want and not what someone else is forcing. If the pros for you are way more beneficial then do it. If any of the cons would really effect you both then don't do it. Regardless if you do one or not your wedding is going to be a special day that you remember for the rest of your life. Also be sure to watch some YouTube videos on First Looks. See what they look like and hear what brides thought afterwards. You can never do too much research.