Wedding planning

What's a First Look? Should You Have One?

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:


1. Intimate

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.



First Look Photo

7 tips for planning a perfect wedding

Planning a wedding can be stressful. There are many things to remember which makes it very easy for something to slip your mind. I put together these tips to help make sure you get that perfect wedding you deserve:

Wedding Photo


1. Ask for help

This is easily one of the most overlooked tips in planning a wedding. Often brides feel like it's their job to plan everything or they don't want to bother anyone. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most family and friends would love to help they just don't know how. Instead of having one person do many things you can have a few people do small things. When the wedding comes you want to be able to enjoy everything and not be stressing over every little thing. Marriage is a beautiful, life changing event so don't miss out on enjoying it. You could always hire a wedding planner as well. I know you probably want to save money for the wedding budget but isn't a stress free wedding worth it?

2. Start planning early

You can never start planning a wedding too early. There are a lot of things that need to be done so by starting early you can plan little by little. Doing a few things here and there is less stressful than running yourself to death at the last minute. This also helps you if something falls through because it gives you plenty of time to fix it. Rushing will make you dread the whole process and could create regrets down the road. The best things to start off with is budget and how many guests you want.

3. Perfect lighting for ceremony

There is one thing photographers love and that is light! The reason we love light is because it can make or break photos. I highly suggest hiring a photographer but even if you don't the better the light you have the better those guest pictures will look. Great light with a bad camera is better than horrible light with the best camera. When planning a place for the ceremony make sure it has good lighting especially if it's in doors. If it's outside find a nice lightly shaded place because you also don't want to stare in direct sunlight during the whole ceremony.

4. Save budget on a guest list instead

I know it's easy to save money by not hiring a photographer, hair and make up artist or wedding planner. However, one of the best ways is by focusing on the guest list. If you book a venue they usually charge per person so this can raise the price more than you expect. I also know so many people who spend so much money on invitations to send to people who wouldn't come anyway. Instead of sending everyone an invitation just send the people who have always been there for you both and the ones you know will come. Then use all the money you saved to help you enjoy the wedding process better or for someone to capture your wedding memories.

5. Take time picking bridesmaids and groomsmen

When picking bridesmaids or groomsmen make sure you think carefully on it. You want people who have been there since day one or even siblings. Never pick a new friend or someone in the family you barely see. You will always keep your wedding photos so you don't want to have pictures with someone you may part ways with down the road. When you reflect on the day or even show your kids the pictures you want it to be a heart warming moment.

6. Don't go cheap with a photographer

It's easy to see a cheap price and go with it but we often get what we pay for. It may even sound tempting to just keep photos that the guests will take. However, hiring a photographer can capture moments that the guests wont see and will be more professional. Hiring a photographer can get you getting ready pictures, detail shots, ceremony, reception, family portraits, and etc. They have an eye for stuff they know that you cherish or will want to look back on down the road. Uncle Joe just snaps a few pictures and is ready to go eat at the reception, that doesn't cut it lol. When looking for prices also check out the photographer's work. You want to make sure their style fits what you like. Also make sure you hire a friendly photographer who interacts and becomes like part of the family. Don't hire that person who just keeps quite and ignores everyone. Hire someone who cares about the details and will celebrate with you on your special day! When hiring a photographer you want to receive an experience not just photos. Also scheduling an engagement session can help you get to know them better and makes everyone more comfortable. It also helps you get out of a situation if they are rude or unprofessional.

7. Look good but don't over do it

We all want to look good especially if it is a special day to us. However, we shouldn't go on a stressful diet or do anything that will cause us to dread the days leading to the wedding. Brides don't forget the groom wants to marry you how you are. Guys there is no need to workout at the gym everyday trying to look good for the bride either lol. Another good tip is to think on hiring a hair and makeup artist. They aren't too expensive and know how to make you look your best. It also just lets you relax and just take everything in . If you do your own makeup don't go overboard. Also stay away from instant tans or etc. We all want to look good but don't do anything drastic that may ruin things for you. Just be comfortable in who you are and know you're already beautiful. My favorite saying is don't fix what isn't broken.

*Bonus tip

Don't get a haircut or spend too much time in the sun close to the wedding date. We have all had bad haircuts so you never know when one might come and surprise you. Also too much time in the sun can give you random or embarrassing tan lines. Imagine wedding photos with two huge white circles around your eyes because you wore sunglasses at the lake all day the week of your wedding.