Should You Do A First Look?

This is a question I get from a lot of my couples. Tradition tells us that "it's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding," but this is one tradition that I've seen slowly creeping into oblivion (along with the one that says the Father of the Bride is the only one who can walk the bride down the aisle).  As the wedding industry becomes more progressive, old traditions are taking on new forms or are being left out of weddings entirely (goodbye, garter toss). Here's what you need to know about the First Look:

What's a First Look?

A First Look is where the bride and groom schedule a time to see each other before the ceremony. This is usually after she's had her hair and makeup done and is completely dressed (gown, earrings, shoes, the whole 9 yards), as is he. They are seeing each other in their wedding attire for the first time. 

Why do a First Look?

Wedding days are chaotic. As soon as the ceremony is over, you'll be surrounded by your friends and family through the end of the night. I'm not kidding. Chances of you having a moment alone together are slim to none. First Looks give the two of you a chance to be alone together and celebrate your wedding day before the chaos begins. 

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What does this mean for photos?

From a more practical standpoint, First Looks, logistically, make a lot of sense. You get to be photographed in a beautiful and completely candid moment, without the time constraint of needing to get back to the reception for dinner or toasts. Usually, right after the First Look is when we'll photograph your portraits. Together, we'll explore your venue and photograph the two of you alone. This can add up to 40 minutes of creative photo time (lots of candids and fun moments) on your wedding day.

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Does it affect my guests?

Only in the best way. Doing a First Look also allows you the option to take your Bridal Party photos and Immediate Family portraits before the wedding as well. This means that you'll actually get to spend your Cocktail Hour with your guests. Usually, when couples opt out of a First Look, Portraits of the Bride and Groom, Bridal Party photos, and Immediate Family portraits are done after the ceremony, during the cocktail hour. This means two things:

  1. We have only one hour to photograph: the two of you alone, your entire bridal party, and all of your family photos (immediate and extended). This likely means 15 minutes of Bride and Groom photos, 10 minutes of Bridal Party photos, and 15 minutes of Family Portraits (and that's assuming everything and everyone is running on schedule).
  2. You won't get the chance to spend all that much time with your guests on your wedding day: As soon as the reception begins, your guests are ushered to their table, you to yours, dinner begins, toasts begin, dancing begins, etc. Sometimes, cocktail hours are your best shot at getting to celebrate with all the people you invited to your wedding! Take advantage of it!

"But will it still be special when I do walk down the aisle?"

Absolutely! When you start walking down the aisle and you and your soon-to-be-spouse lock eyes, nothing else will matter (it sounds cheesy but it's totally true). The moment is here. Whether or not you did a First Look won't even cross your mind. 

If you're torn between doing a First Look or not, save the veil for the ceremony! Wearing a veil can completely change your entire bridal look! It'll be like your First Look all over again. 

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"I'm still feeling like I don't want to do a First Look..."

That's totally fine! Whatever you decide, I will make it work. It's your wedding day!

~

Are you doing a First Look? Did this post help you decide whether to do one or not? Let me know below! If you have additional First Look questions, feel free to comment, reach out through my Contact page or email me at janine@janinelicarephotography.com.

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