Are you planning your wedding day timeline and wondering if a first look is right for you and your fiance? First looks can be a controversial topic in the wedding world, and I totally get it! With years of being told that brides aren’t supposed to see their groom until their ceremony on their wedding day because it’s bad luck, I can totally see why people would be against it. But I’m here to tell you that not only is it not bad luck (I promise people aren’t getting divorced because their partner saw them too soon!) but it can actually help you have a less stressful, more fun wedding day! Read on to see a few reasons why I personally love first looks…
Better For Your Timeline
If you’re planning a ceremony in the late afternoon, a first look can help alleviate the lack of appropriate time between the ceremony and reception. Ideally, I like to have at least an hour of time to photograph the wedding couple and their wedding party (30 minutes for each). When you have a wedding ceremony planned at 4:30 and cocktail hour immediately after, your grand entrance will most likely be scheduled at 6:00, leaving only an hour to crunch in a receiving line, family portraits, bridal party pictures, couples’ portraits, and then time to bustle the dress and use the bathroom before the big moment. And that doesn’t include travel time if your ceremony and reception are located in different places, or if in the same place it limits us to stay very close to the venue instead of taking a golf cart or UTV to an amazing location. Sounds like A LOT of rushing, right? And for me, that’s not nearly enough time to assure couples are getting the pictures they’ll want to look back on with everyone. I don’t want photos to feel like work, and I don’t want friends and family to feel like the time you’re using to take pictures with them is a quick, obligatory duty. I want pictures to be fun, lighthearted, emotional, and exciting.
The Solution: Planning a first look prior to the ceremony can help ensure you’re not crunched for time later. If your ceremony is at 4:30 like I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to plan to be back and “in hiding” by 4:00 while guests arrive. That’ll give you time to freshen up, relax, chug some water, and use the bathroom. Schedule your first look for 2:50 so you have some alone time together until 3:30. At 3:30 your bridal party pictures can begin, and we’ll finish off with some fun and laughs with them, plus motivation for the rest of the day to be THE BEST.
An emotional moment for just the two of you
Not every couple loves being watched by everyone they know in such a vulnerable and emotional moment as when you see your significant other for the first time on the day you commit yourselves to one another for a lifetime. I know, there’s a lot to process in that last sentence, but there’s also a lot couples go through in that moment too! I almost feel like sometimes the moment is less special when it happens during the wedding ceremony because you’re not focused on that person. Instead, they’re nervous and trying not to show their emotions because they know people are staring at them. An audience tends to kill the vibe!
The Solution: Plan your first look with just the two of you so that you and your fiance can share that special moment together. No one else is entitled to have that moment with the two of you (except me I guess, but I promise not to kill the energy!). Use it as an opportunity to have a moment alone without gawking eyes, judgment, expectations, and Aunt Susan’s iPad in the way.
Enjoy the rest of the day with your guests!
Many guests tell me they’d love to be a part of their cocktail hour, have drinks with guests, say hello to everyone, and try the appetizers, but it can be logistically impossible sometimes when you have to have pictures between the ceremony and reception. And let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than trying to photograph a hangry wedding party when they know everyone else is stuffing their face with food and drinks! No one really wants to take a break from the festivities once they’re underway and the rest of the guests are having fun.
The Solution: Get all of the wedding party pictures out of the way before the ceremony so you can take your formal family portraits right after the ceremony. Then bustle your dress, take off the veil, and join in on the festivities! You can still have your big entrance before dinner, but the evening after the ceremony won’t be rushing from one thing to another.
Hey there! I'm Carly D'Angelo-Hall - a photographer specializing in documenting weddings across the U.S. If you love adventure, experiencing new things, and if you like to live "outside of the box", let's talk about how I can help you create and capture the wedding day of your dreams! Visit wildnorthweddings.com to view all-inclusive wedding day and adventure session packages.
Wild North Weddings is a wedding and elopement photographer and guide documenting weddings in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Scranton, the Poconos, Greensburg, and all cities in between!