What is a first look? First Look Wedding Pros and Cons
When considering your wedding photography timeline for the day, one of the first questions you will stumble upon is – Should I do a first look? Most of our couples have a very vague idea of what a first look is and whether they want to do a wedding first look or not. They’ll start to go through the first wedding look pros and cons in their head, debate back and forth, and then go looking for even more reasons to have a first look.
While some couples might debate the answers to these questions, other couples may have another, much more simple question on their minds –
What is a first look?
The first look is an intimate moment on the wedding day shared between two people who see each other for the first time before the ceremony. Before you start shaking your head no – no, I don’t like the first look wedding tradition, I want tradition tradition! – here are a few reasons to have a first look.
5 Reasons to have a first look (or not)
When reviewing the first look wedding pros and cons, there are several factors that come into play when making the best decision for the first look wedding photos timeline vs the traditional timeline. Here are a couple of questions we like to ask our couples –
1) What time is sunset?
What time is sunset in relation to your ceremony? Is your ceremony time set in stone? A simple google search can tell you what time the sun will set on your wedding day. Based on the answers to these questions alone is 99% of the reason why most of our couples decide to do a wedding first look or not. If your ceremony is scheduled to end right before sunset, your family & bridal party portraits as well as couples portraits will take place in the dark. If you had your heart set on beautiful natural light sunset photos for the portrait portion of your day, and cannot move your ceremony time earlier, you might want to consider the first look wedding photos timeline.
2) What is your personality type?
Another question to ask yourself when considering the first look, is what is your personality type? It seems like an odd thing to consider, but we’ve had plenty of stressed out couples on the wedding day thank us for bringing up the new first look wedding tradition because they happened to be the more shy & quiet introverted type, or they happened be more of the Type A person.
Are you an introvert or are you an extrovert? Do you tend to lean more to the type A or type B personality? A common personality type we stumble across is the shy and quiet introvert. If you don’t love big crowds and you hate being the center of attention, the first look just might have been invented for you. With the first look, you get to connect with your fiance before walking down the aisle and have a moment to yourselves alone.
Another type of person we recommend to consider the first look is the Type A person. If you are a person that has the Type A personality and you tend to stress out or buckle under pressure, seeing your fiance for the first time in a small, intimate setting before the big ceremony will often help to soothe your nerves. You will feel as if a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and will be reminded that at the end of the day it’s about you and your fiance and your commitment to each other.
On the other hand, if you are more of the chill B personality type that tends to go with the flow, this might not apply to you and you would be chill with or without a first look, either way.
3) Are you a cryer?
This goes hand in hand with the personality type. Another question to ask yourself is are you or your fiance a cryer? If you KNOW or suspect there will be beautiful tears of joy streaming down your cheeks as you see each other for the first time as the reality sets in of the magnitude and the true meaning of the day – do you want this to happen in front of everyone at the ceremony, or would you prefer for this to be a more private moment? If you opt for the new first look wedding tradition, you have the opportunity to touch up your
cry face makeup before walking down the aisle.
On the other hand if you’re not a cryer, and you don’t suspect your fiance is either, this shouldn’t be a factor in your first look wedding pros and cons list.
4) How much time do you want to spend with your family and friends?
The next question we tell our couples to ask themselves is – how much time do you want to spend with your family & friends? If we manage to follow a first look wedding photos timeline for your wedding day, you have the option of getting most, if not all of your images taken before the ceremony. In that case, immediately following your holy union, you are free to join the cocktail hour, have a minute to yourselves to catch a break before the reception, or you can skip the cocktail hour all together and get the real party started early! With the first look, you have the ability to maximize your time spent with your family and friends during the reception.
5) How traditional are you?
The last consideration poses the question – How traditional are you? To some, tradition plays a major role in the wedding day. If tradition is important enough to trump all of the previous factors stated, then you should not do a first look.
If tradition is super important to you –
It might mean that your family, bridal party, and couples portraits will be taken in the dark. It might mean that you will not get the beautiful sunset images you had initially envisioned.
It might mean you will have to deal with wedding day nerves an extra hour or two longer than if you had done a first look.
It might mean your family, bridal party and couples photographs will be taken with tear stained cheeks.
It might mean you will have less time to spend with family and friends during your reception than if you had done your portraits prior to your ceremony.
The first look wedding photos timeline conclusion
When you are reviewing first look wedding pros and cons, it is important to look at all 5 factors listed above.
If photography is your primary concern, the time of sunset in correlation to your ceremony time will be your main deciding factor.
If your primary concern is the enjoyment of your wedding day, then your personality as well as the amount of time you’d like to spend with family and friends at your wedding will be your main deciding factors.
If tradition is your primary concern, you should do what you feel is right despite everything else. At the end of the day, it is your wedding and you should do what feels right to you!