First looks have definitely grown in popularity since we started shooting weddings. More couples than ever are pushing tradition and superstition aside and opting to do first looks. Although they seem common, not everyone understands exactly what a first look is, how it works, or why it might be the right choice for you. I'm going to take you through everything you need to know about doing a first look.
A first look is when the bride and groom decide to see each other before the ceremony. It is a private moment with only the bride and groom (and usually your very discrete and respectful photographers).
We start the first look about 2 hours before the ceremony. You want to make sure you have plenty of time and that no guests will be around. It's intended to be a very private moment.
The groom stands a short distance away with his back turned. The bride walks up to her groom in her wedding dress, carrying her bouquet, and taps her groom on the shoulder. He turns around and sees his bride for the first time.
David and I position ourselves at different angles during the first look. One of us focuses on capturing the groom's expression, and the other focuses on capturing the bride's. We also make sure to get a mix of wide and close-up shots.
A first look is a fun thing to do. It is a really special moment for just the two of you. Here are a few reasons couples opt to do a first look.
After your first look, we give the two of you a little space to talk and relax. When you guys are ready, we begin to take a series of portraits of the two of you. Once we finish those, we add in the wedding party. We take photos of the full wedding party together as well as just photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. If your immediate family members are close by, we may even take some family photos. Taking all of these photos beforehand will allow you and your groom to get to your reception much faster.
It's a pretty special moment when a bride and groom see each other for the first time. You will have beautiful images from it for the rest of your lives. If you choose to go the more traditional route of seeing your groom for the first time as you walk down the aisle, we will of course be documenting that special moment. However, you will definitely get more documentation by doing a first look.
Your wedding day can be a little overwhelming (in a good way!). You are so excited and have so many emotions bubbling up inside of you. Everyone is going to want to talk to you and congratulate you. It can be hard to get a few moments of alone time. A first look gives you and your groom a few minutes of private time to connect, talk, and relax together before the ceremony.
Another major reason to consider doing a first look is the lighting. If you are planning a wedding between November - March, the sun sets fairly early in the day. It's always a great idea to check the time the sun is going to set on your wedding day. If want to have some golden light in your photos but still have an evening ceremony, a first look could be the perfect solution!
It's also super sweet to do a first look with your dad too!!
Yes! There are plenty of other things you can do as an alternative to a first look. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.
Scent is one of the strongest triggers of memory. It can be really fun for each of you to pick out a perfume or cologne for the other to wear on your wedding day. You can give these to each other as gifts. Whenever either of your smells that scent it will always trigger happy memories and take you back to your wedding day.
This is what David and I decided to do, and it is something I will treasure forever. We wrote each other notes about why we loved each other, how we were feeling, and everything we were excited for. I cried my eyeballs out when I read what David wrote. Sidenote -- don't put your makeup on until after you have read the note.
I've seen a lot of couples opt to do this. You find a little secluded nook separated by a wall or doorway. This allows the two of you to hold hands, say a little prayer, or just talk -- whatever is right for you guys. This is a great way for you to get a little alone time without having to see each other before the ceremony.
Give each other a little something special. Try to think of something they have always wanted or something they'd never expect. The reactions are priceless.