For some couples, it is very important to them to see their partner for the first time at their wedding ceremony. I get it, it’s a tradition that people love and have probably envisioned in their heads over and over again. Because of this a lot of people don’t give first looks a chance when it comes to planning out their wedding day. Or they listen to their parents who don’t want them to do it. So whether you are trying to decide on your own, or want to share with someone why you are doing a first look, I hope this will help. See, I am a big fan of first looks. As a Cleveland wedding planner, I find that they help make the day run smoothly and allow for so much more breathing room.
What is a First Look?
Before we jump in, I do want to make sure you understand what exactly a first look is and what it entails. A first look is a special moment between the couple, where they see each other for the first time BEFORE the ceremony. It can happen with your wedding party and immediate family watching over. Or as I recommend, just between you two….and of course your photographer and videographer to capture every second of it. We pick a secluded spot, get everyone into position and then book it out of the way. When your photo/video team is ready they will tell you what to do. Then while they capture it all while you take some time to drink it all in. Seriously, take your time. You won’t get this special moment again, so take it all in. This is the start of a very big day.
Top 10 Reasons to Have a First Look on Your Wedding Day
10.) You get the most out of your photographer and videographer. With a first look, you get MORE photos! By starting the photo train early, you can get all of your personal and wedding party shots done before the ceremony begins, and then you still have time during cocktail hour for family photos and anything else you missed before. It also gives your wedding day team time to shoot the reception area when they might not be able to normally because they’re trying to get all the basic ones captured. No first look and you have to cram everything into the cocktail hour which really limits what you can capture. You spend a lot of money on your day, so why not get more photos for your money?
9.) You can have your pictures taken anywhere you want. You can even have your pictures taken at multiple locations before the ceremony starts. Let’s say your heart is set on getting photos by the lake but there’s just no time to get there between the ceremony and reception. Enter the First Look.
8.) Daylight. Yep, lighting is a perk of a First Look. If your ceremony starts in the afternoon, and your photos are being done afterward, depending on the season you are now racing the light. If you do your photos before, you get beautiful natural light that isn’t fading. It can completely change the look and feel of your photos, just ask your photographer.
7.) Walking down the aisle can be nerve-wracking. Am I going to trip? Is my veil on straight? Am I smiling too much? Not enough? Did my parents get to the right seat in the front? Am I giving the right reaction? Am I doing this right? I had a groom once that didn’t want a first look. But the night before the wedding he was so nervous to give the right “reaction” he was becoming ill with the thought of all eyes on him. So we changed the plan to a first look, and it completely calmed his nerves. The stress of “getting it right”, all 30 seconds of it, can sometimes get in the way of enjoying it. A First Look gives you the opportunity to control the situation and not feel the pressure of all of your guest’s eyes on you. And by the time you walk down the aisle, your jitters will be gone, and you can truly enjoy the moment.
6.) You are guaranteed to capture “the look”. Capturing the first time you see each other during the ceremony is really difficult. There are so many variables and the timing has to be perfect. And if you only have a single shooter, who are they going to focus on? Having a first look means that THE shot is going to happen. Everything is set up and planned. The photo and video team can get the perfect angle, leading to the perfect shot.
5.) You get time alone. So often is the case that things are timed so that there is very little breathing room for the couple. You don’t want to keep your guests waiting, right? So you rush from one thing to the next, getting pulled and pushed in multiple directions. It’s exhausting, it’s overwhelming and halfway through the day you are just over it. With a first look, you get those moments alone, together. Probably one of the only moments you will get alone together until the day is done.
4.) It gives you more time for photos, plain and simple. Traditionally photos happen during the cocktail hour. That means your photographer has about 45 minutes to get all of your photos done. And that’s if you are having everything in one location. If there is traveling involved you now have to figure that time in there too. A First Look is planned to give you 2-3 hours to take photos. That also means you can have more FUN taking your photos. Who doesn’t like having FUN?
3.) Cocktails and Mingling. With all of the photos out of the way, you can actually enjoy your cocktail hour mingling with guests and thanking them for attending. You paid for it, you should enjoy it.
2.) There’s time to relax before the ceremony. Yes, sometimes it can mean an earlier start time, but when you are done with your first look and initial photos, you can relax again. Enjoying the entire day together with some close friends.
1.) Your ceremony will start on time. With my couples, I always add in extra time for those “running late” moments. Add into that your First Look, and you’ll be sitting around waiting for your wedding to start. It really comes down to the first look, and of course my amazing time management skills. But really, a first look gets everything started off on the right foot to run smoothly and on time.
BONUS: I have been married for 12 years at the writing of this blog, and I still vividly remember the first look I had with my husband. We were on the back porch of the house we rented for the weekend. Our wedding party and family were on the porch above looking down. He turned around and when we got closer to talk he covered my eyes from the sun because it was bright out. We had a few moments alone and that’s when the day really started for me. I felt happy and calm and off we went on our golf carts to take pictures. It was so special and still holds a huge place in my heart. Trust me, you will not regret it.
So there you have it. It still may not be your cup of tea, and that’s fine, but at least you took the time to consider it. And maybe if we sit down and chat about it in person, I can help ease any more fears you have about it. Contact me now and let’s set up a time.
Featured Image by: Vesic Photography