Should you do a “First Look?”


March 12, 2020

For those of you who know even know what a “first look” is, it’s about a ten minute little alone time. Sometimes it’s when the groom sees his bride for the first time and other’s the groom is blind folded but the couple holds hands, prays together, whatever helps soothe the pre-ceremony jitters (for a few moments at least!).

Talk the talk
The first order of business: have a conversation with your fiancè about their feelings on the subject. In a few cases, I’ve had grooms whom are adamant that they DO NOT want to see their future bride until she’s walking down the aisle and the bride of the same couple could have gone either way on the subject. Even though it’s a short moment in time, it’s a pretty big deal and definitely something you both should be on the same page about!

Walk the walk
If you decide TO do a first look, make sure you coordinate with your photographer on how and where you would like to do so! Typically, I’m the one who sets the groom (or I ask my second photographer to do so for me if I have one) then I go grab the bride. When attempting to pull this off without the bride being seen, communication is KEY! When it’s time for the big moment, you can call your groom’s name to turn around, tap him on the shoulder or grab his hand; or really whatever YOU want to do! This is YOUR time together, no one else’s.
Pro Tip: If you’re choosing to do a first look, chat with your loved ones (i.e. moms) about it. Let them know if you’re okay with them being there or if you prefer them to get lost (lovingly of course). Be sure to let your photographer also know your wishes so they can monitor who’s trying to cling on! In my experience, most parents have NEVER heard of a first look so they may not mean to be as invasive as it seems.

My Opinion
As you can imagine, whether or not to do a first look comes up A LOT (hense this blog!). And I have the same little schpeel every time:
My husband and I didn’t do a first look, and I wouldn’t trade his reaction to me walking down the aisle for anything.
I was sick the ENTIRE day leading up to our 4:30pm ceremony time (in late October mind you. I know, I’m a photographer’s worst nightmare). Looking back I wish someone would have told me we could do a blindfold first look type deal or something as I truly believe my anxiety/excitement got the best of me. As corny as it is, my husband is my security blanket essentially so I believe that if we should have been able to just have a moment of some sort that I would have enjoyed myself more in the earlier parts of the day.
As a photographer, I LOVE first looks! Not only are they full of tear-jerking cuteness, but I’m able to give my couples more photos of the two of them and they’ll end up with a variety of locations/lighting for their portraits.
BUT, I also LOVE the reactions groom have to their bride walking down the aisle, seeing her for the very first time and also watching them squirm with anticipation before all the fun begins!

What does all that add up to?
It’s YOUR day. It’s YOUR choice. Sometimes your timeline will make that decision for you (more on timeline writing here). Whatever you decide, it will be perfect and beautiful! Also chat with your photographer about your options and their specific opinion. Some photographers push for a first look, as I did not have one myself, I can’t in good conscience do that! LOL

Are there any other options for a first look but not with my groom?
Why YES! You can do a first look with whomever you wish! The most popular are fathers (or father figure) and bridesmaids. I’ve also had a first look with grandpa and a groom with his momma, so the world is your oyster! Again, just make sure any and ALL first looks you would like to do are on your timeline and your photographer is aware of them! Our job is to document your day the best that we can and we CERTAINLY don’t want to miss a thing!

Thanks for stickin with me! If you have any questions, please comment below so we can share the knowledge!


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