Why have a first look at all? There are lots of different reasons couples decide a first look is right for them. Ultimately that is the purpose of this article: to help you in deciding on what is right for you on your big day. There are no right or wrong answers here, just lots of things to consider. Here is some of the feedback I have heard over the years when it comes to deciding on whether or not to do a first look on your wedding day. If you don't know what a first look is, be sure to check out my article explaining the First Look, and all the different variations you can do to make it your own.
The first reason is usually time & photographs. An hour post-ceremony during cocktail hour for photos of all the family groupings, bridal party AND gorgeous photos of the couple is just not very much. Especially if things get pushed back at all during the day, which happens all the time. It’s not an impossible amount of time; but if you are looking for extensive romantic portraits, that hour may not be enough. Especially if your family is huge. Especially if you want to do bunch of fun stuff with your bridal party. Especially if you chose your epic venue specifically to get tons and tons of photos. A first look may solve a huge time problem for you when planning out all the amazing and fun photos you want to make sure you get. If you do a first look, you can do any, or even ALL of those photos before the ceremony.
The second reason is cocktail hour. Cocktail hour is such an exciting part of the wedding day that the couple doesn’t usually get to enjoy. Having a first look and getting some of the photos done pre-ceremony can make your cocktail hour photo list much smaller, meaning you get to party at cocktail hour! Woohoo!
I also once had a couple who chose to literally do every photo before the ceremony, so that they could dine privately as newlyweds during their guest’s cocktail hour. That way they were able to mingle and move between tables during their reception instead of sitting and eating. It also have them quiet time together after saying ‘I do’.
There is often a greater reaction during the first look, because no one is watching. With the exception of sometimes the bridal party, the first look is usually just the couple and the photographers and videographers. We even clear the room or area if a couple requests we do so. It’s a very private and special moment. With no audience, and only your love, truer emotions are often let out. That moment becomes only yours.
The last reason for a couple to choose a first look simply has to do with preference. Having that moment privately, making time for that moment alone, and keeping it just between the two of you is so. incredibly. romantic.
You don’t get that epic moment of seeing each other for the first time from across the aisle, in front of all of your family and friends. It seems as though sometimes that moment is the only moment anyone ever pictured beforehand- as in they pictured it being a certain way their ENTIRE lives. If you have pictured seeing your loved one for the first time from down the aisle- don’t compromise that moment you’ve been waiting for.
Although the first look is more intimate, and often more emotional than the traditional big reveal, some couples find that it feels more staged. The sheer fact that so many people have eyes on you during the ceremony, does make it a bit easier to forget about your photo and video crew. I find that if you want to have a first look, but are worried it will feel staged, getting to know the people documenting your wedding as much as possible before the big day is a huge help. It really helps you to feel more relaxed around the photographers and videographers in general.
The last con is that you do have to be ready earlier in the day. You'll have to be ready in time to get the first look, instead of just to the ceremony. Which probably also means you might have to wake up earlier. This may or may not matter to you on such an important day, but is simply something to consider.
In the end, wether you decide to have a first look or not, your big day is about you. Do it the way that makes you happiest.