Some first look details
What is a first look?
A first look is a newer wedding tradition where the couple sees one another privately before the ceremony.
How long does a first look take?
A first look typically takes about half an hour.
The literal “first look,” that is having the groom turn around and see the bride, is really only about 5 seconds long. But we always allow a few minutes for you to just take each other in because this is a once in a life time moment and it doesn’t need to be rushed.
Then we spend about 15 minutes taking a few formal portraits of you on your wedding day.
Finally, we leave you completely alone for about 10 minutes. No parents, no wedding party, no coordinators, no photographers. Just the two of you.
Where should you do your first look?
We usually look around on your wedding day to find a private location with great light. But if there’s a specific spot at your venue that you just love, we’ll do it there.
If you’re both getting ready at the same location (on site at the venue, same hotel, family farm) we suggest doing it there. It’s much easier to orchestrate getting you into to position without seeing one another if you started in the same spot.
If you’re getting ready at separate locations, then you should have a first look at your ceremony site. The groom should typically arrive first and hide away while the bride arrives. You’d hate to go through all this trouble only to have your first look through a car window.
5 Reasons to have a first look
1. Calm your nerves and enjoy your wedding day
Without fail, couples always seem to get a little anxious right before they see one another. The whole thing just becomes so REAL as you get closer and closer to seeing each other. And when we line you up, and make you wait in a tiny room, and then go stand in front of all your friends and family while you wait to see each other the anxiety just grows and grows and grows. Then when you finally are together you can’t talk or touch for 30 minutes
But also without fail, seeing one another calms those nerves. Unlike in the ceremony, once you see each other you’re able to talk and touch and share how you’re feeling and unwind a little. When couples have a few private minutes to see each other they always walk away feeling relaxed, reassured, and ready.
Now during the ceremony you aren’t focusing on the anxiousness, but on the beauty of it all. You already did your worrying and now you can just enjoy the walk down the aisle and the ceremony. We have NEVER found a first look to take away from the walk down the aisle. If anything it improves it.
2. Get to your reception earlier
With the traditional wedding day timeline of not seeing one another until the ceremony, family portraits, wedding party portraits, and portraits of the two of you all have to be done AFTER the ceremony. These photos can easily take 2 hours
That’s 2 hours that you aren’t celebrating with your guests. That’s 2 hours you aren’t at cocktail hour (cocktail two hours now). That’s 2 hours minutes your wedding party is just waiting to be introduced into the reception so they can join in the party.
But with a first look, we can take care of any and all of those portraits before the ceremony. If you’ve already seen one another we can do the whole wedding party and the bulk of the family photos hours before the ceremony even starts. Then after the ceremony we take a few family portraits (we never expect grandma to be there 2 hours early) and spend about 30 minutes taking some just married golden hour portraits of y’all.
Now we only need an hour after the ceremony. And you’re in the reception an hour earlier. Your wedding party doesn’t have to wait as long. You get more time your day to just enjoy your wedding day.
This is especially helpful in the winter when the sun sets as early as 6PM. Without a first look you’ll have to have a 2PM ceremony to avoid having your pictures after dark. But if we took couple’s portraits, wedding party portraits, and family portraits before the ceremony, the wedding can start after dark and you’ve still got all the beautiful portraits you want.
3. A first look gives you more portraits
Portraits are why you’re spending all this money on a photographer. You need a beautiful picture of the two of you to hang in your home. But wedding days can be hectic and if you’re not careful, you may end up with only a handful of pictures of y’all together on your wedding day.
With a traditional schedule, couple’s portraits are usually the last thing before the reception starts. So if the day is running behind, this is always the time that gets cut short to make sure we get back on schedule before dinner starts.
But with a first look, we’ve already had a block of time to photograph y’all. Then if we can get 15 minutes after the ceremony, and about 15 minutes after dark when the reception slows down, you’ll receive about 40% more portraits of the two of you than a couple who chose not to have a first look.
4. Have some time alone
Speaking of hectic wedding days, you’ll spend approximately 0 minutes together alone on your wedding day. At our own wedding we left the reception early to go get tacos and just be together.
Your wedding is about y’all being together forever, so it’s always struck us as weird that you spend so little time together at it.
That’s why we always make sure to give you some time alone on your wedding day. We usually go gather up the bridesmaids and groomsmen and give you some time together.
Couples use this time to pray, to talk about how they’re feeling, to look at the reception hall and admire it. However you use it, we believe having some time alone is the biggest benefit of a first look.
5. See each other when you look your best
You spent hours getting ready for this day. Hair and make up, the most beautiful gown, the perfect accessories. You look fantastic.
Hours later, after the ceremony when you finally get to be photographed as a couple, your lipstick needs to be touched up, you have fly away hairs, your necklace is crooked, the heat has made you uncomfortable, your dress is getting frustrating to move in, and your bouquet is getting heavy.
When we do a first look first, your groom gets to see you when you look your absolute best for the maximum impact. We also get to photograph you while everything is still fresh and perfect, so your portraits look the best.
Later, when we take portraits after the ceremony, things will be more relaxed, more of a “we did it” relief feeling, so putting down the bouquet, loosening a tie, taking of a jacket that’s making you sweat or dress shoes that are uncomfortable works great because we already got those elegant formal portraits after your first look.
Once you’ve seen one another and we’ve take your portraits, you can relax for the rest of the day.
First look inspiration
Here are some of our favorite first look photos to inspire you!