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Today I wanted to hop on the blog and share some “first look” experiences straight from some of our past clients. I would say that about a third of our couples choose to do a first look on their wedding day. Some couples love the idea right off the bat, while others want to stick with a more traditional experience of walking down the aisle and seeing each other for the first time in the church. Either option is fine by us, but we typically ask our couples to least consider a first look while they discuss the timeline of their wedding day.
We strongly encourage first looks if:
the ceremony and reception are at the same location (which often means we don’t have a lot of time between the ceremony and reception for portraits)
it’s a winter wedding and the ceremony doesn’t end until after sunset
portraits are really important to a couple and they are looking for a lot of diversity in their photos
With that said, let’s take a look at what 3 of our recent couples had to say about their “first look” experience!
Christine and JJ
One of the main reasons why we wanted to do a first look is because your wedding day is a very emotional day and we wanted to share this very intimate moment with just ourselves. It’s scary enough walking down the aisle with all of your friends and family watching you, and also thinking to smile and not trip on anything, mix that in with seeing your loved one for the first time and for us it would have been an overload of emotions. We’re so happy we chose to do a first look because Alison and Mike were able to capture all of our expressions and emotions so we can relive that moment whenever we want through the pictures. It’s also the perfect time for some formal portraits while your makeup and hair is fresh and you’re not tired from smiling! A lot of our favorite formal pictures were from this moment and right after when we took pictures near the fountain.
Jackie and Andrew
I always knew I wanted to have a first look at our wedding, but my fiance needed to be convinced. He wanted a traditional ceremony where we got our first glimpses of each other while walking down the aisle — but the idea of that terrified me! While I loved every person at our wedding, I didn’t want to share our most personal moments with them. I wanted the two of us to have some quiet moments without an audience, and the first look gave us the perfect opportunity.
I also knew I would be super nervous leading up to the ceremony, and when I get nervous, all I want to is to be with Andrew. Having a first look allowed us to see each other in private and get all our nerves (and tears) out. Most important, we were able to talk to each other about how we were feeling, which wouldn’t have been possible during the ceremony.
After talking through these reasons and looking at the beautiful photos from other first looks Alison captured, Andrew agreed that a first look would be an important part of our wedding day.
The few minutes of our first look were, without a doubt, among the best minutes of the whole day. I loved that we were able to have our big moment, get some tears out of the way, and share some laughs together (I stepped on a half-eaten chicken wing!). This helped me feel more present and calm during the ceremony and throughout the rest of the day and night.
The icing on the (wedding) cake was having Alison and Mike perfectly capture all the joy and emotion of our first look. Those are some of our favorite photos of the whole day! Then, with some of our portraits done, we were able to quickly take our family and bridal party photos after the ceremony, which kept us out of the heat and then allowed us to enjoy our cocktail hour.
I think that everyone should consider a first look because capturing the moment you first see each other in photos is absolutely priceless. On top of that, a first look is great if you are nervous about the ceremony or worry the two of you won’t have enough time together to soak everything in. You may also consider a first look if the weather could be very hot or cold and you want photos outside — the first look broke our main photo sessions into two segments, which kept us from being in the heat for extended periods of time.
Kelsey and Jeff
When Jeff and I first met with Alison and started thinking about our pictures, I was very against doing a first look. It had always been important to me that Jeff wouldn’t see me until I came down the aisle. After we really started talking through the day though, doing a first look made the most sense. If we waited until after the ceremony, we would have only had an hour for pictures, and, because we had a Fall wedding, there was a chance that there wouldn’t be enough light to do outdoor photos.
After having this discussion, I reluctantly agreed to do a first look. I am so happy I did! Those moments between Jeff and I are some of my absolute favorites from the day. It is difficult to put into words exactly how special it was to have a few minutes to ourselves before all the business and excitement of the ceremony and reception began.
Jeff and I did not talk to each other all day before our first look to make it even more special. We wrote each other letters and read them before he turned around to see me. I love that the photographs show our progression of emotions from reading the letters, to finally seeing each other, and then talking about how excited we were for the ceremony in just a few hours. Having a private moment gave us the opportunity to feel free and open with each other without dozens of people watching. The entire day there were so many people around us wanting to see us and celebrate with us that, even when we did manage to sneak off alone with each other, we felt guilty or like we were missing out on the fun. Having a first look gave us the chance to have just a few minutes to ourselves without feeling any obligation to do anything other than enjoy each other.