This is the best explanation of a first look that I have ever heard by Sara Kelly Photography…
The First Look
For those of you who don’t know what a First Look is, here’s a simple explanation. The first look is an intimate, private moment where a bride and groom get to see each other for the first time on their wedding day. The first look usually happens before the ceremony and it gives the bride and groom a chance to enjoy their first moment together on their big day.
Now let me explain to you why a First Look is so important.
Let me paint a picture for you of a day without a first look….
You have a stressful morning of hair and makeup appointments that you probably should have scheduled a little earlier in the day, not realizing how long they were going to take, and now you’ve rushed to the ceremony, only to realize you’re already 10 minutes late. Your groom is standing at the end of the aisle, nervous as can be. He’s got 200 people looking at him for his reaction when he sees you for the first time, and all he can do is shoot you a smile because he’s too nervous to be relaxed. When you get to the end of the aisle, all he can do is whisper a very nervous “Hi. You look beautiful” in the two seconds you have to enjoy it before the ceremony starts. There’s no “moment” together. Your big moment is spent in front of a crowd and there is no time to enjoy it.
After your ceremony, you think, “Yay! We’re married! Let’s go celebrate”….then comes “Oh wait…we have to do an hour of family and bridal party pictures first”. Wha…wha…wha…that’s the Debbie Downer moment. Ok…let’s get this going. Start the pictures so we can go!
Your church has a time limit on photos after the ceremony, so immediately the photographer begins to quickly line up your family and friends, group by group, for pictures, and each photo makes you more and more impatient to get to the reception. You’re thinking “I’ve got 200 guests all waiting around for us to show up at the reception. I paid how much for this reception, and I’m not there to enjoy every minute of it? Oh gosh darn it, don’t worry about getting a picture with Aunt Mary…she’ll be at the reception…we can get it then, right? I just want to get going.” (Wrong! You know you won’t remember, and even if you do, by the time you take a moment to track her down, Aunt Mary already left).
The last set of photos is the photos of you and your new husband on your wedding day. These are the beautiful photos that will get hung up on the wall and displayed for years to come. BUT, you’re ready to get to the reception and you have less than 5 minutes left before the church calls “Lights out!”, so in the heat of the moment, you just tell the photographer to get one or two shots of you on the alter so we can all get going.
After the wedding, you get your photos back, and you realize – all those STUNNING photos of the bride and groom together that the photographer is so good at capturing – you don’t have any. Why? Because you didn’t make time for them. “I spent how much on this photographer? Why didn’t I use my time with my photographer to the fullest?”
The only moment you have together is the quick ride from the church to the reception – if you’re doing your ceremony in a separate location from the reception. You don’t have any real time together until you leave the reception, exhausted and possibly pretty tipsy. Before you know it, your wedding is over and you’ve been rushing all day, not making time to enjoy it. You and your husband agree that you probably should have just eloped!
Let me paint another picture for you….the wedding day with a first look.
Your hair and makeup are done hours before the ceremony. You know there’s no chance of being late, so you spend some time in your hotel room with your girls before you start getting dressed. (Who wants a Mimosa?!) You have a set timeline that everyone is aware of, and you’re ahead of schedule, so you’re not stressed. Time comes for your first look. The photographer brings you to a secluded spot, where there is no one around with the exception of the photographer (or photographers), and they are all far enough away to not hear a word you and your fiance’ are saying. You walk up to your fiance’, he turns around and sees you for the first time. “You’re so beautiful. I love you. Are you excited? Nervous? I’m so glad I got to see you! I’ve been dying to see you all day! I missed you this morning! I have so much to tell you…”. You spend a good 5 minutes talking to each other, hugging, kissing, and soaking in every bit of this moment.
Once you are ready, the photographer spends 30 minutes (or more if you like), with you, capturing the two of you together on your wedding day. This gives the photographer some time while it is still daylight to be creative so you have some amazing photos of the two of you together to hang on your wall. It’s like a mini-bridal session…but with your husband. Who doesn’t want beautiful photos like that?
Just when you are about to wrap up photos, your bridal party arrives to take bridal party photos. Your photographer spends a few minutes setting up a few different creative shots with the entire bridal party. You make your way over to the church or ceremony site, where your entire family is waiting. You can take your time with the family photos, making sure every detail is just right, and making sure you don’t forget to get that photo with Aunt Mary who flew in from London and you haven’t seen in 20 years.
A half hour before your ceremony, you are sitting in the back, relaxed, knowing everyone is on time, and knowing that the rest of the day is going to be for enjoying your wedding and not running here or there for photos. As soon as your ceremony is over, you can leave at the same time as your guests to go to your reception and start celebrating.
Your day is a lot more relaxed, and at the end of the day, you are excited and happy because you were able to enjoy every minute of the biggest day of your life.
So…what will it be?
Which is the ideal picture of your wedding day? Do you want to be stressed and rushed? Or do you want to enjoy every minute of it? Do you want to have some time with your groom to enjoy “the moment”, or do you want to be whisked from one thing to another without being able to get a word in?
It’s up to you! Either way, as photographers, we will do the best job we can with the time that we have with you. We know that most of our couples come from very traditional backgrounds, and the idea of a first look is just unheard of. However, as professional wedding photographers, we have seen many weddings and we know what works best. Take our advice! You won’t regret it!
Will you be doing a first look? Comment below and let me know your thoughts on this!