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Should You Have a First Look?

If I could go back to my wedding day, I would have had a first look and had some time set aside to pray with my soon to be husband.  Even though I had a wonderful wedding day, that is one thing that I wish I could have done.  A “first look”, the first time a couple sees one another before the ceremony after getting completely ready, can be a beautiful moment for the couple.  If you’re considering a first look but aren’t quite sure if it would work for you, keep reading.  I have had some couples who really love the idea of having a first look on their wedding day, while others prefer to see each other for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle during the ceremony.  Ultimately it is entirely up to the couple.  Each couple is unique and each wedding is unique.  Having a first look is a preference, but as a photographer I must tell you that a first look can be very beneficial and memorable.  In the following paragraphs I will share three reasons that you should consider having a first look on your wedding day.

A Memorable Moment

Do you think you will be nervous on your wedding day?  I know that when I got married, I felt a little nervous.  Mostly I was so excited about this next chapter in my life, but I had so many butterflies in my tummy!  We actually ended up sneaking off to pray together before the ceremony, which helped tremendously.  A first look can definitely give you a chance as a couple to see each other for the first time that day and have a private moment (except for the presence of your photographer) so that you can interact and take in that moment.  Once guests arrive, your day will be like a whirlwind.  I have witnessed joyful first looks, quieter first looks, and energetic first looks!  You have an opportunity as a couple to be yourselves together in this moment, knowing that you’re about to join your lives together.  What if you don’t want to see each other before your wedding?  First, I never pressure couples to see one another for a first look because I truly believe that your wedding day should be about you and what will work best for you as a couple.  After all, I’m not the one getting married!😁 If you truly do not wish to see one another in person prior to your ceremony, you can opt for a moment to pray together or hold hands around a corner or a similar structure so that you can have a “moment”, yet still keep the tradition that you choose.

Cocktail Hour

Second, having a first look can get you to cocktail hour much faster.  Typically at a wedding without a first look I will photograph the bridal party (including the couple) all together and then the family immediately after the ceremony while everyone else moves to cocktail hour.  After I capture those groups and send them to cocktail hour, I work with the bride and groom to capture them for the first time as a married couple.  I prefer to use a 30 minute time slot for my wedding couples to ensure that they can relax, breathe, and enjoy their session instead of feeling stressed and rushed.  With approximately 40 minutes for the bridal party and the family groups and 30 for the couple for their portrait session, that is about an hour that you are away from your guests.  Guests normally understand this, but if you prefer to join cocktail hour sooner than that, a first look may be a great option for you because not only can I capture your first look and do your bride and groom session, we can also allot time to capture the bridal party (and the family groups too) which can save more time after the ceremony.

Photography and Light

Third, it is important to consider the available natural light.  As a wedding photographer, my first priority when capturing your day is to think about the impact of the light at a particular location.  Good lighting is vital to having good images.  If lighting is too bright and harsh, people tend to squint more and the people in the images could possibly lack even lighting on their faces.  If it is too dark, a photographer will need to add a light source to create a well exposed image.  In the summer months there is a lot more time after a late afternoon/early evening ceremony to do natural light portraits.  While it is possible to use off camera flash for portraits, natural light group portraits can go much faster and may be your preference as well for your couple’s session.  During the winter months, the sun sets between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.  When a winter ceremony starts at 4:00 p.m., for example, that can leave little to no natural outdoor light to work with for those who desire to do all of the portraits at that time.  In that case, I would utilize off camera flash. 

What will you choose? Your wedding is all about you and when you are looking for a wedding photographer, find one who will work with your vision for your special day so that you can have a visual story of your day. For more information about weddings with Belle Eve Photography, go to the link below.

Weddings With Belle Eve Photography