wedding day first look

3 Reasons Why I Recommend Doing a First Look

What I Love About First Looks on Wedding Days

First looks are a hot topic these days; some people are 100% pro-first look while others want to stick with tradition. Personally, I love them for many reasons and today I’m sharing a few of the big ones. I would never want to pressure a couple into doing a first look if they’re adamantly against it. It’s your day! If you fit into this category, this post is not for you. However, lots of the couples I’ve worked with are on the fence. They’ve heard of this new first look concept, but very few people have actually witnessed one. If you’re on the fence, here are a few things to consider. 

What is a first look?

Before we begin, I want to share how a typical first look happens and what you can expect. Keep in mind that every wedding and couple is unique, so you can make your first look your own.

A first look is when the soon-to-be-married couple sees each other before their wedding ceremony. It’s meant to be a private moment for the couple, so when I’m photographing first looks I like to stand far out of the way and use a long lens. Sometimes, the wedding party will watch although in general I recommend they stay far back as well so the couple can have this moment together.

PS – doing a first look before the ceremony will not make that walk down the aisle any less emotional!

1. A first look will calm your nerves.

bride and groom first look

On your wedding day, you’re going to be the centre of attention. For some people, that’s exciting. But for others, that’s their worst nightmare, especially when you consider that you’ll probably be pretty emotional. A first look allows you to calm your nerves before the wedding ceremony, and to make that super big emotional moment a little more private and intimate. After a busy and exciting morning of getting ready, you can finally be with your partner and take a much needed breather together. 

2. You will be able to enjoy your cocktail hour.

wedding day first look

When you do a first look, it opens up the time before the ceremony to finish all or most of your portraits. We can use this time to complete not only the portraits of you and your love, but also your wedding party and even family portraits. As a result, you’ll actually be able to relax and enjoy your cocktail hour rather than having to go off for portraits. Not only will you get to take full advantage of the party you’re paying for, but you can also use this time to interact with your guests who will be super stoked to congratulate you.

As a photographer, I love being able to get candid photos of the newlyweds hugging their guests and generally having a blast during this time. 

3. Your hair, makeup, and flowers will be extra fresh.

bride just before her first look

Generally, a first look would take place once the getting ready process is complete. This means that your hair, makeup, and flowers will be FRESH and looking their absolute best. You could consider doing the first look at the getting ready location (or nearby) so that if you need makeup touchups after, it’s convenient and easy to do so. After all, I can’t guarantee you won’t have some smudges on your mascara from tearing up!

Bonus: Do a first look with other important people in your life!

first look with bridesmaids

If you’re not keen on a first look with your soon-to-be husband or wife before the wedding ceremony, you can still do one with your family or friends! I love when brides do a first look – with their dress, veil, and flowers for full effect – with their bridesmaids. It’s guaranteed to get the emotions flowing! I’ve also seen brides do a first look with the groomsmen for a super sweet moment. You could also consider a first look with a parent or other close family member for a quieter moment. You could even do a first look with your dog (I’ll definitely cry behind my camera).

Whatever you decide to do, I’m here for it and want to hear all about your ideas! 

Looking for more non-traditional wedding ideas?

Check out this blog post on my favourite elopement locations on Vancouver Island!

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