(Closed) To do a first look or not to?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
Member
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

I love first looks because your photographer can capture that moment more intimately. He won’t get to wrap you in his arms right away at the alter, and that moment might be lost. After vows, etc, you will be on the move! Your family, BMs, etc, will get a first look. My SO’s reaction would be the most important over all of them, IMO! I vote for first look! 

Post # 3
Member
1603 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

We are doing a first look. Mostly because as a guest, I know how much I hate waiting for the couple to be done taking pictures.

Post # 4
Member
4044 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

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shaybee:  I think it’s totally worth it. We did one and it was absolutely, 100% worth it. We managed to say hello and greet everyone at cocktail hour so we got to dance and party the night away during the reception. 

I think it felt even more special. It was just the two of us (and the photographer). It also made me less nervous because I had already seen him when I did walk down the aisle. 

Post # 5
Member
6297 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

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shaybee:  I’ll give my opinon as a wedding photographer, and a bride.

As a wedding photographer I highly encourage it. I’ve NEVER had a couple regret doing it, but I’ve definitely had some regret NOT doing it. Some things to consider:

  • I’ve found over the years the “reaction” is often more apparent and genuine during the first look rather than the ceremony. It’s a private moment, just the two of you, without the stress of having tons of people around. The most common thing brides ask me for is their grooms reaction to seeing them walk down the isle…and if I’m being perfectly honest….about 95% of the time there isn’t much of a reaction. It’s not for lack of emotion, but nerves, fear, stress, and just the overall anxiety of the day make it so that for so many people the ceremony is just a blur. Those amazing pintrest worthy photos are actually few and far between during weddings.
  • STRESS. I watch the stress my couples have the wedding day just melt away after the first look. They are so much more relaxed and calm – it’s a huge benefit to the photos.
  • TIME. This is a biggie. 10 years ago wedding photography wasn’t what it is now. There was a time when you had 1 hour, and you did all your photos during that time…but you also didn’t have a million combos of family photos and you only had a handful of bridal party and bride/groom portraits. The desire for beautiful wedding photos with a lot of variety is a huge thing these days – and more often than not you run out of time. When you’re running out of time because you’ve got too many family photos the part that suffers are the bride/groom portraits. 
  • WEATHER. I’ve had SO many weddings that we were able to still get gorgeous outdoor photos, despite rain, because the couple had a first look. They were okay having to move their ceremony inside because they knew they’d at least gotten some photos outside.

My wedding this past weekend did a first look. They did ALL family formals, bridal party, and a handful of bride/groom photos prior to the cermeony. After the ceremony, while guests were having cocktail hour we were able to take the couple off-site to a location they wanted and get some of the most gorgeous and epic couple portraits I’ve taken at a wedding to date. That would have never been possible had they not done a first look. The bride actually cried when I sent her a quick preview.

 

As a bride myself…

My DH agreed to a first look, and a week prior really really begged to not do it – he’s super traditional. The photographer in me said “don’t let him win this one”…but the bride/fiance in me said “I got everything else, it will be ok”. I caved, we didn’t do a first look, and I’ve regretted it every day since. It poured buckets on our wedding day and our gorgeous outside ceremony was moved inside. It started to rain only about 30 minutes before our ceremony. While we got some nice photos, I still get upset thinking about it because they are no where near what I had always dreamed. As a wedding photographer by trade, you can imagine how badly it sucked having portraits I wasn’t thrilled about (NOT my photogs fault at all…she did amazing with what she had to work with). Looking back, had we done the first look we would have gotten all our formals done and finished before the rain came. 

Post # 6
Member
721 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015 - The Victorian

 

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shaybee:  I think this is a totally personal thing. Both Fiance and I agree we do not want to do a first look. We’re very opposed to it for ourselves. But I know people who have done it and loved it. We’re getting married in November, so we’re making our ceremony earlier to accomodate the daylight thing. I explicitly told my photographer I do not want our pictures to take more than 1 hour after the ceremony (during cocktail hour for guests). To help with that, we are doing all spearate bridal party shots before the ceremony. We don’t have large families so that portion won’t take long. Then we will sneak out once everyone is seated for dinner to do golden hour photos. You and you Fiance just have to decide what it right for you.

Post # 7
Member
1726 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We did a first look and loved it. It didn’t take anything away from my walk down the aisle because that’s still such a big moment itself! We got some of out favorite photos from our first look and it was just very special to have a few quiet moments alone.

What does your fiance think? I never thought we’d do one because of tradition. But when I thought more about it, tradition didn’t feel like a good enough reason (to me). I asked my now husband what he wanted to do, and he said he’d feel a lot better and more calm if he could see me beforehand, so that was enough for me. 

You can’t go wrong with whatever you decide 🙂

Post # 8
Member
842 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception / Courtyard Marriott Legacy Ballroom

We did a first look! We planned on doing photos with the bridal party before the ceremony and family photos after the ceremony so we wouldn’t keep our guests waiting. I’m really glad we did a first look! Our photography wouldn’t have been able to get a really good shot of our reactions when walking down the aisle because of restrictions with the church – they had to stay behind all the guests, which pretty much meant they were only allowed in the back of the church! There were tons of really good pictures from our ceremony, but nothing really close up like what we got with our first look.

My brother did not do a first look – he got married almost 7 year ago and that wasn’t something that people did back then, at least in our area. He regrets that there isn’t a photo of the first time they saw eachother.

Post # 9
Member
1070 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I was totally against a first look until I read all these comments.  I do not need a ton of staged pictures of just us (we are NOT photogenic) so I think even if we do a few right before the ceremony it might be amazing!

 

Thanks for changing my mind ladies!

Post # 10
Member
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

View original reply
starfish0116:  “I’ve NEVER had a couple regret doing it, but I’ve definitely had some regret NOT doing it.”

This is the reason why Fiance and I decided to do a first look for our October wedding!

My photographer said it was up to us, but you could tell she was totally hoping we would do one. I was struggling with the tradition part of it, but from what I’ve heard, doing the first look takes NOTHING away from the aisle walk. It is still a very special and emotional moment for both of you, and seeing each other first won’t change that! I also agree with starfish that Fiance will have a better reaction when it’s just the two of us & the photographer. He gets super nervous, as do I, so I think it’ll really help us calm down a little before the ceremony (and avoid disappointment when his “aisle walk reaction” photos are less than stellar due to nerves).  Plus, it’s probably the only time we will have for the entire day when it’s JUST US.

A friend of mine who got married in March posted all of her wedding photos, and the first look ones are undoubtedly the sweetest and most romantic of the whole day – even without guests, a cake, flowers, or any of the extra stuff. You can feel the love and happiness just from seeing their reaction to seeing each other for the first time 🙂 If I hadn’t already decided, seeing their pics would’ve sealed the deal for me!

Post # 11
Member
281 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

We are planning to actually get ready together most of the morning- we both feel more comfortable that way, and I personally don’t love the way the first look feels kind of contrived (completely just my own opinion- to each her own!). I feel like there is pressure for the groom in particular to have a certain reaction in the first look, and even though my Fiance is unusually expressive, I don’t want him to have to feel he needs to play up the moment in any way just because of the cameras. 

Post # 12
Member
252 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015 - Versailles Banquets (Northwest Suburbs of Chicago)

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shaybee:  FH and I were set on NOT doing a first look.  My FH was more set on this than I was. We went to our first appointment with our photgrapher and videographer.  The more they explained to us, similiar to everything PP (wedding photographer) said the more both of us realized that we need to do a first look.  At first we thought it would take away from that special moment, but I think it will be way more special and intimate.  Also, we have a very large bridal party, 23 people total, so an hour between the ceremony and reception would never be enough time.  We are so lookig forward to it now.  We found a beautiful spot right outside the hotel where we are staying to do it and then going to another location to take pictures.  We have a lot of family and friends coming from out of the country and state for our wedding so we are also really glad that we will be able to spend the cocktail hour greeting everybody.  Overall it’s a WIN, WIN, WIN for us!

Post # 13
Member
1702 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

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shaybee:  We did a first look. We got some really adorable shots, and we were able to take care of the rest of our photos with family/the wedding party before the ceremony, so we didn’t have to worry about fitting it all in before the reception. We also got married in October. I still sobbed like a baby walking down the aisle.

Post # 14
Member
999 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

I’ve heard the argument that a first look is more intimate because you can have your groom at the alter and still have the moment of seeing each other for the first time while walking down the aisle with less people there to witness it. Then, when you do it for real, you won’t be as nervous. My sister did a first look at her wedding and it really calmed her down. She went from crying and freaking out before to happy and excited. Seeing her groom made her feel so much better!

I’ll be doing a first look but just to save time and enjoy my cocktail hour more. My groom HATES the idea of having to make a big reaction for the camera amongst seeing me for the first time (I totally don’t blame him, I am also very self-aware and awkward in front of the camera) so I’m planning on him coming into the bridal suite alone once I’m ready and have a private moment, and then we’ll take some portraits together before the ceremony.

Post # 15
Member
3080 posts
Sugar bee

Absolutely!

We completely missed our cocktail hour – I got 1 sip of soda from my mother, and didn’t even see what they had to eat. Our ceremony was at 6:00 and cocktail hour at 7:00, but we had a receiving line at the church (it was the late 70s – that’s another thing no one around here does anymore), and then bridal party photos, so we didn’t arrive at the reception (15 minutes from the church) until almost 8:00 PM. Blah!

I’d especially suggest it if your ceremony and reception are all at the same place. Guests don’t want to stand around waiting for your photos.

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