When I meet with a perspective couple who would like me to photograph their wedding we often talk about “The First Look”. For those of you who don’t know, the first look is the moment before the ceremony when the bride and groom come together to see each other for the first time. It’s often a sentimental moment with laughter, joy, and even a few tears. It’s the point at which each bride and groom will think, “this is really going to happen!” When planning your wedding, you will need to consider if doing a first look is right for you. There are several different reasons why you should, so keep reading to learn how this modern tradition will be a great benefit to your special day.
Often couples that object to the idea of a first look do so because they want the emotion and realism provided by a big reveal during the ceremony. What they don’t know is that the first look gives you a more intimate moment as well as an amazing photo opportunity. Clients that choose not to do a first look always express how important it is to photograph the emotion on the groom’s face when his bride walks down the aisle. And while I do my best to capture this vital detail, the image often isn’t what the bride desires. Why? Most men when put in front of an audience of their friends, family, and coworkers aren’t exactly fountains of emotion! Seriously though, I can’t blame a guy for trying to keep it together during one of the most life altering events he will experience. The first look creates a win-win. The groom gets to share directly with his bride-to-be exactly how excited and in love he is and she gets the photos she wanted that expresses that emotion perfectly.

In the first look not only is a couple free to open their hearts to one another without the pressures of an audience, but they also don’t have to worry about the time constraints that splitting the portraits between before and after the ceremony can cause. When a couple chooses to not see each other before the ceremony it means that only a portion of the family portraits and wedding party portraits can be done beforehand. The remainder must be done during the cocktail hour. This also means less portraits of the couple together due to time constraints. This configuration can work, but it leaves the couple stressed, unable to visit with guests, and often late to their own reception. On the other hand, couples choosing to do a first look are able to mingle with friends during the cocktail hour knowing that all of the photos they wanted have already been done.

If you are planning to have a wedding videographer a first look is an important moment to capture. It helps tell the story of your love and adds another chapter into the overall highlights of your day. Additionally video requires a lot of time during the wedding. Often you will need to do things a few times to get both the video and still images you desire. If all of the couple’s portraits have to wait until after the ceremony there will be little video coverage outside of the ceremony itself.

Not convinced? Here is a great example of a first look from Christina and Jeremy’s wedding on June 27th at the Seattle Tennis Club. As an added touch, Christina also wanted her wedding party involved. I loved their expressions in the background! Their first look was not only an private beautiful moment, but an opportunity for their family and friends to rejoice with them at the start of their perfect wedding day.