When meeting with couples, I sometimes hear them ask about a first look and whether that is something they should do.
Here are my first look tips for your wedding:
What is a First Look?
Before I get ahead of myself, I should explain a “first look” to those who haven’t heard of it before. A first look is when the couple decides to see each other before the wedding (or see another person critical to the day before the wedding!). A “first look” can be done with bridesmaids, a brother, father, mother, grandparents, children, or future spouse. There are no rules other than it happens when you get dressed and want to show someone before you walk down the aisle and get some photos taken!
What are the reasons to do a first look?
A first look is a great way to calm nerves, get photos done and out of the way before your ceremony, attend cocktail hour with your guests, or ensure you get loads of photos at different points during your wedding day.
How do we plan a first look in our timeline?
In order to schedule a first look, you’ll have to get ready earlier than usual. This is the one con of having one! An earlier timeline ensures you can get ready, get dressed, have your first look and portraits (and wedding party and family too!) and then have a little break before the ceremony.
Who should we inform about our decision to have a first look?
Your ceremony space or venue (you want to make sure staff isn’t setting up an area, they can block it off, or otherwise make accommodations for you), your wedding party so they know when to be ready and the plan after you both see each other, your person you’re doing the first look with, your photographer and videographer, your florist so your flowers are ready, and your wedding planner.
What if we do not want to see each other, is there another way to do a first look?
It will not get us the volume of photos done beforehand, but if your partner does not want to see you before the ceremony, we can always grab photos of each side of the wedding party done before the ceremony.
Another way to have a first look without having a full first look is holding hands around a door frame or exchanging notes around a corner. You’re close, you can say hi or pray, and you still get your nerves calmed without actually having the full first look experience.
I really want to do a first look but my partner does not, how can I get them on board?
I recommend explaining the freedom it allows for everything after the ceremony. Instead of being rushed around for the hour in between the ceremony and reception, you can have all the major events already finished up after you get married. That allows you to enjoy cocktail hour, go somewhere for more portraits (maybe another location?), or hop on a party bus and just booze cruise with your best friends.