Well, I should probably start of by answering the question..."what is a first look?"
There are A LOT of wedding traditions, so it can often be a bit overwhelming trying to decide which you want to participate in for your own special day.
A first look is a special moment, often set up by the photographer, in which the bride and groom are able to see one another before the ceremony.
I can tell you right now that I have more pros than cons for this one, but regardless of my opinion, your day should reflect you as a couple, and if a first look isn't for you...don't do it!
Let's start with the cons.
Your gonna need to schedule time before your ceremony. This means that you're both gonna have to be ready much earlier than you would otherwise. Of course, a first look doesn't have to be an hour long ordeal, but it will take a bit of coordination & planning to get everyone set in place (especially if this is taking place at a separate location, which is common).
2. The Aisle
Probably the biggest deterrent for most couples is that they want to save their first look for the moment she is walking down the aisle and he sees her in front of friends and family. I can tell you that this was an emotional moment at my own wedding, and the images from it are very dear to my heart...and for the record, I didn't cry, but my husband did! It was a very intense & romantic moment, that I'm very glad we have captured. (Click here and here to see an awesome alternative if this is something important to you!)
I know...you're thinking "Jackie...you just wrote that this is a con" ...I know! It's both! The thing is, if you don't mind scheduling that block of time out before the ceremony, it can be a really great way to move through more photos than just the first look.
The most traditional of wedding timelines usually goes like this...prep, ceremony, family photos, bridal party photos & romantics (all during cocktail hour) and then once photos are done everyone is announced into the reception. The great thing about seeing one another before the ceremony is that you can then do a lot of these photos before the ceremony as well. That means, family, bridal party and maybe even the bride and groom get to actually enjoy the whole cocktail hour! I mean...after-all...it is your party.
Like I said before, this means you're all gonna have to be ready earlier, but personally I think it is worth it to be able to spend time with guests & enjoy the party.
2. Peace + Quiet
Your wedding day is naturally a busy day. Unless you're eloping or throwing an intimate party, you will most likely be hustling from one thing to the next all evening. (In a good way, I swear!)
The beauty of a first look is that if you do it properly you can actually use it as a really sweet, intimate time between the two of you to intentionally savor the moment before the day begins. I've seen a lot of couples use this time to exchange gifts, pray together, or even as simple as just being alone together for a few moments.
This may go hand in hand with having time for more photos, but the fact that this moment is staged to a degree allows for more creative photos, as well as a guarantee that both your initial reactions are captured. The couple's first reactions are usually a "must have" photo opportunity & rarely missed, however the nature of it being in the moment is that we can't always control getting the exact shot. There are a wide range of factors that could cause this...anything from venue rules to guests unknowingly moving in the way. First looks create a controlled environment where this moment can be better documented.
Arianne + Clay decided to have their first look in front of immediate family & friends, but because we went off to shoot their Romantics right after, they were able to get the best of both worlds. They shared their first moment seeing one another with excited family members, got all their photos out of the way, got to attend their entire cocktail hour and still had time to themselves as we wandered through the gardens.
In my opinion, they nailed it!
Always find the best way to enjoy the parts of your wedding that are truly important to you, and don't worry about the rest.
Venue: The Studios at Overland Crossing