In one of the most exciting and emotionally charged days of your life, a wedding first look is a set time for you and your love to see each other before the day takes off.
As photographers and business owners (and a newly engaged couple ourselves!), we’ve been photographing weddings for over six years and we’ve seen how a wedding first look can calm nerves, create much-needed space for feeling all the feels together and allow for alone time in a whirlwind of a day.
Often no one else is there with you for a first look (besides the photographer), which allows you both to express those built-up emotions and share this magically intimate moment without tons of people around.
The photographer will find a beautiful location, build the suspense and, of course, capture that special moment when you see each other for the first time that day.
Here, five reasons (both practical and romantic) to do a wedding first look.
If the idea of being the center of attention is a bit overwhelming, you’re not a fan of huge crowds or you get nervous pretty easily (hello, we’ve been there!), then this is a big reason to go for a first look.
It’s hard to know (until the day of) how nerve-wracking it can be and exactly how you’ll feel. Believe it or not, we find more often it’s the groom who feels the wedding day nerves the most.
Either way, once you see each other, those nerves disappear.
Both of you will feel so much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony.
If the first time you see each other is during the ceremony, you can’t really embrace or chat.
You’ll have to wait until the ceremony is over for your partner to react and tell you how amazing you look, and after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as that initial first glance.
At the first look, you’ll be able to touch, interact, talk and feel all the emotions then and there while your photographer captures them.
It creates a truly unique and magical moment that you two will always remember. (And we promise, that second look walking down the aisle will still be just as emotional and moving.)
Doing a first look means more time relaxing and enjoying your wedding day. Without a first look, the day begins when you walk down the aisle.
After the ceremony, normally you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions, and then it’s reception time.
With a first look, it’s like extending your time celebrating with loved ones by almost 3 hours!
Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits, you get to slow down and have fun hanging out with your best friends on your wedding day.
Since there’s more time to take pictures, (and to relax!) couples that opt for a first look often fill the first half of their wedding album with images just from this time together before the ceremony.
Your wedding day will likely feel like a whirlwind, and having quiet moments just the two of you might be rare.
A first look ensures you’ll have time alone (besides the photographer, but don’t worry—you won’t know we’re there!). The energy of seeing each other and having that intimate time together puts you in the perfect mood for romantic portraits.
Without a first look, portraits are often rushed after the family pictures. It can be hard to get back into that euphoric frame of mind that you had when you first see each other—especially with family around!
Taking those romantic photographs right after your first look will guarantee you and your fiancé look and feel amazing. As photographers, we capture some of our favorite images of the day during those moments, which leads us to…
The reality of a wedding day is that, even when it’s super well-planned, things tend to run behind and mishaps can happen (traffic, weather, Grandpa forgets his pants (yes that happened once).
Planning a first look is the best way to guarantee a solid amount of time for photographs with your fiancé, your family and your bridal party. (We’ve found that a first look means you’ll get about 50% more photos of the two of you!)
These images will become some of your favorites—and they’re likely the ones you’ll want to decorate your home with.
We may be a bit biased as wedding photographers, though we’ve seen firsthand the impact a first look can have—not just on the emotions of the couple, but on the timeline, the stress of the day and so on.
We hope this was helpful as you’re planning your big day!
–Tom & Heather
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Wedding Photographer in NYC