The First Look: Why You need to do this

You're getting married and you're mulling over all the details: timelines, layouts, color scheme and all of the minutae that makes up all of the parts of your wedding! So your photographer or your planner asks you, "Are you doing a first look?". You pause, frozen, "Am I what? What is that? Why has no one brought this up before this point?! " Before you panic, let's start with the basics. What is a first look? I went to one of my favorite photographers, Bethanne  for her definition of the first look

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She goes on to say, "A first look is a chance to take a quiet moment together before your family and friends see you and want to catch up and congratulate you. It's a time to really take in how special the day is, how beautiful or handsome your partner looks and just really enjoy what the day is and all about - becoming one and starting a new chapter together."  Below I'll detail a few reasons why a first look is one of the best things you'll ever do on your wedding day complete with pictures from Bethannes photos from Grace & Bens wedding day! 




Let's start with the obvious. You're going to get way more pictures than you would have without a first look. Sometimes hundreds more. Remember you have very limited time between the end of your ceremony and the beginning of your reception oftentimes just an hour (or less!) If you have a large list of family members to capture, you'll have to assign several people to track them down at the cocktail hour because a lot of people would rather be enjoying the open bar than standing in a suit and smiling for 60 minutes. This will cut back on the total amount of time you are actually taking pictures as well meaning you'll have to cram as much as you can into the time slot you have, people will get cranky and it will be a more chaotic atmosphere instead of a lovely moment capturing your loved ones.  Not to mention if your ceremony runs late for whatever reason (which if oftentimes done) that full hour of pictures is now 45 minutes. If you thought mom was upset about your refusal to invite your second cousins, imagine how upset she'll be when you didn't have time to get a picture of you two and grandma. Yikes!




One of the big things people don't walk about with a first look is how it has this magical, transformative quality to make a couple go from "oh my god I can't breathe" to "oh my god I can't wait". When the two of you see each other for the first time in a nice quiet moment before everyone else arrives, it allows you to take a deep breathe and exhale all the stress and anxiety and nerves that have been building up in the planning process and on that day. Once you see each other for the first time, all of the stress melts away and it brings you back down to earth. You start to remember what the day is all about and that at the end of it - you two will be married and that's all that really matters. 



Picture this: you spend a year or more planning out the perfect day, you go to tastings and try all of the fabulous hors d'oeuvres, pick out a signature cocktail, hire an amazing live performer for your cocktail hour and meticulously plan out the design of your cocktail hour. When the day comes-you don't even get to enjoy ANY of it. In fact, you might see pictures of it later-your friends and family having a BLAST, taking selfies, making inside jokes and having an overall incredible time. You've done all this work to ensure everyone has a god time and the kicker is you'll miss all of it. Typically the cocktail hour is when the couple goes off with the photographer along with family members and bridal party and takes photos. When you haven't done the first look this means you are taking ALL of the portraits and you need the entire full hour if not longer to capture all of the images you want! Sometimes you have to extend the party by 30 minutes or even an hour to make sure everyone you needed to capture is there. Because wrangling guests who would rather be partying and eating mini crab cakes is way harder than it looks. Speaking of food, let me also remind you that at this point, you probably haven't eaten anything since the morning when you were getting ready which could have been 8 hours prior. Sure, your wedding planner probably has a spare granola bar or your catering attendant can bring you some hors d'oeuvres but if you have a phobia of having parsley in your teeth for photos imagine magnifying that by 10 for your wedding photos. Ever seen someone pass out on their wedding day? It's not pretty. Don't be hangry on your wedding day!  The first look allows you to take pictures of the two of you and your entire bridal party, immediate family or anyone else you schedule to arrive early so that everyone including you can enjoy this fantastic party you planned and those delicious little chicken & waffle sliders you died over at the tasting.



What a lot of people don't realize about their wedding day is that even though it's about the couple, it's very rare that they actually get to spend any time together alone! From the start of the day until the very end the couple is typically surrounded by either their family or bridal party or all of the guests wishing to congratulate or dance with the happy couple! The first look is a rare opportunity to have a personal, beautiful and romantic time together ALONE. While this is supposed to be the most romantic, special day of your life with the one you love it so quickly becomes about everything and everyone else. You owe it to yourself and your partner to give yourselves a quiet moment to savor each others company and the reason you are all there to begin with.  Having that moment between you two and truly sharing it together instead of hundreds of eyes watching you will be so much more special! 


With all that being said, of course it is not necessary to do a first look on your wedding day! The beauty of the day is that it is yours and you get to choose how it goes! If you decide to not do a first look that is okay but just remember to pack some snacks, carve out some quiet time for yourselves and add enough time to your cocktail hour to squeeze it all in!