Should you do a “first look”?
(AKA, see each other before the ceremony.)
Reasons to do a first look.
- You’d like to spend as much time with each other as possible on your wedding day.
- You’d like a private moment with your spouse before the ceremony.
- You think you’re going to bawl your head off and would like to get a makeup touch-up.
- It sounds super fun and adorable.
- You’re getting married at 6pm in January and are hoping for a least a few portraits with some sunlight.
- Your wedding is a bit on the shorter side (less than 5 hours from ceremony to exit) and you don’t want to spend the whole day with your photographer.
- You know that it’s still a very powerful moment when your groom sees you walk down the aisle (even if he’s already seen you!).
Reasons not to do a first look.
- You’re the superstitious type. (more on this later)
- You love the idea of him not seeing you until you’re walking down that long, awesome aisle!
- You’re hoping to do all the portraits before the ceremony so you can rage at cocktail hour. (More on this later as well)
- You’re hoping for a tearful groom photo. We (the photographers of the world) are all hoping for that. It’s rad when it happens but sometimes he’s just all “hey babe, sick dress”.
- Pressure from others to do one because it’s more “modern”.
How did the tradition of not seeing the bride before the ceremony start?
In the old days when marriages were more business transactions than anything else, many couples didn’t meet at all before the wedding day.
Your dad probably sold you (the bride) off for some goats and was nervous that if the groom saw you beforehand and thought you were hideous, his family would retract the deal and your family would be mired in shame (and goat-less).
This is also where the tradition of wearing a veil (covering the front of the face as well) came from. The groom wouldn’t see the bride until the very last possible second and lessen the chance of him running away. So touching.
This tradition/superstition has evolved into a tender moment but I think we can put the idea that it’s “bad luck” to bed. : )
While the idea of doing all the portraits before the ceremony is a great one, it usually does not work out completely. Don’t get me wrong, we can a lot for sure, but knocking out ALL of the portraits is usually not going to happen.
- Reason numero uno……inherently someone is late, lost, not quite ready or dealing with a child that’s losing its damn mind.
- Time. You still would like to make a grand entrance down the aisle and surprise peeps with your sublime hotness. However, everyone came super early to your wedding so you have to hide in some room away from the ceremony site. It happens every single time.
- In Texas summer, the bright ass sun will melt you and yours and sap the energy right out of you.
- The lighting sucks. Especially in summer. You cannot make 3pm sun looks like 7pm sun. You just can’t. In order to expose correctly for your skin, I’ll have to completely blow out the background of your glorious venue. For simple family/bridal party/group photos we can make most any situation work but for those gorgeous, enviromental, romantic images…..later is simply better.
So what do you prefer, Tara?
I’m pretty impartial truthfully and enjoy both.
In summer I don’t care for them just as much since it’s just so darn hot and we have oodles of light left.
In winter I’m thankful when a couple does the first look.
The only, and I mean only time, I would really suggest doing it is if pretty, sunlit portraits are important to you and you are having a late-ish winter wedding.
Just my two cents for Tuesday. Hope this helps you figure out if you should do a first look or not! Should you do a first look?
Need more advice? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.