When meeting with my clients and discussing the flow of their wedding day, I get asked time and time again if I think a First Look is a good idea. Nine times out of ten I'll say, "Yes!!!" - literally, that excitedly because I just love everything about First Looks! While I do encourage my couples to do what they feel is best for their day and will make them happy, I also educate them on the benefits of having a First Look on their wedding day.
A First Look takes the edge off. Let's face it, many people feel nervous in front of the camera or being the center of attention. That combined with all of the nervous energy from seeing your hubby or wifey-to-be for the first time, IN FRONT OF A CROWD OF PEOPLE, can be very stressful. A First Look can help take those nerves away.
That small time frame that it takes to have the First Look can create a more intimate experience for the couple on their wedding day. It'll just be the couple and the people capturing the moment - no crowd nearby watching. This gives the couple some time to themselves. With all the hustle and bustle the day of the wedding has, this time allows them to slow down the day a little bit and take everything in.
The overall flow of the wedding day goes more smoothly with a First Look. Not only will the Bride and Groom get their pictures done, but the Bridal Party pictures will be completed before the ceremony as well, and they will have more time to do so. This helps eliminate the stress of having to rush through pictures after the ceremony and before the reception. Not only does that mean extra time for the Bride/Groom portraits AND Bridal Party portraits, but more time for the couple to enjoy the cocktail hour/reception with their friends and family. This also means that cocktail hour or half hour can begin immediately after the ceremony. The guests won't have to worry about what to do in between the ceremony and reception and everyone will get the party started sooner!
For my wedding, even before we booked vendors, I knew we were going to do a First Look. Our ceremony and reception were at the same venue so we knew we didn't want people trying to figure out what to do with that in between time. Aside from that, I knew I wanted as much time as possible to spend with my Bridal Party/hubby and get as many pictures as time allowed. We weren't once stressed out about the timing and flow of our day! The weather was another story since it was a chilly, rainy, snowy, overcast and sunshiney first weekend in October - thanks Ohio ;P But the forecast wasn't something we could control. The flow of our wedding day was. With careful planning from our end and working closely with our photographers, Swatch Studios (you can see the full blog post here), we were able to create a seamless timeline that worked perfectly for our wedding.
I also HATE being the center of attention (my husband, Lou, could care less. I actually think he prefers to be hah!). And I knew there was a very good chance I was just going to lose it. Let me just clarify, by "lose it" I mean ugly crying and just being an emotional mess. The LAST thing I wanted to do was lose my ish in front of a group of our friends and family! I would've been mortified if that happened! Fortunately it didn't, but if it did, it would've only been in front of my hubby, togs and videographers. No big deal - I could handle that. And if I were on the fence about having a First Look, that fear alone would've made me scream "YES!!!!!!!!" a thousand times over.
I can also say that choosing to have a First Look on our wedding day did not - I repeat DID NOT replace that "walking down the aisle to the man of my dreams" experience. The feels were all there - being walked down the aisle by my daddy, seeing friends and family crying as I made my way to the man I was going to say "I do" to. I cried. Lou cried. My dad acted like the goofy weirdo my dad is, chewing his gum and trying not to cry. I remember it clear as day, a year and a half later. The experience was there, and was complimented by the experience of having my husband seeing me in my dress for the first time on a secluded little path in Mill Creek Park, surrounded by the changing fall foliage.
An adorable MBP couple of mine, Shannon and Tommy, really weighed the pros and cons before ultimately choosing to have a First Look on their wedding day. This is what Shannon thought about the added experience:
So as you consider your position on the First Look debate, really think about all the positives that doing one can bring to your wedding day!