I’m regularly asked by couples to discuss the pro’s and con’s of scheduling a first look or ‘reveal’ into their wedding day timeline. People are often torn between the traditional approach of seeing each other for the first time walking down the aisle, versus planning a more intimate moment together before the wedding day kicks into gear. If you’re on the fence, take a look through the following three reasons why I love when couples plan a first look together.
1. Get Your ‘Jitters’ Out
That moment when you put your dress on is often when things start to feel real, and the pre-wedding excitement nerves start to kick in. Getting to see each other before the ceremony often calms people down and releases all that tension that builds up before the much anticipated walk down the aisle. It’s a great chance to hug it out, smile, laugh, joke, and get excited together about your ceremony. I typically find that people feel less need to be stoic during this portion of the day, and am often able to capture the kind of emotional ‘seeing each other for the first time’ shots that are more difficult to create during the ceremony when things are more rushed and too crowded to get the best angle.
2. Take Time to Enjoy a Quiet Moment Together
Once the ceremony begins, the rest of the wedding day can pass in a whirlwind of activity spending time greeting and visiting with all the loved ones who are there with you. The first look is a chance to soak it all in quietly, say what you need to say to one another, exchange letters or gifts, and spend a few peaceful moments together to acknowledge your wedding day before getting started.
3. Create a More Balanced and Fail-safe Photography Timeline
Planning a first look also helps create a more balanced photography timeline for the day. First, it allows us to take some bride/groom portraits before the ceremony, reducing the long cocktail hour photography session when you’re feeling hungry, thirsty, and want to greet your guests. It also creates the option of getting some family or wedding party photographs done earlier in the day, when everybody is looking and feeling fresh (and we won’t lose any wayward family members to the snacks and bar after the ceremony).
Finally, it splits up our photography time rather than planning it all for one portion of the day. This helps us keep your wedding from feeling like a photo shoot (boring!), and also builds backup time into the schedule so we don’t risk losing our time to take photographs if things start to get behind!
I love when couples plan time for a first look together into their wedding day. Some of my favorite photographs with the most emotion are created during the first look portion of the day, and couples always tell me how much more they were able to enjoy the ceremony after having had a few moments to spend together and relax. Of course there's something equally beautiful about an emotional first look walking down the aisle towards each other, but if you're on the fence about the pro's and con's I always recommend the functionality of planning a first look!