Planning a first look is the number one way I recommend for couples to create a wedding day timeline that helps them feel relaxed, unhurried, and stress-free on the big day. A first look helps your day flow smoothly, makes for a great photo opportunity, and gives the two of you a chance for a private moment together in a day that will otherwise fly by. If you’re on the fence about whether you want to do a first look, or save this moment for when you’re walking down the aisle, here are 8 reasons why I find couples always love including a first look as part of their wedding day.
1. It helps get rid of your jitters.
As soon as the last button is done up on your wedding dress or the bowtie is straightened on your tux, things will really start to feel real. Inevitably, some nerves start to emerge at this point, and everybody (I mean everyyyybody) finds that a first look helps them calm down. It’s a chance to see your other half, hug it out, remember what this amazing day is supposed to be all about, and get excited for it together.
2. It’s a rare moment of privacy together on your wedding day.
It can be hard to even find a moment of privacy for yourself on your wedding day, let alone spend a peaceful moment with your partner to soak it all in. The first look is one of the only moments when you can send everyone away and enjoy a few minutes of solitude together laugh, cry, hug, and generally take a step back to enjoy the momentous occasion that this day will be for the two of you.
3. You’ll get to enjoy your cocktail hour.
Adding a first look to your wedding day timeline means that we can create time and space before the ceremony to get a whole whack of photographs out of the way. Photographs that we would otherwise have to capturing during your cocktail hour. We often try to do a series of bride and groom photographs during the first look, as well as your wedding party portraits, and immediate family portraits. This means that, after the ceremony, the only photos we’ll have left to take are your extended family photographs, so you’ll be able to get back to your cocktail hour, guests, food, and drinks in no time!
4. It’s the perfect chance to capture so many great bride and groom photographs.
If creating great photographs of the two of you together is a priority for your wedding day, this is often the best moment to really spend some time crafting beautiful photographs together. You will be able to feel fully present and enjoy this time together without feeling like you have to get back to your guests, or fielding a flurry of questions like who has the napkins and where the card box goes. Plus, earlier in the day you’ll still feel like your hair and makeup is fresh, your feet are comfortable, and you won’t be too hot inside of your suit, all things that make having your photograph taken feel so much more comfortable and fun!
5. It builds some buffer time into your day.
This is my favorite reason why first looks are so great. Scheduling an hour or two in for photographs pre-ceremony photographs will automatically build some much needed buffer time into your wedding day. When things start to run behind (which they inevitably do at some time) you won’t have to worry about being late for your ceremony, or losing all your time for bride and groom photographs together. In addition to the first look, we schedule several other, shorter, photo sessions into the day, so we can always get back on track and never have to worry about running out of time. Could it get any more relaxing?!?
6. Get your family photographs finished early.
Some of the most important photographs of the day are your family photographs, but they’re also everybody’s least favourite part of the day. I love getting to take the bulk of your family photographs ahead of time, during the first look photo session. This means you won’t have to spend as long taking photographs instead of going to your cocktail hour after the ceremony, helps us make sure that all family members are present and accounted for in photographs, gives us a chance to take photographs of everybody before they get too hungry, hot, and bothered. Seriously, this is how to make family photographs not suck!
7. Create space for a great emotional photograph
Most people have a much easier time showing their emotion when seeing each other for the first time during the first look, rather than walking down the aisle in front of everybody. Some of the favourite photographs of every wedding day are captured during the first look, when couples feel free to gaze at each other, hug, kiss, twirl, and laugh without the pressure of hundreds of eyes on them.
8. Never worry about being late!
Alright, I may have already said this earlier, but this point is SO important! The number one thing that I see causing stress on a wedding day is the timeline and running behind. Take advantage of the fact that YOU get to create your schedule, and use tools like a first look to schedule in extra time, buffer time, and generally far more time than we actually need for photographs. I can guarantee that some of this time will get used up by other parts of the day running behind, and if we find ourselves with a few extra minutes here and there then you just get to relax, eat, and maybe pop a bottle of bubbly early to celebrate!