First Look or No First Look…..

What is a first look?

A First Look is just a fancy way of saying are you planning on seeing each other before the wedding. It has been a popular and growing wedding trend for the past several years and for many reasons. Now mind you, we are wedding photographers so we are a little photography bias and tend to love things that allow us ample time to take photos. If you are not quite sure about doing one just yet, keep an open mind and check out our reasons why we think first looks are a good idea and might be something to consider for your wedding.

1. You get the chance to have a special private moment together

I think one of my favorites reasons to do a first look is that you actually have a little time to just have YOUR moment.  It may sound crazy and you might be thinking that its your wedding day and you will have lots of moments together, which yes, you will, but they are fast and quick and people are coming at you from everywhere telling you all kinds of things and its intense! Its also beautiful, magical and lovely. But there is just a lot going on all around you the entire day.

During a first look, you actually have a few quiet minutes where you can just stop and be fully present with each other. You can take the time to breathe, look into each others eyes, & remember why you are there on your wedding day marrying your best friend. We actually tell you that when you are having your “first look” that its your moment and take your time. We won’t interrupt you. You let us know when you are ready to start taking your portraits.

2. Your stress and anxiety are dissolved before the ceremony.  

Another one of the biggest reasons we are pro first looks (besides the obvious, more photo time) is that first looks always help the couples calm each other down. We see it all the time when couples are apart in the beginning of the day they mostly have some sort of anxiety or nervousness present prior to seeing each other. The moment they see each other they exhale. Its as if they have been holding in their breath until l the moment they see each other for the first time. And once that happens everything shifts and they are calm. Giddy and excited too but there is a definite shift that is visible and it can make all the difference in the world. They are finally with their best friend, face to face.

3.The feelings don’t go away

I’ll be honest when we first started doing first looks I wasn’t sold on them. I thought it was going to take away that magical time when you first see each other at the end of the isle. However after doing around 200 weddings, I can tell you that the magical moment is still there even after you have just spent a few hours taking photos together. When you walk down the isle and see eachother face to face, surrounded by all of your family and friends, there is still the anticipation, the build up, and almost always tears.  After we had done a few I was convinced that it doesn’t take away that special moment, it actually gives you two really special moments.
Here is a first look:
Here is their Second look ( Ceremony )

4.Its a Time Saver

Time is crucial on wedding days. The day seems so short and it goes by so fast and even the slightest little thing can throw a “timeline” off. By planning for a first look you have extra time built into your timeline creating a back up plan incase something is running late. You have that pocket of time during the cocktail hour that if god for bid some photos weren’t captured before the ceremony, you can use that extra time to get them done.  Also by doing the photos ahead of time you are creating more time to spend with your family and friends later. You will be a part of your cocktail hour and your reception and be able to see all the loved ones who came to share in your special day.

5. Portraits will be quick and easy

One of the HUGE perks to doing all of your portraits before the ceremony is that we will be able to take all of the wedding party & most of the family photos before hand. This allows them all to relax and enjoy the cocktail hour with the rest of your wedding guests. And overall it seems to be a lot less stressful for everyone. Here are two options:

Portrait schedule if you see each other before your ceremony:

2.5 hours prior to ceremony: First look and Couple portraits alone together
1.5 hours prior to ceremony: Portraits with Wedding Party
1 hour prior to ceremony: Portraits with families
1/2 hour prior to ceremony: Completely done with portraits as your guests begin to arrive — giving you time to relax & freshen up.

Portrait schedule if you don’t see each other before your ceremony:

1.5 hours prior to ceremony: Portraits of Bride with bridesmaids
1 hour prior to ceremony: Portraits of Groom with groomsmen
1/2 hour prior to ceremony: Temporarily done with portraits as your guests begin to arrive — giving you time to relax & freshen up.
Immediately after ceremony: Portraits of Couple alone
30 min. after ceremony: Portraits with families
1 hour after ceremony: Portraits of Wedding party
1.5 hours after ceremony: Completely done with portraits

As you can see, portraits can be taken care of before the ceremony in about 2 hours. If you do not do them beforehand then portraits can take longer ( about 2.5 hours ). It can be very stressful trying to gather the family and wedding party together after the ceremony for portraits. So many times there is just 1 person missing causing a delay in finishing quickly. A lot of time gets wasted and it makes it very difficult for the photographer to finish photos not to mention getting everyones attention.   Also depending on the lighting, sometimes we take the photos of the wedding couple first and then finish the wedding party and family after that. This can again create a lot of stress trying to gather everyone up during cocktail hour. The other factor to consider is that after the ceremony, all of your guests are so excited to congratulate you and say hello. But because of time we have to try and get the photos done as quickly as possible leaving very little or no time for you to mingle with them.


6. You can plan your wedding near sunset.
If you decide to do a first look and the majority of your photos are all taken before the ceremony, it leaves you the flexibility to have your ceremony just before or during sunset. This creates beautiful lighting for your ceremony photos. Also if you are attracted to TPG’s “light and airy” style of photography, we simply must have the natural light to create those types of images for you. Natural light is vital to the look and quality of your portraits. If you decide to not do a first look then just make sure to plan for your ceremony to be early enough so that you can have about 1.5-2 hour block of time for portraits following the ceremony. This also leaves a little buffer time incase anything is running late.
No matter which way you decide to go, your photos will be amazing. I hope that this info helps you when you are considering whether to do a first look or not.