Get to the reception faster
At every wedding, everyone wants to get to the reception as soon as possible. Which is totally understandable. After the ceremony, everybody is ready for some food and a good time. Plus you paid for that reception time, darn it. And you would like to spend it at the reception. BUT traditionally, after the ceremony the bride and groom will take pictures with their family and bridal party, as well as pictures of just the two of them before they can head over to party town.
When you have a first-look, however, pictures are done before the ceremony. Not just pictures of the bride and groom but family formals, bridal party, all of it gets done before the ceremony. Most receptions immediately follow the ceremony. Without a first look, you’re looking at spending about an hour of reception time getting those images after the ceremony. With a first-look, all photos will be taken before so the only photos we’ll take after the ceremony will be “official” husband and wife portraits. The husband-wife portraits take 30 minutes tops and then you’re off to your grand entrance! That’s more time you’re spending with friends and family and having fun!
The bridal party loves it!
Everyone knows photos are not the guys’ favorite thing to do. They just want to get some drinks and chill out. So, the groomsmen love it when the ceremony is over and we get to tell them to head straight to the reception. Because we take all their photos with the bride and groom earlier, we don’t need them after the ceremony.
Our beautiful bridesmaids also love getting to head straight to the reception. But they love even more that with a first-look their hair and makeup is still fresh for photos and their feet aren’t aching from having to stand so long in heels. This also applies to our bride, of course! Fresh hair and makeup and no aching feet (yet), is there a better time for pictures?
More pictures of you two together
The pictures you will cherish the most are the pictures of you and your spouse. Too often husband and wife portraits are cut short because the timeline starts to run behind, everyone wants to hurry to get to the reception, or we run out of sunlight.
Not only do you deserve the time for pictures together, beautiful pictures require time. We have to check and make sure the shots we take are in proper focus, everyone’s eyes are open, etc. If there’s lighting changes, we have to adjust our settings. This all takes time. While your photographer will work the time you give them, a ten 10 minute photo session does not compare to an hour long session.
On average you will receive 3x more images of you two together when you do a first-look.
Golden hour shots even with a night ceremony
If you’re having a night ceremony, or if it will be nighttime by the time the ceremony is over, you can still get golden hour pictures of you two together. What’s the golden hour, you ask? That beautiful time of day that begins about an hour before the sun sets and gives pictures that gorgeous golden glow.
Even if it’s overcast and we don’t get that “glow,” nothing compares to natural light. Unless you specifically like the off-camera-flash look (which is totally cool if you do!), natural light is the way to go!
Time together alone
It’s hard to get a moment alone on your wedding day. All eyes are on you. You’re surrounded by friends and family who all love you and want to congratulate you.
It’s hard to find a moment for just the two of you together to be able to soak up the precious day you’re sharing.
A first look allows a moment for you two to just be yourselves, and be the best friends that you are on the most important day of your lives before everyone else comes flooding in.
Ruining the “aisle moment”
The biggest concern brides usually have is that a first look will ruin the “aisle moment" -- the moment where the groom sees the bride coming down the aisle.
Many brides hope to see their groom become emotional upon seeing them for the first time. We see it in movies and T.V. Youtube has countless videos of grooms dropping their jaws, tearing up and crying. But it's important to understand that not every guy is the same.
As a bride myself, I used to always imagine my fiancé crying as he saw me come down the aisle and would joke that he “better” or I would go back up the aisle and do it again. But I’ve come to terms that it simply isn’t the type of person he is and it isn’t fair to expect that of him. He might surprise us both and end up crying after all, but if he doesn’t that’s ok. Our joy of joining together in marriage will be the same.
(Update: We have since been married. He did not cry during our first look, but he definitely choked up a little when I came down the aisle. He denies it, but there's photo evidence.)
So, if your guy isn’t an outwardly emotional person, chances are he probably won’t cry or react hugely with or without a first look. If your guy IS an outwardly emotional person, he is likely to show it at both the first look AND the aisle moment.
When you have that moment together you also get to ease a lot of the nerves and tensions you both probably have. It’s a big day, after all! Grooms especially will say they’re glad they got their nerves out of the way during the first look before having to stand before friends and family.
This can help both the groom and the bride express more emotion during the ceremony rather than shock.
If you're still on the fence (or just didn't feel like reading the whole article) here's highlights on why you should definitely do a first-look.
Get to the party faster!
Your bridal party will love you for it.
On average 3x more photos of you two together!
You get natural light/golden hour shots even if you're having a night ceremony.
You get to spend time alone together.
Personally, I think it's a whole lot of benefits and not really any cons. I promise you won't regret having a first-look, you'll be happy you did!