Should I do a First Look?

Should I do a First Look?

Pros, Cons, and a Wedding Photographer’s opinion of replacing Tradition with Intimacy

Full disclosure, I really love First Looks! Honestly, it’s my favorite part of the wedding day. Somebody cries, it’s usually me…

First Looks make the moment so intimate and private. You both can feel free to express your emotions without the pressure of hundreds of people watching. Some couples even opt to read their vows to each other privately before the ceremony.

So why don’t all couples take advantage of First Looks? 

There are Pros and Cons to both that are worth considering as you’re making plans for the big day. In this blog, I’m going to share what those are as well as a few tips to make your First Look moment magical!

First Look: PROs

When I work with my clients to set up a First Look, my primary objective is PRIVACY. We work together to set up a moment in a secluded spot for you and your soon-to-be spouse to see each other all set, and ready to get married.

Rare Alone Time – The first time you see each other is private and shared just between you two! This may also be the only time you get to be together just you two.

So Fresh and So Clean – You both will look your freshest! Pristine presentation for your “one and only” Hair, make-up, the works. No smudges, or streaks (yet). Take advantage of that!

Goodbye Nerves – Even if there’s a burst of nerves right before your first look (trust me, I felt that too!) those nerves disappear the moment you see each other for the first time. Now, you can simply look forward to and enjoy your ceremony with your family and friends.

Extra Portraits – When things run late it’s almost always the wedding couple getting less time for portraits after group photos. A First Look ensures we get plenty of time and you get so many more priceless portraits! 

Smoother Post-Ceremony Transition – You can schedule all wedding party photos (and ideally family photos!) before the ceremony, so afterward you’ll be able to head to your cocktail hour quickly instead of missing all the good food, drinks, and hanging out with your guests!

First Look: CONs

Choosing to do something always means you’re giving something else up. 

If you’ve always pictured that epic moment…the one when the music crescendos, the doors fling open, and everyone is standing and in awe of your entrance as your eyes finally meet for the first time…

If that moment is your dream moment then maybe the First Look isn’t for you.

Traditional: PROs

Opting to go with tradition is still a lovely sentiment and a perfectly viable option as well!

Choosing not to see each other before the ceremony allows for an equally romantic moment where the first time you see each other is when you walk down the aisle. *cue the music!*

Iconic Moment – Keeping with tradition allows for that epic moment and that in of itself is priceless! 

Extra Party Time for Guests – If you are wanting to have a cocktail hour for guests only that you do not want to attend between the ceremony and reception, taking the bulk of your images after the ceremony will allow your guests to mingle and enjoy drinks while you’re getting your pictures taken.

Traditional: CONs

For as long as this tradition has been around, it’s always presented its own set of challenges. 

Less Time for Portraits – If the ceremony begins late, or family photos run longer than expected, then it’s always the wedding couple photo time that gets cut short. That’s a tragedy in my opinion since the day is all about the beginning of your marriage!

Extended Wait Time for Guests – The photo time after the ceremony will take longer so guests could have approximately an hour and a half to two-hour break from when the ceremony ends to when the reception begins. Opting for an extra-long cocktail hour may or may not be in your budget. 

Other Non-Traditional Ideas

Beyond sharing in a photographed First Look moment, there are many other trends on the rise to further create intimacy and personalize your wedding day even more! 

Opt For a Wedding Weekend

This is not a new idea for those choosing to do a destination wedding or multicultural weddings, but many couples are starting to create an entire Wedding Weekend where they invite their bridal party, family, or very close friends to participate in additional activities and events. 

Pre-Wedding Date

Building off the First Look idea, make time in your schedule for some extended private time together on the day of your wedding. Sneak away together for coffee or breakfast, or join each other for breakfast in bed. Can you imagine how chill the rest of the day might feel if you had some relaxing time together!?

First No-Look

Do you just need to hear each other’s voice or hold their hand for a moment but really don’t want to give up that tradition? You can set aside time to meet and stay out of sight, through a cracked door, or just around the corner, you can get creative. You can exchange letters, pray together, hold hands, or maybe steal a blind kiss. It’s your day, make it what you want! 

By New York City Elopement Photographer Sarah Sayeed

Intention over Tradition

Traditions are clearly considered classic for a reason. 

But the trend I hope will be the NEW tradition is making your wedding day as personal as you want. 

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of opting for a tradition for tradition’s sake. You could end up disappointed, feeling like you missed out on doing what YOU actually want! 

So, whether you’re a fan of wedding traditions, or you want to experience your own private moment together, I hope this blog was helpful in your decision-making process!

nyc wedding photographer sarah wight sayeed

Like What You See?

If you're getting married, we need to chat! I can't wait to hear all about you and your love and how I can help make your wedding day unforgettable. Contact me and let's make it happen!

Contact Me