September 1, 2022
It’s no secret that as a photographer I am a little bias to first looks. Yeah, yeah there is, of course, the added bonus of additional portrait time, joining cocktail hour and relieving some of the pressure of seeing each other for the first time in front of all of your guests. But honestly, my absolute favorite part about a first look is one that is rarely mentioned in first look vs. no first look blogs or posts. And that is that you get to spend more of YOUR wedding day TOGETHER.
Think about it… you work for usually months to over a year planning this perfect day. A day to celebrate the both of you, your love story and the journey you are about to embark on. And then, most couples don’t see each other until over half the day is gone. At that point you usually have about 5-6 hours til midnight. ONLY 5-6 hours TOGETHER on a day you will celebrate from now til forever.
THAT is why I am pro- first look.
But less about the reasoning… let’s get into how to make the most of your first look for a flawless moment on your wedding day.
Tip Number One: Take This Time For Yourselves
Although it takes only minutes, to turn around and see each other, be sure to allot at least 15 mins into your timeline. This way you have plenty of time to take in your partner. Once you turn around, take this time for yourselves. Ask the other about how their morning went, how their nerves are, or what they are most excited about. Your day is about to get pretty insane, and filled with feeling the pull of multiple people in different directions. Which can, sadly, leave you feeling like you didn’t have much alone time with your person. Take this time to be “alone” and just talk and take in the other before you say your vows.
Tip Number Two: Choose Your First Look Preference Ahead of Time
There are multiple different variations of first looks. And trust me, even as a wedding photographer, I am convinced I do not know them all. However I have seen two main ways couples prefer to do first looks. And if you’re reading this to plan for your own first look then I was suggest this… Choose what style you prefer before the wedding day. This way once you are ready to see each other you don’t have to wait even longer figuring it out with your photographer.
The first way, and although it is kind of wrong to use since we are talking about first looks… I am going to call this the traditional way. The traditional way is to have one partner facing away while the other walks up to tap their shoulder, signaling for them to turn around. When you think of a first look this is likely how you think of it going.
Next, we have the natural way. Or natural, as in, there is no tapping, but it makes the moment and photo ops seem more genuine and candid. The natural way is to have both partners turn and walk towards each other. In this case, the photographer would either say to turn, or (as I prefer to do it) have one of the partners yell to the other to decide when they are ready to see each other. The turning, and walking towards each other can almost make the moment feel like a movie scene and I think the hug or kiss once both reach the other is always so genuine and sweet.
Tip Number Three: Try saving a surprise for the alter to still make both “first look” moments their own unique memory.
On Katie & Logan’s wedding day, Katie decided last minute to add in a first look so they could enjoy majority of their cocktail hour with family and friends. However, she kept two things a surprise from Logan. She added on her veil and did a quick shoe change before walking down the aisle. This way she had two unique and equally special moments to surprise Logan and see each other for what felt like the first time all over again.
Her veil was a symbol of her favorite fashion icon Hailey Bieber and her shoes were the ones her grandma wore on her own wedding day. Both sentimental in their own way, and both adding so much to her final walk down the aisle.
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