First look photos are a growing trend in the wedding industry today. Photographers love them because they have more time to capture the special moment (plus they don’t have to duck around guests to get the shot). Planners love them because they save time. But do couples love them? We’re going to talk a little about the benefits of first look photos, as well as the advantages to following a more traditional path. The most important thing to remember is that this is a very personal decision that the bride and groom should make together. Definitely discuss it between yourselves, and be confident that either way, the first time you see your partner all dolled up on your wedding day will be a special and memorable moment.
So what exactly are first look photos? This is a time planned ahead of the ceremony where the bride and groom can meet up and spend a few minutes together prior to the wedding, instead of seeing each other for the first time as the bride walks down the aisle. Usually, the photographer and/or videographer will capture a few pictures of the emotional first glimpse that the bride and groom get of each other, then fade away into the background to allow the couple to share some alone time. This is a very special moment for the bride and groom. It’s a great way to ease everyone’s stress level before the walk down the aisle. It can also be a moment in which you can be fully yourself, without worrying about how you appear in the eyes of your guests. It gives you a chance to experience all the wonderful, dizzying emotions of the day – together.
Many couples, on the other hand, like to preserve the tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other before the wedding. Many of my brides who do not want first look photos want to experience that rush of nerves walking down the aisle. Sometimes, the groom is very adamant about not seeing the bride before the ceremony, wanting to experience the first look with his family and friends. Occasionally this can be a sticking point for more traditional parents or grandparents, and giving in gracefully can give you a bargaining chip for negotiations concerning other parts of the ceremony or reception.
Photographers and planners will often advocate for first look photos because of the timeline benefits. More light for photos is a plus for many outdoor venues. Additionally, taking some photos together before the ceremony can smooth out the transition from ceremony to reception and bring the bride and groom together with their guests much more quickly as many photographers ask for 20-30 minutes with the couple after the ceremony to get some couple shots. These factors are a bonus – but they shouldn’t be the basis for your decision as to whether to do first look photos or not. As a couple, you should weigh the pros and cons together and decide what is best for you. We try to present this as just an option for our couples. Always go with what your heart tells you, regardless of pressure from any of your vendors.
Photo by Crystal Littrell Photography at the Old Red Museum.