I get asked this question over and over.  Should we do a first look or not?  Great question.  My answer will always be yes!  Why?  It usually ends up being one of my most favorite moments of the day.  The reaction and the emotions we see from our bride and grooms are priceless.  To be honest, I frequently find myself crying during those moments too.   It’s a moment, during their wedding day, that they have to themselves.  It’s one of the important moments of the day, a moment they can really enjoy.  The moment they first see their soon to be husband or wife.

*  By doing a first look, our couples are able to savor the moment..to extend their first time seeing each other on the wedding day.   They can talk the moment they see each other.  They don’t have to worry about holding back tears or emotions.  It’s your wedding day, enjoy it, take it all in, and for the love of god, let that emotion show!  It’s also the only alone time the two of you will have, until after the wedding of course.  The wedding is about two people getting married and in my opinion, you deserve that time alone with your partner.

Timing

* As photographers, we want to create the best possible images for you.  It’s what we love to do.  When we only get 20 minutes with a bride and groom,  it doesn’t give us much time to work with. We often feel rushed and we always feel if we just had more time, we could have done so much more.  But with a first look, we plan out the time beforehand and we often get the amount of time we prefer with a bride and groom.  Immediately  following the first look, Michael and I take pictures of the bride and groom for the next hour (or that’s what we hope for, the more time you can give us, the better).  Following that, we take pictures of the bridal party and finally the family pictures.  You could have all of your pictures done before the ceremony even starts.

Cocktail Hour 

* You can actually attend the cocktail hour that you paid for.  This has also become the new receiving line.  This is a time that we’ve noticed, bride and grooms will say their hellos and thank you’s.  Typically in wedding tradition, this was done during the reception.  But honestly, what fun is that?  You are missing your reception.  I think after so many months of planning, you both deserve to get your tushies on the floor and let loose.  I also think you should have time to eat at your reception!

If you didn’t do a first look and you have one hour between your ceremony and reception.  During that time we need to do family photos, pictures of the wedding party, and pictures of the bride and groom.  We will not get much time with our bride and groom for their pictures and they will not see any of cocktail hour.

The Flow of your Day

* The flow of the day is far more smoother.  Everything flows great together.  Just trust me on that one, lol.

Winter Weddings

* Many couples do not think about daylight savings time when they book their winter wedding.   The sun sets around 4-4:30 here on the east coast, so in most cases, the first look is the best option.  As much as we love doing night portraits, we also want our bride and grooms to have gorgeous natural light photos together as well.

Below are some of our favorite first look moments!

Delaware-First-look Photo Merion-tribute-house-wedding-photo Joesph-ambler-inn-wedding-photo First-Look-Photo please-touch-museum-wedding-photo First-Look-Photo First-Look-Photo First-Look-Photo

Some bride and grooms are afraid the emotion will not be the same when they walk down the isle after doing a first look.  I disagree with this point.  If you are an emotional person, you are going to cry whether you see her before the ceremony or at the ceremony, most likely both.  If you are a person that has a hard time showing that emotion (cough* guys), chances are you may not let that emotion show regardless.   Trust me ladies, the nerves and emotion will still be there.  You are walking down the isle, in front of all of your family and friends, to meet the man of your dreams at the end of the runner.  Not only will you get that fluttery feeling in your belly once, you’ll get that feeling twice!

First-Look-Photo First-Look-Photo

Another concern we hear…if we see each other beforehand, I’m afraid that my husband may not cry when I walk down the isle .  This ties in with the last concern.  Ladies, if your guy is emotional and has no problem showing that emotion, there will be tears in his eyes regardless.  Chances are, you’ll see him cry twice that day.  The moment he first sees you and the moment your dad let’s go of your hand and puts it into his.

First-Look-Photo bride-groom-first-look-photo First-Look-Photo philadelphia-fine-arts-wedding-photo First-Look-Photo Philadelphia-fine-arts-wedding-photo

*totally random, but I just got teary.  I’m an emotional person for sure.  We’ve photographed around 150 weddings and every time we do a first look, my heart is filled with so much joy when I see each couples reactions and then again their reaction when they realize their wife is walking down the isle and that their groom is just a few feet and minutes away from being their husband.  {Ben and Yaya had me crying AT LEAST 6 times at their wedding}

Holly-Hedge-wedding-photo First-Look-Photo Holly-Hedge-wedding-photoPhiladelphia Wedding Photography Philadelphia Wedding Photography

first-look-photo first-look-photo Bartrams-garden-wedding-photo Bartrams-Garden-Wedding-Photo

So brides, if you’re thinking it, go for it.  And let the documenting to us, let us capture that moment of you two together.   :0)

xoxo,

Melissa.

  1. Brittan
    March 15, 2013

    I’m so torn! We still have some time to decide 😉 LOVE these shots – they are absolutely beautiful! Can’t wait!

    • Melissa
      March 15, 2013

      We’ll talk about it 🙂

  2. Alex
    March 15, 2013

    I love your advice and all the blogs you post – I am an overwhelmed bride to be…this is so helpful. I just wish you were available for my wedding! (if you get a 6/29 cancellation, let me know!)

  3. October 11, 2015

    This is a great article! I had not considered it at all but I can certainly see the advantages of doing this. My husband was not keen of taking a bit part of the day out for photos, so doing this would have been perfect. When living in NZ/AU I found that lots of couples did this and was considered the norm!

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