When it comes to weddings, one question that we hear a lot is whether or not to do a "first look." As a seasoned wedding videographer with over seven years of experience, I've had this conversation hundreds of times. In this blog, I want to break down the concept of a first look, discuss its pros and cons, and explore some variations of it. By the end, you'll be able to make a more educated decision about whether a first look is right for your wedding day.
What is a First Look?
A first look is a simple concept: it involves the couple seeing each other before the traditional walking-down-the-aisle moment during the ceremony. This private moment allows the couple to share a special time together before the whirlwind of the wedding day begins.
The Pros of a First Look
There are several advantages to doing a first look on your wedding day. Firstly, it provides you and your spouse with a dedicated moment to spend together. Weddings can be chaotic to say the least, with little or no time for some intimate one on one interaction. A first look ensures that you have a cherished moment to connect before the ceremonies begin. Secondly, one of the biggest benefits of a first look is the opportunity to capture most of your wedding photos before the ceremony. By having a private photo session beforehand, you can focus on the joy of the reception without the pressure of taking a bunch of pictures. This allows you to spend more time with your loved ones and enjoy the reception for a lot longer.
The Cons of a First Look
While there are numerous benefits to a first look, it's important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. One significant con is that it can diminish the sense of tradition associated with waiting until the ceremony to see each other for the first time. Some couples value the anticipation and build-up that comes with that momentous walk down the aisle. However, it's essential to recognize that this con may not be relevant to everyone. Many brides, for example, are excited to see their groom's emotional reaction, whether during a first look or the ceremony itself. In my experience, couples have said it doesn’t really ruin the build up, even if the couple has already seen each other. Ultimately, the importance of maintaining tradition or prioritizing capturing the moment in photos will vary from person to person.
Variations of a First Look
If you're unsure about doing a first look, there are some alternative options worth considering. One popular variation is called a "first touch." In a first touch, the couple stands on either side of a door or around a corner, which allows them to hear each other and be in each other's presence without actually seeing one another. This option allows for an intimate moment while preserving the surprise element for the ceremony. Another alternative is letter readings. This can be done with or without a first touch or a first look. Couples can exchange heartfelt letters to express their love and emotions, either behind closed doors or around a corner. Private vows are also a possibility, where the couple reads personal vows to each other during a first touch or after a first look, and keeps the traditional vows for the ceremony.
As someone who has captured hundreds of weddings over the years, I believe that the decision to have a first look ultimately should be for you to decide. While some may label it as non-traditional, it's essential to remember that it's your wedding day, and you have the freedom to choose what feels right for you. Whether you opt for a first look, a first touch, or stick to tradition, the most important thing is that you create a day that is meaningful and memorable to you and your partner.