‘Hide the Bride, the Groom is entering the building!’ This was a common theme when I first started shooting weddings back in 2002. The idea of the Bride seeing the Groom before the ceremony was nearly unheard of, some even may have called it taboo! This day in age though it’s more common to see each other before the ceremony, rather than waiting to walk down the aisle. While participating in a First Look can present multiple opportunities, is it really right for you? Today I want to share with you some of my experiences with First Looks and how you can use them to your wedding day agenda advantage.
No two weddings are the same, but there is one common factor to all weddings. The Bride and Groom do not have many moments together alone. There is so much hustle and bustle during the day to get ready, start on time, and for everything to run smoothly there really is no time for the Bride and Groom to chill out together once it all begins. A First Look however, can provide that moment…even if it is for only 10 minutes. Other than your photographer and/or videographer, there isn’t any one else there. This is a moment that the Groom sees his Bride, not only for the first time…but also before all the guests do.
This one is pretty simple. You’ll get more images because you can double (or more) your Bride and Groom portrait time. When you leave the only Bride and Groom portrait session time frame for during the cocktail hour…that’s all the time you have. During this time, you also have to get combined family and wedding party portraits too. This can leave as little as 10 minutes for Bride and Groom photos. If you have an experienced professional photographer, even in just 10 minutes they should be able to provide you with a selection of amazing images. However, if you did a quick First Look, even if for just 10 minutes then now you would have had 20 minutes to capture all of your love and emotion on your wedding day. More time = more images.
I’m not saying that joining your cocktail hour is for everyone…however…I have yet to meet a Bride and Groom that I mention this too and they respond with….Nah, that doesn’t sound good to us. All of your guests have been waiting…literally all day to say hello to you. Most guests don’t have the opportunity to do so until the reception has started and everyone is sitting down to eat. That’s when I see guests bee line to the head table to get a quick hug and a selfie. Usually when this happens, the result is that the Bride and Groom either eat a cold dinner…or don’t eat at all.
If you’re able to join the cocktail hour, here is where your guests can hug you, say congratulations, tell you how amazing the ceremony was and how much they are looking forward to celebrating with you on the dance floor. Oh and grab that selfie too. So, how can you make this happen? The more you do before the ceremony, the less you have to do after. I’ve had some couples go as far as doing all the portraits (including the First Look, immediate family and wedding party) all before the ceremony begins. Then after the ceremony, we take a few more of just the Bride and Groom to capture the essence of their first moments as husband and wife then send them off to mingle with family and friends. Believe me when I say there are endless possibilities and combinations that you can create to give you a little or a lot of time at your cocktail hour.
Bonus Tip: getting all of your photos done before the ceremony ensures your hair and make up is at it’s best!
So, what does this all mean? How can this information help you determine if a First Look is right for you? First, talk with your fiance. How do they feel about it? This is your wedding and no decision should be made without full consideration. Two, talk to the professionals you’ve hired and trust to keep your best interest at heart. If you haven’t hired your photographer I encourage you to check out our very first Guide: How To Hire A Wedding Photographer!
Want to learn even more about First Looks and the best way to get all the important photos you need? Know that I’m here for you and you can contact me anytime!