Something I talk to my clients about a lot while planning their timeline is a “first look”. It is important to know whether or not you are doing one, as it will have an effect on the rest of your timeline for the day.
What is a first look?
A first look is the first moment you see each other, all dressed and ready for your wedding day.
More specifically, a first look is a private moment shared between the two of you (usually documented by your photographer and videographer) as opposed to having that first look as you walk down the aisle with all of your guests present as well.
Do I have to have a first look?
Of course not! The wedding day is yours to plan as you wish. There are benefits to both having a first look and not, depending on your own personal preference. I’ll outline it below so you can make a decision yourself whether a first look is right for you!
Benefits to a first look:
- Make more room in your timeline. If your timeline is a little tight, you want it to feel relaxed, or you don’t want to make your guests hang around for two hours between your ceremony and reception, having a first look is a great way to free up your time after the ceremony. After having a first look, that means you don’t have to hide from each other anymore! You can go directly into couples portraits, wedding party photos, family photos, and get it all done before the ceremony. This means if you want to enjoy your cocktail or appetizer hour with your guests, you can!
- Make this very special moment more private. If you’re more of a private person and you don’t enjoy the idea of having an audience during your special moment, you can make it private by having a first look!
- Keep your vows private. Don’t enjoy the thought of everyone hearing your vows? Use the first look as a private time to read your vows to one another. You can also read each other a letter, share a gift, or use this moment for literally anything special that you can think of (it doesn’t have to be formal!).
- Take a second to slow down and be together. Your wedding day takes months to plan, thousands of dollars to create, and goes by in a flash. When you intentionally plan a moment like a first look, you now have a moment to catch your breath and spend time alone with your soon-to-be husband or wife.
Benefits to not having a first look:
- Honor tradition. Many people have dreamed about the moment when their husband or wife sees them coming down the aisle (cue tears). It’s an incredibly special moment that should be honored if that’s what you want to do! There’s NOTHING wrong with honoring this tradition.
- Have fun with your couples portraits or wedding party. You’ve got to do your “together” wedding party and family photos after the ceremony. Why not make it fun? If your ceremony and reception are at two different locations, get a bus and choose a photo location in between for these shots! Your guests will be enjoying cocktails and appetizers – it is okay!
At the end of the day, both are great options and it’s up to what you prefer. Happy wedding planning!