One of the biggest decisions you will make for your wedding day is the decision whether or not to have a first look. First looks are an organized time on your wedding day for you and your partner to see each other typically a few hours before ceremony, and typically followed by time for formal photos. Here are some of the reasons you should be considering one for your big day!
1. They create a private moment for you and your partner
Depending on your guest count, a lot of your wedding day can be pretty public. With a typical wedding day, you would be seeing each other for the first time during your ceremony with everyone watching. By setting up a first look, you get to see each other for the first time and really soak in the moment and express your emotions freely without worry about who's watching. This is also a great time for things like private vow readings, etc!
2. Calm your nerves
For a lot of people, their partner is a sense of calm. In the whirlwind of a wedding day, it can be nice to see each other and shake off some of the nerves together before all of the big events begin.
3. Get all of your photos done before your ceremony
Depending on who is present prior to your ceremony you can get most, if not all, of your formal photos out of the way! That's portraits of the two of you, wedding party, and family formals. This divides your day so you have photo time, and then you have your event time. With most of the photos out of the way you can truly enjoy your wedding events uninterrupted once they start.
4. Guaranteed time for photos of the two of you
In a wedding timeline without a first look, cocktail hour is typically used for all of those formal photos we mentioned: wedding party, family, and portraits of you and your partner. Since you want to dismiss people to cocktail hour as you go through your photo list you'll start with wedding party and family first. If your ceremony goes overtime, family photos take more time than planned, you have to head in to get your dress bustled before reception, etc. that hour of time shrinks, and as that hour of time shrinks, so does the time for your portraits. I have photographed wedding days where we were left with as little as 8 minutes for formal photos of the wedding couple. It's your big day! You want to make sure that there is more than enough time to get the photos that you want and really capture the love the two of you share.
5. Spend more of the day together
Typically, wedding ceremonies do not begin until the late afternoon or evening. If you wait to see your partner until then, that's only a few hours left of the day to spend together and those hours will be spent also mingling with your guests. With a first look you can see each other as early as you would like, and can schedule in private time together before all of the events of the day begin.
6. Relax and enjoy your cocktail hour!
Whether you join the cocktail hour with your guests, host a private cocktail hour with your partner and/or wedding party, or just take the time to rest - this is one of the biggest deciding factors for couple's choosing whether or not to do a first look.