The first look.  It’s the latest craze.  Wedding coordinators are embracing it and mothers-of-the-bride, for the sake of tradition, are not.  As for me, well I sit comfortably on the fence, undecided.  Probably a result of the fact that I’ve seen it go very, very well and also not so well.  From my experience, here are the reasons why I love the first look and why I’m still not sold.

Love it…

1.  Nerves.  Some couples love the anticipation of spending the night apart and spending half the day getting ready to lead up to the grand moment that you walk down the aisle, others hate it.  They feel nothing but nerves and anxiety and all they want is to be together.  If you anticipate being the latter of the two, the first look was made for you.

2.  Time together.  With all the time spent getting ready, half of your wedding day is over before you ever see your man.  The first look affords the opportunity to spend more time together which on your wedding day is what it’s all about.

3.  Time to mingle.  The first look affords you the opportunity to get all your formal photography done prior to the ceremony.  This opens up your entire cocktail hour to mingle with your guests.

4.  Time for photography.  If photography is super important to you this allows for more time to spend on photography or the opportunity to go to a different location before your ceremony starts.

but…

1. Nerves.  Yes, this is my number one reason for AND against the first look.  Why, you ask?  Well, it’s the number one reason why I’ve seen first looks succeed and fail.  If you are a control freak, and it’s okay if you are (I am and am not afraid to admit it) then the first look may not be for you.  This is when your nerves will get the best of you.  You can’t help but worry about all the little details that you’ve worked so hard on and now just hours if not minutes away from everyone arriving a million questions are running through your head.  Have the musicians arrived yet?  Did the aisle runner get put out?  What do the centerpieces look like?  Then it’s time for your First Look, you see your fiance, your best friend, your rock and WHAM! your control freak tendencies take over and you think “He will have all the answers!”.  The First Look should not be about taking care of last minute details but unfortunately I’ve seen it go down that way.

2.  Tradition.  Just because the first look is the latest trend doesn’t mean that it has to be for you.  If you have been dreaming since you were a little girl of the moment you walk down the aisle and see your husband-to-be for the first time then why would you change that now?  It’s an incredible moment, one of my favorite to photograph and I will admit that sometimes it feels a little anti-climatic when the bride and groom have already seen each other.  However, I have not directly asked any of my clients that have done First Looks if they felt that way too.  I would love some feedback if anyone is willing to share!

3.  The high.  I’ve witnessed some great First Looks but there is nothing quite like the moment immediately after you are married.  This is one of the greatest emotional highs you will feel in your lifetime.  I LOVE photographing that moment.  You’re married, the nerves are gone and for a few minutes nothing else exists in the world but you and your husband.  It’s a beautiful moment and why I absolutely love to do portraits of the bride and groom immediately following the ceremony.

4.  Photography.  Although a First Look allows for more time for photography, waiting until after the ceremony typically affords the best light for photography.  I’d rather have 15 minutes to shoot in ideal light than an hour to shoot in the harsh mid-day sun.

Hopefully this post has not put you on the fence along side me as that is not what I intended.  Instead I wanted to convey that I believe it is up to each individual couple to decide if a First Look is for them or not.  Don’t do it because any one else tells you that you should.  Do it because you love the idea of it.  As a photographer, it’s my job to photograph whatever it is my couples decide to do and create the very best photographs possible.

Will you or did you do a First Look on your wedding day?  I’d love to hear your opinion of the First Look!