Wedding Wednesday | What Are First Looks and Are They Worth It?

What is a First Look and is it worth it?

I have confessed my deep love for “First Looks” numerous times on my blog and I tend to point them out in every blog post. There is a reason for this. They’re AWESOME! However, not everyone is aware of how awesome they are, because they get caught up in how “non- traditional” it is, and they immediately write it off.

I can talk about those brides because I have seen so many of them! You want a REACTION….you want him to be so surprised and overcome with joy when you walk down the aisle that he bawled at the first sight! Isn’t that EVERY girl’s dream? Who doesn’t want that reaction? Funny enough, most brides think this can only be accomplished with one first sighting or the other you can have the best of both worlds by deciding to share an intimate “First Look” moment on your wedding day, AND he’ll still probably LOSE IT when you walk down the aisle because there are so many emotions happening in one day.

After shooting over 100 weddings…. I’ve come to this conclusion. Some brides love the normal tradition…. but what a bride REALLY wants from her groom when he sees her for the first time, is a REACTION. Those who are not interested in a First Look usually think that by seeing each other beforehand, they will lose part of that reaction. They also assume that it will not be as emotional or as intimate as it would be if they were coming down the aisle. What I have found is that this is not the case! Everyone knows that wedding days are a bit stressful for the bride and groom.

A First Look happens before the ceremony and this is your time to be TOGETHER…and to be ALONE. When does that happen on a wedding day? Without a First Look…. it doesn’t. After your romantic portraits are done, you meet up with your best friends. Your bridal party joins you and because you still have plenty of time to spare… you can touch up a little makeup while the boys act like boys. After a few minutes the bridal party portraits begin and they’re FUN. They’re FUN, because there is time to make them FUN.

There aren’t any guests waiting impatiently at the cocktail hour and there isn’t a DJ coming to find the photographer to get a time check. It’s wonderful!

After portraits are done, the girls and guys separate and prepare for the ceremony. The guests begin to arrive and the ushers are in place. Pretty soon it’s time for the processional music to begin and one by one, the bridesmaids make their way down to the front of the ceremony. As the groom clasps his hands… they aren’t clasped out of nervousness but excitement. The music builds, the mother of the bride stands and all of the guests follow her lead. The groom looks up, and here you come, the BRIDE!!! His best friend, his companion, his sweetheart…..you’re stunning…. ABSOLUTELY stunning. The closer you gets, the bigger he smiles.

Now let me put a disclaimer on here before we continue…my SP Couples are not required to do a First Look by any means!

However, I’ve seen the benefits of a first look over and over again, and so I only share this because I want the BEST for my couples!! It’s totally ok if couples choose not to share a first look! It’s just my preference to do one for many reasons…. Keep reading to find out more of the benefits of sharing your first look privately!

FIRST LOOK | Why it’s Worth It

The Full Breakdown

40% MORE PORTRAITS

You’re investing a lot into your wedding photography. With a first look, you’ll receive 40% MORE portraits of the two of you… and those are the images you will decorate your first home with! (Believe me, our house is PACKED full of our portraits!) With a first look, you make the most out of this large investment and get the most for your money.

ENJOY THE SURPRISE FREELY

You actually get to have intimate time on your wedding day with your man. Most brides don’t realize that when you come down the aisle and totally SHOCK him with your gorgeous-ness… he can’t even tell you how amazing you look. He can’t touch you, embrace you or even SPEAK to you. You have to wait until 30 (or more) minutes later when the ceremony is over for him to react and tell you how amazing you look. And after 30 minutes of the ceremony, the reaction isn’t the same as the initial first glance.

EXTEND YOUR DAY BY 3

First Looks allow you to extend your wedding day. Normally the wedding day would start when you come down the aisle, then the ceremony would end, you would rush through portraits so that you’re not late for the introductions and then it’s reception time. With a first look, your wedding day is extended by almost 3 hours! Instead of being rushed for your bridal party portraits… you actually get to enjoy them and have fun hanging out with your BEST friends on your wedding day. The WHOLE first half of my couple’s wedding albums are filled with images just from this time together before the ceremony.

YOUR ONLY ALONE TIME

First Looks allow you to be TOGETHER and alone on your wedding day. When you see each other, not only will it be intimate, it might be your only time to be alone the whole day! Normally portraits are a little rushed after the family formals, and it can be hard to really get back into that “lovey dovey” mode…. especially with family around! When you have just shared your first look, you’re READY to love on each other, and I always capture some super sweet images during those moments!

DIMINISHES NERVES

You get rid of your nerves! I’d say, literally 50% of my couples who have decided to do a first look, the grooms were not fans of it at first. However, because they have never experienced their wedding day before, they didn’t know how nerve-racking it can be. I’ve heard from so many grooms who initially weren’t a fan of the first look… but afterward admitted to being SO much more relaxed and ready for the ceremony!

  1. […] timeline, Elyse came up with the idea of going to The 205 Coffee Bar in Downtown Holland for their First Look! I can’t tell you how much I loved this idea and I’m certain you’ll love the photos as much […]

  2. […] initial disappointment disappeared when Jonathan finally saw Jena in her wedding dress during their First Look. He could not stop talking about how beautiful she was and they both cried well-deserved tears of […]

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stephanie parshall photography

Grand rapids, michigan