What is First Look?
You heard about “First Look” from your friends, from your photographers, or read it online. For anyone who comes across this article and has no idea what this is, it is when the groom first sees the bride BEFORE the ceremony. How is it done? Usually, the groom waits somewhere and the bride approaches him from behind, taps on his shoulder (like the photo below), the groom turns back and sees the bride for the first time. That simple!
Now, you are wondering if you should do it. Although we strongly recommend it, we want to give you an overall understanding of it, pros and cons. We will tell you about our real experiences and our advice so that you can make a good decision.
Pros of First Look:
- Since you already see each other prior to the ceremony, you can do most of your portraits before the ceremony begins. After the ceremony, time might be short for portraits, or it might get too dark.
- When your portraits are finished early, it takes a huge amount of pressure off. You can also enjoy the cocktail hour, mingle with your guests. It’s a nice gesture to acknowledge their presence.
- It is your intimate private moment. Sometimes, it is easy to express your true emotion when there is no one watching you. This is why First Look lets you be yourselves and focus on your significant other and no one else.
Cons of First Look:
- It breaks the tradition when the bride walks down the aisle. Some couples are serious about tradition and consider seeing each other before the ceremony is bad luck.
- It “might” break the magical moment when you see each other at the altar.
- We’ve done hundreds of First Look. Not all are emotional. There are times when the couples saw each other and didn’t express much emotion.
- For some couples, their reactions during First Look were so emotional. And yet, they were still during the ceremony. We think that seeing the bride during First Look is different than seeing her slowly walking down the aisle. They are two different moments and can lead to different emotions. I remember Kristina & Mark, one of my couples, said this to each other during their First Look: “I’m glad we did this! – Yes! Me too!”
Many couples whom we met asked us whether or not they should do First Look at the very 1st meeting. Instead of telling them YES or NO, I ask them:
- “How much time do you have for the cocktail hours?” and “Are you planning to do lots of family photos after the ceremony?”. If the cocktail hour is less than 1 hour, or if they have a long list of family photos, I suggest they do First Look so that they can get their portraits done early.
- “Is either of you afraid to express your emotion in front of many people?” If yes, First Look might be a good choice for you.
- If you decide to do First Look, make sure that you allow enough buffer time for setup to avoid being rush or delay.
- If you want to do First Look but try to keep the tradition at the same time, check out First Look alternative. It’s getting more popular now.