Pros and cons of a first look! Just when you thought you had your head around wedding planning and a list to tick off… you might start hearing some unknown terms being flung around in wedding circles. A ‘first look’ can be one of those terms – it certainly has had some of our clients looking a tad confused when they first hear it!

What is a first look?

A first look is when you and your partner see each other before your ceremony with your photographer present to snap those gorgeous first moments when you clap eyes on each other! Often the bridal party will head off for some photos too prior to the ceremony.

What??? So, we’d see each other before the ceremony?

Yep, I know – for some people it’s a very polarising idea! As with so many things to do with weddings, you can absolutely stick to tradition and not see each other until the ceremony starts. It’s all about what you want to do! However, if you are someone who isn’t hung up on tradition or you’re open to ideas, it can be a really cool option to explore!

Bride and groom embracing

What are some of the pros then?

There are SO many!! First off, it is such a beautifully intimate and private time for you and your partner to sneak a few moments together during one of the most important days in your lives! Grabbing a few minutes here and there throughout the day isn’t easy, so a first look is such a special way to start off your wedding day.

It helps to settle your nerves!

It’s totally normal to feel nervous, and a first look is such a great way of relieving a little bit of your nerves, seeing your partner and being excited for the day you have ahead of you!

Bride and groom embracing, groom's and on back of bride

It can be a lot more relaxing and mean you can spend more time with your guests!

There is a lot of activity on your wedding day, lots of things that are all important to fit into an afternoon or evening. Spending time with your nearest and dearest has to be up there too. It can feel a little overwhelming trying to make it all work. A first look frees up time! Time for you to mix and mingle, time for you to soak up your day and be surrounded by your guests.

Your hair and makeup are completely fresh for your photos!

No worries if you shed a tear during your ceremony, or your hair gets a little wind swept – the majority of your photos are done, so you don’t need to panic about touching things up (unless you want to, of course!).

Bride and groom walking through tussock in the hills at dusk

Photo credit: Mandy Caldwell Photography 

Ok so what about the cons then?

Sure, we’d be lying if we said there wasn’t any cons! We think the cons are pretty limited though! Of course, if you have your photos before your ceremony, you will have to start getting ready earlier. So yes, you may lose some time there. Have a chat to your photographer about how early you would need to start having photos taken, and chat to your makeup artist too. Don’t make your timeline too tight, ensure you give yourself plenty of time to get ready – and hey, you could always make your ceremony that little bit later!

It is bucking tradition, and if you’re a traditional person or feel strongly about seeing your partner at the ceremony for the first time, it’s your day and you should do it your way! It really comes down to your own personal preference.

We did ask a photographer friend what they think about first looks. Libby from Libby Ellmers Photography had this to say: “I really love first looks as I think it takes away some of that anxiety that the bride and groom are feeling, and it frees up so much time with your guests after the ceremony. As a photographer, I want to capture your whole day, and I find with a first look there is a lot more opportunity to capture the bride and groom enjoying time with their guests.”

So, there you have it! Pros and cons of a first look. Remember the biggest thing is that you do your wedding your way, so if something doesn’t sit right with you, don’t be afraid to think outside the square!

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