I'm Jessica Lauren - a wedding photographer for happy couples who are stoked about their wedding day! I couldn't be more thrilled that you stopped by! This is where I share bits and pieces of my passionate heart, spontaneous adventures, and pretty pictures of my rad clients! Feel free to grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile! xoxo

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Educational, For Brides

October 7, 2021

5 Reasons Why It’s a Great Idea to do a First Look

Why should you have a first look?

It’s a question I get all the time from couples and I love explaining why they should have a first look! While first looks have gained popularity over the last few years, there’s still a lot of myths and questions swirling around about them. Are they worth it? Will they ruin the surprise of seeing the bride come down the aisle? Will my spouse still get emotional if they see me beforehand? How will it affect my pictures and my day?

Those are all valid questions!

In this post, I’m going to give you my top 5 reasons to have a first look. Other professionals also have shared their reasons. Personally, over the years, I’ve seen first looks be so worth it time after time. Yes, your husband is still going to get emotional watching you walk down the aisle. No, it’s not going to damper the specialness of your day. In fact, I think first looks can actually create more space for powerful moments of connection!

5 Reasons Why It’s a Great Idea to do a First Look

Emotional first look with a crying groom

1. You get to share an intimate moment with your partner

Instead of having your moment seeing each other for the first time being in front of a big crowd of people, you can have a moment alone just the two of you (and of course, your photographer). No matter if you’re extroverted or introverted, I’ve seen couples love the privacy a first look gives. This also makes for a great time to exchange letters, gifts, or read private vows. You can take this moment and make it whatever you want it to be – there’s so much flexibility to fit your needs!

joyful first look on wedding day

2. Your wedding timeline will be more relaxed with a first look.

When planning for a wedding timeline, you’ll be able to have more space for photos with less pressure to hurry. If having a peaceful schedule is a goal of your wedding day, I’d highly recommend a first look. You’ll get all your essential photos knocked out before the ceremony from couple portraits to wedding party shots and even the majority of family photos. This means that after your ceremony, you are free to just be and relax, with the exception of sneaking out for sunset photos. 

a happy first look between a bride and groom

3. Your guests aren’t left waiting for you to finish photos between the ceremony and reception

Without a first look, there’s usually at least a 2-hour gap required between the ceremony and reception. What do guests do for 2+ hours? Especially if your ceremony and reception are at the same place or a more rural location, this can be a really awkward time for guests. With a first look, your day moves smoothly from one event to the next. You also get to be fully present with your guests and not worry about squeezing in the photos you need. As soon as the ceremony ends, you can transition into the reception and it makes for a smooth and seamless transition.

first look between groom and bride. She wipes tears from his eyes.

4. You get more quality time on your wedding day with your spouse

You actually get to see each other and spend time together on the day meant to celebrate your marriage! That’s a huge bonus! From cuddling up during your portraits to having a moment to just breathe and be together before the ceremony, it gives you more space to breathe and just be. Wedding days go fast regardless of if you have a first look, but this way you don’t have to wait until your ceremony to spend time together – by then you’ll be swarmed by guests. Take time to take it all in.

emotional first look between a groom and bride

5. Your photographer is less rushed and can get better photos

Lastly, having a first look does make the job of the photographer easier. This isn’t a selfish request, but a way we get to serve you even better by giving us all the time we need! You’re paying your hard-earned money to have your day photographed by a professional and we want you to get the most bang for your buck. By having a first look and a more relaxed timeline, we can ensure that every step of the day is captured beautifully without being rushed. There’s always more wiggle room when there’s a first look. 

bride and groom share a joyful first look

If you’re on the fence about having a first look or not hopefully this post was the push you needed to commit to it! You won’t regret having the extra space in your day and the special moment alone with your person. If you have any other wedding planning questions, I would love to walk with you each step of the way! As a 2021 bride and a wedding photographer for many years, I love sharing the tips I’ve learned to make your wedding day as magical and effortless as possible!

To see an emotional first look in action, check out this Germantown Wedding or this Stone House of St. Charles Wedding.

Hugging after a first look

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