When I sit down with couples to create a schedule for their wedding day, a lot of the discussion tends to revolve around whether or not to do a first look. There's pros and cons to each, but I ultimately think the pros outweigh the cons. Of course I understand all the sentiment and tradition behind waiting to see each other until the wedding ceremony - it's such a romantic idea. But, here's a few reason's why you should consider skipping the tradition.
Reason #1 is time. Having a first look before the ceremony ultimately gives you more time for photos, and as a result, more time to spend with your guests. It's a total win-win for you. Your wedding day is an incredible day for so many reasons, but one of the best parts of a wedding is that you have the opportunity to spend such a special day with many of your friends and family. As your photographer, it's obviously important to me that you have stunning photos at the end of the day. But it's also important to me that you are able to enjoy every minute of your day. What good is having photos to remember your day by if you didn't have time to make any memories?
Sidenote: At my own wedding, we opted out of having formals after the ceremony so that we could spend time with our guests, and I'm so glad we did. The day went by so incredibly fast, that I didn't feel I had enough time with everyone as it was. Some of my favorite photos of the day are the candid photos from the reception. Those photos capture all the love and joy of the day, and they are precious keepsakes. Also, I wouldn't trade the time I got to spend with our friends and family for anything.
By doing the first look early in the day, I can photograph you and your love before your guests even arrive. It also gives us time to take family photos, and other formals before your celebration begins. Beautiful photos do take time, and photographing before the ceremony allows for the proper amount of time. Don't worry, I'll still photograph during the reception, but taking photographs earlier in the day allows you to focus on enjoying your reception instead of posing for photographs. It also gives me the chance to capture candid moments that tell the story of your big day.
Reason #2 is that the first time your groom sees you on your wedding day is special. It's a big moment, and I think it's worth taking time to enjoy it - for more than the 10 seconds it takes you to walk down the aisle. A first look gives you a chance to spend a couple of moments together on a day that will go by so, so quickly.
Reason #3 is that it allows for beautiful pictures. First, let me clarify, you are what makes your photos beautiful. I can't stress this point enough. You could get married in a gas station and have photos that are great. I've yet to photograph a wedding where the bride wasn't glowing. On your wedding day, you've picked out a dress (or skirt, or outfit) that you love, your hair is exactly how you like it, you are marrying the love or your life, and I promise, you look stunning. That will show in the photos no matter what. That being said, a beautiful location simply adds to the beauty. By doing a first look, and expanding the amount of time we have to take portraits, it allows us to seek out the perfect location for the more-posed photos. (I say more-posed, because as a lifestyle photographer, I try to keep the posing to a minimum. For more about that, see my post on lifestyle photography)
I understand that a first look isn't for everybody, but it is definitely something to consider. If you have any questions about photography on your wedding day, please email me via my contact page.