To look or not to (first) look

Deciding whether or not to do a first look, and see your partner before your wedding ceremony? From years of being a part of both, here are a few things to consider:

First looks are 100% up to you! Everyone has a vision of what their wedding day looks like, and I strongly suggest sticking to what will make you the happiest when you reflect on your day. I would estimate that my couples have been split about 50/50 on this decision, pretty much every year, and I LOVE photographing both! Don’t worry, they are equally emotional. (also per a recent instagram survey I proposed, about 56% of replies oped for a first look while 44% did not :)

Waitttttt, what is a first look? - OH! Yes, basically it is where you see you partner, day of, before your wedding ceremony, in your full wedding attire.

Not to look -

Amy + Scott opted to see each other for the first time coming down the aisle. It was a beautiful and emotional moment between the two of them, but also for Amy’s dad. (White Cliffs Country Club)

Amy + Scott opted to see each other for the first time coming down the aisle. It was a beautiful and emotional moment between the two of them, but also for Amy’s dad. (White Cliffs Country Club)

Many couples opt to see each other, for the first time, coming dow, the aisle. Like I noted this is still about 50/50 and I love that every couple has a vision for what they want to happen on their wedding day. You may choose a first look for a variety of reasons;

-tradition

-wanting that ‘aha’ moment of seeing your partner for the first time at the other end of the aisle - perhaps a moment you have dreamed of forever and ever!

-potentially more anticipation, listening to your chosen song as you walk down the aisle towards the love of your life

-the emotions of sharing that with everyone you love

-your schedule allows for it - always easier to skip the first look schedule-wise if your ceremony and reception are at different venues OR if you just don’t have time for it before your ceremony

-may feel more natural for some - even though more people are watching somehow it still is more comfortable (i.e. I hate singing for a small audience, but a BIG one where maybe faces melt together, and I have no problemo)

To first look -

Kim + Jeff opted to see each other ahead of time, not only for the sake of their schedule, but also to have a more intimate, private moment to feel at ease. (Mapleton Barn)

Kim + Jeff opted to see each other ahead of time, not only for the sake of their schedule, but also to have a more intimate, private moment to feel at ease. (Mapleton Barn)

I personally did not do a first look when I was married, but I sure wish I had. This has a lot to do with the schedule of our wedding day, as well as how I behave when I am nervous. When I am nervous I have a very particular laugh, and that is all I do…So please imagine Steve up there crying (one of the few times in our 13 years together he has done this) and me laughing - oof.

If you are like me, you might feel more comfortable seeing your partner ahead of your ceremony. Here are some benefits:

-You get out some nerves ahead of time

-You have a private moment of joy, love, excitement, sobs (if that is your thing) - just for the two of you, gives you a moment of intimacy you might not have opportunity for the rest of the day.

-SCHEDULE - first looks are SUPER helpful if your wedding ceremony and reception are all at one place with only maybe a cocktail hour in between. We missed our entire cocktail hour taking photos (that is when the best food is served IMO). I LOVE those photos but cocktail hour is such an amazing time to say hit to guests.

-Calm environment of your choice - you can do your first look WHEREVER you dang well please, so you can feel comfortable

-Additional portrait time - you can now have the option to take both family and wedding party photos ahead of the ceremony, since you have already seen each other, and some photos of just the two of you in an additional location :)

Katie + Ryan chose this spot on their farm, the cornerstone of the property, to hold hands and have a quick chat to ease nerves before their ceremony.

Katie + Ryan chose this spot on their farm, the cornerstone of the property, to hold hands and have a quick chat to ease nerves before their ceremony.

-Lookin’ FRESH! Usually first looks happen right after you finish getting ready - make up and hair are right in place etc - also if you are a cryer (no shame) you have time for touch ups pre ceremony.

3rd Option!

I have had a hand full of couples lately opt into sharing a first moment without seeing each other. This can look and feel how ever you want it to, but here is what I have had the honor of being a part of:

-exchanging notes around a corner

-holding hands around a door/corner/tree without seeing each other

-blindfold sitting next to each other, perhaps en route to the ceremony

-one partner (if musically inclined, or not) sings/plays a song for the other from the next room

-simple chat on the phone to ease nerves :)



In the end…

You will be getting married to the love of your life in the way that works for you, and makes your heard just sing. Never any pressure on what you “should” do, just support in making what ever you prefer work with your day!

As always, reach out with thoughts or questions on this!