PHOTOGRAPHY

Shelly Pate

A Photographer’s Top Reasons To Do Wedding First Looks

Couple embraces during wedding first look at lighting shop

First looks on wedding days are totally a thing. They have been for some time now, and unless you have experienced one yourself, it’s hard to know in advance whether or not a first look will be worth it. Let me tell you–I’ve witnessed tons of first looks as a wedding photographer and they really are the sweetest thing. Keep reading for my honest opinion on wedding first looks!

YES. I am honestly, 1000% pro wedding first looks. A first look is an opportunity to slow down in order to actually enjoy your wedding day in real time. The rest of the day is full of so much joy and excitement that it can slip away sooo quickly if you don’t slow down enough to realllllly experience it. There are countless moments you won’t want to forget. At the top of that list should be seeing one another for the first time on your wedding day.

SO Many Reasons Why You Should Do a First Look

Couple has first look at lighting shop
Couple has first look at lighting shop

First of all, you get to actually react to seeing one another for the first time on your wedding day. This moment gets to be special just between the two of you. You have TIME to chat about the excitement of the day instead of jumping right into the ceremony.

I actually see more emotion between couples who have done a first look than those who chose not to do so.

Don’t worry, you will both still have those genuine reactions down the aisle. The first look helps calm those “OMG, this is actually happening” butterflies-in-your-stomach feelings. So by the time you are walking down the aisle or seeing your partner walk the moment can really sink in and not feel as much like you are dreaming. At least it’s a good dream! I actually see more emotion between couples who have done a first look than those who chose not to do so.

Couple has first look at lighting shop

You Get to Spend Your Day TOGETHER

Couple has first look at lighting shop

Being together on your wedding day may sound like an obvious thing. But, for those who choose not to go with wedding first looks, you will see each other for the first time in front of everyone and jump right into the ceremony. Immediately after the ceremony you’ll do family photos, wedding party photos, and your couples photos before racing to your reception.

You just don’t really have the time to breathe and take it all in together. If you go the first look route instead, you are then able to spend cocktail hour with your guests! Let’s be honest: this is when the food and mingling is most fun! There will never be another day when so many of your family and friends are gathered together in one place. You two should be a part of it!

You’ll Enjoy Taking Photos Together

Couple holds hands sitting on couch at lighting shop first look

Instead of cramming all those precious wedding day photos into the cocktail hour you can instead enjoy the photo process. You are investing so much in this day and you should be able to actually enjoy it!

Couple holds hands sitting on couch at lighting shop first look

Here are what two wedding day timelines could look like when going with or without a wedding first look:

WITH a First Look

  • Getting Ready
  • First Look and Couples Photos (45 minutes)
  • Bridal & Groom Solo Portraits (15-30 minutes)
  • Wedding Party (30-45 minutes depending on size)
  • Immediate Family Photos (30 minutes)
  • 30 Minutes of Down Time together before the ceremony
  • Ceremony
  • Extended Family Photos (if applicable) (10-15 minutes)
  • Join your Cocktail Hour!
  • Enjoy your Party & Dinner!
  • Sunset Photos (15-30 minutes)

WITHOUT a First Look

  • Getting Ready
  • Ceremony
  • Family Photos (20 minutes)-limited number
  • Wedding Party (20 minutes)-limited number
  • Couples Photos (20 minutes)-limited number
  • Introductions to Reception/Dinner
  • Sunset Photos (15-30 minutes)
Couple holds hands sitting on couch at lighting shop first look

You Can Choose a Really Creative First Look Location

Couple embraces during wedding first look at lighting shop

Shireen and Ryan chose to have their first look portraits in a totally different, not to mention unique place! Shireen brought up the idea of doing their first look at Dominion Lighting in Arlington, Virginia! They wanted something that was super different from the park where their elopement ceremony was held with a whimsical feel that let us get creative!

These two babes could have not found a cooler and more accommodating place. As a photographer, I loved loved loved photographing them in this first look location with all the lights, reflections, and textures. Their first look (which the bride’s dad drove her to in his vintage car) is truly one of a kind!

In my honest photographer’s opinion, walking away from your wedding day with photos, memories, a new spouse, and a sense of having truly lived the day is the complete wedding day package.

Are you convinced that doing wedding first looks is the best? Let’s chat about yours!

Couple looks through lighting at lighting shop first look
Dad drives bride to wedding in vintage car
Couple kisses in light shop at
Couple holds hands sitting on couch at lighting shop first look
Couple embraces at lighting shop first look
Wedding first look at Dominion Lighting light shop in Arlington, Virginia

The Team

Hair Piece | Zoya’s Atelier
Dress | Love Couture Bridal
HMU | Hair by Remona
Florals | Wander & Whimsy
First Look | Dominion Lighting

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