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Should You Consider a “First Look?”

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For Brides

Hey there, beautiful!

A big question lots of couples wonder are – “Should I consider a first look?” And what even is it?!

I know looking into wedding photography and planning out all those nitty gritty details can be super overwhelming! But that’s where I come in! I absolutely love getting involved in planning, and in fact – all of my wedding collections come with timeline planning & assistance from yours truly so your day goes as smoothly as possible!

A first look is when a wedding couple decides to see each other, usually privately, when they’re done getting ready and before the ceremony. This little snippet of time allows for so many things. Here’s 5 benefits of hopping on the “First Look” trend!

First Look Benefit 1: You Can Finish almost all of your formal portraits before your ceremony!

The biggest mistake I see couples make (even when using a wedding planner!) is failing to plan in enough time for portraits. I ask to have a full hour to get couples portraits alone. If you have a first look at least an hour before your ceremony, most the formal images get knocked out before you’re even married!

Of course, I do think there’s value in having images after the actual ceremony so you really see that post-wedded bliss. We will get those too! But by doing a first look, you get so many more portraits out of the way and then we only need a little bit of time after the ceremony for just the two of you.

First Look Benefit 2: More time at your own party! And guests don’t have to wait!

Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride and groom don’t enter until wayyyy after you’ve been eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking and you’re like uhhh hey, where are they?!  Let’s not do that to your guests! By having a first look and prioritizing photos beforehand, you actually get to go attend your own party sooner! You can still have that grand entrance, but let’s make it only a little while after the ceremony!

First Look Example | Melissa Sheridan Photography

First Look Benefit 3: You receive more portraits (and of the frame-worthy kind)!

By doing a first look, it gives times to have portraits in several different locations. If your venue is big and has several different spots to take photos, after a first look is the perfect time to take advantage of all your venue has to offer. I would say the majority of my wedding couples end up framing the portraits that were taken before the ceremony of just the two of them. This extra time allows for creativity and less pressure to make portraits because we’re not waiting on guests yet.

First Look Benefit 4: More time for family portraits after the ceremony!

Family portraits (usually done directly after the ceremony) can be the most chaotic and time consuming part of wedding photography if not done well. Having a first look helps get your couples portraits out of the way so that you have more time to focus on family portraits and corralling everyone together.

First Look Benefit 5: Easing Your Nerves

This is by far the biggest personal benefit for my couples. Lots of times, I find grooms are very nervous pre-ceremony. Most couples say they absolutely loved having their first look because it gave them a moment to just breathe and be together before the ceremony.

Chaney & Connor's first look

Of course, no choice in wedding planning comes without some downsides. The biggest downside is missing out on that moment when your partner sees you walking down the aisle for the first time. Some brides really want to keep with tradition and love that moment. However, I assure you that your partner will still react to you walking down the aisle! That moment of “wow, this is really happening!” finally hits. And there are often still all the emotions!

Other options for first looks are doing a “first touch” instead, and opting not to see each other but touch each other from around a corner, or even facing back to back but you never look at each other! I’ve also seen first looks with father’s of the bride. Those are very special and becoming more popular. Love seeing a dad with all the emotions about his baby girl!

Charlottesville Engagement Photographer

Are you engaged? I hope this post was helpful to you in thinking about your wedding planning. If you want even more tips, check out this free guide I made for making the most of your engagement session!

xo Melissa

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Should You Consider a "First Look?" | Charlottesville Wedding Photographer

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  1. Great advice every bride should be made aware of! I absolutely love you photography!!!

  2. Nataly says:

    Great blog post on First Looks! So much amazing info!

  3. Lena says:

    What a fanstastic idea! Beautifully written. 🙂

  4. Holly says:

    I love when couples do a first look! so good!

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