Trying to decide if you want to do a first look or not? Let us help you! WDBT Events owners Veronica and Danielle did it both ways! Veronica (I) did not do a first look and Danielle did, so what is the perks or advantages of doing a first look and if they could do it all over again, would they change their decision?
Advantages of a First Look:
1. Emotions are out of the way!
Are you very emotional? Do you think your makeup will run? Maybe you should consider a first look before your make up artist leaves! It is a private and intimate moment between the two of you, without your wedding guests around.
As planners, we encourage first looks because it helps get the pre-wedding jitters out of the way if any one of our couples are nervous. There was a big difference in Danielle walking down the aisle, versus myself. I am very emotional person to begin with (I cry at every wedding that I am a guests or that I plan), so when it came to walking down the aisle, I was so nervous. So nervous that I couldn't even say my vows! Danielle was calm and collective and able to say her vows!
2. You get more pictures as a couple!**
This is by far the biggest reason to do a first look! You will easily get 100+ more pictures doing this approach, rather than trying to squeeze them in during cocktail hour.
As a past bride, your wedding pictures are everything! It is definitely worth getting the extra pictures without having to spend the extra money! Use your photography contracted time wisely (insider wedding planning tip)!
Also, make sure your photographer has a second shooter. They will be able to capture pictures from different angles and offer another artist perspective!
3. The wedding is more likely to run on schedule!
From a planners perspective and (guests), the wedding reception can't start until the bride and groom are their and done taking photos with the bridal party, family, and themselves. This can easily run passed 1 hour if pictures are not taken prior. With that being said, it will delay the food being serve (risking that it could be cold), it can delay other aspects of the wedding and shorten dancing (which most people look forward when wedding to-do's are done and they can just enjoy the time dancing).
This can not be said enough, when as many wedding pictures as possible are not done pre-ceremony, it takes a very very experienced photographer with an assistant (acting as a director) to keep the post-ceremony photos within the cocktail hour time frame.
4. Gives the bride and groom the time to socialize at cocktail hour with guests (if desired!)
Having a first look at least gives couples the option to mingle with their guests at cocktail hour. This hopefully will allow you to be able to eat your dinner without guest interruptions. In addition, if your photographer is doing sunset photos it gives you more time to spend with your guests when you can socialize with them during cocktail hour.
Another option is after the ceremony, instead of using the entire cocktail hour for photos with family (because you have done this prior to the ceremony), you can spend 20 minutes privately alone with your spouse taking in the moment! As a planner, we have had multiple couples take some private time to just celebrate with each other after the ceremony in a private room, where we place a small cocktail appetizer plate and some champagne bubbly for the couple to enjoy! Afterwards they joined their guests during cocktail hour, which they really enjoyed. In addition, they got to eat their dinner with little guests interruptions and it made for beautiful sunset photos that they will cherish forever!
So with that being said....
As wedding planners, we are team first look! As traditional as I am myself and couldn't picture having a first look (they were not really a thing either when I got married), I would 100% looking back would have done a first look. I would have wanted to get the jitters out of the way, have the moment privately captured that my husband saw me for the first time (we are very private people to begin with), took as many pre-ceremony wedding photos as possible with my bridal party, family, and now husband, and have taken the private moment during cocktail hour to share together as husband and wife!
I hope this helps, but feel free to ask any questions below if you are still unsure!