Photography: Ainsley Rose
When I help my clients design their wedding day timeline, one of my top questions is if they will be doing a first look or keeping it traditional by having one see each other as they walk down the aisle for the first time. It’s not out of the ordinary when I get the puzzled look and they ask, “What is a first look, anyway?”
Today, I sat down and wrote up a little list of the differences and benefits of what a first look is in comparison to keeping that sweet aisle moment true!
Photography: Simply Sweet Photography
The Traditional Look
Traditional is, well, traditional! It’s that timeless moment where you see the them walking down the aisle, eyes locked the whole way, seeing each other for the first time and the rest of the world falls away. Historically, it was seen as superstitious for one spouse to see the other before the ceremony on the wedding day, so this would be that moment they have been looking forward to!
Great for early ceremonies. This commonly happens when there is an earlier ceremony in the day and then there are several hours before the reception. So, there is not necessarily a need for a first look since there is plenty of time between events of the day.
Keeps everyone included in the moment. Your closest friends and family get the chance to see the and feel the anticipation of the moment. It really sets the mood for the ceremony!
The afterglow. All of the wedding guests get to see the couple’s reactions to each other and be part of the big moment. The whole ceremony will be flooded in the couple’s genuine ‘afterglow’ (as I like to call it!) where they can’t take their eyes off each other and get married on that cloud nine feeling!
Shorter timeline. By foregoing a first look, it keeps the day shorter as all the pictures take place after the ceremony before the reception instead of before. Especially if you have a later ceremony in the day…it gives you more time to sleep in and enjoy your morning at leisure.
Goodbye cocktail hour. On the flip side, if you have a late ceremony with a short cocktail hour before dinner, it creates a very small window of time to fit family photos, wedding party photos, and portrait photos before you have to sit down. This likely means no mingling time with your guests until after dinner and reception formalities are done.
Photography: Amanda Coldicutt Photography
The First Look
A modern tradition. The first look came about when wedding days got shorter, as not all ceremonies take place in the early in the morning with the reception at night anymore. It is still traditional in the sense that the couple gets to see each other and share that intense moment, but it happens before the scheduled ceremony without your loved ones around.
Privacy please! This is a great alternative for couples who are not used to being in front of an audience or being the center of attention. You can have a genuine moment with just the two of you before the ceremony without the pressure of everyone’s eyes on you. Your true emotions are captured instead of being masked by potential stage fright!
No more jitters. By doing the first look before the ceremony, this eliminates a lot of anxious jitters that couples tend to experience. Once those are out of the way, you can support each other during the ceremony knowing that you have seen each other already. It allows another level of excitement to show during the walk down that aisle, too!
More photography time. There is so much more photo time for wedding party and portrait shots without the pressure of being under a strict time crunch. Once the first look is done, just dive right into photos while the first look glow is still fresh!
Yes to cocktails! Because nearly all your photos were taken before the ceremony, with the exception of family photos, you will likely be able to mingle with your guests during cocktail hour. This also means you can have a late ceremony, just before cocktail hour and dinner, without sacrificing photo time.
Slow down and enjoy. Because all of your wedding day events are spaced out more, there is less pressure on the timeline of the day. You have the chance to slow the day down and enjoy time with each other and your wedding party before the day gets crazy (lets be real, once the guests arrive, it’s a socializing whirlwind!).
Photography: Sara Rogers Photography
In all honesty, both are fantastic options in our eyes.
The moment were the couple gets to see each other for the first time is still captured in some way…it is just a matter of what you want the environment around you to feel like. Additionally, deciding between which option to go with can largely depend on the structure of your day, how you want it to flow, and how much importance there is on capturing a lot or just a few photos.
Finally, it also depends on who you are as a couple – there is no wrong choice here! When in doubt, hire a wedding planner and we can help you out!
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