If you are getting married in Campbell River, Victoria BC, Vancouver Island, or anywhere really, deciding whether or not to add a Wedding Day First Look can dramatically shift plans for the best. As a wedding photographer and wedding videographer on Vancouver Island, I have experienced both the “first look” occurring hours before the wedding ceremony and the first look during the ceremony when the bride first walks down the aisle.
If you are a bit confused, the trend of doing a ‘first look’ is when the bride and groom decide to meet each other in an intimate setting 1-3 hours before the wedding ceremony.
Usually, the bride walks up behind the groom, and they get to see each other for the first time while I photograph the moment. Now, if you have always wanted that first look moment to be during the ceremony, then no need to read on! Enjoy every moment and I hope I can be there to capture it. But if you are a little curious about a Wedding Day First Look, this read might just be for you.
For years I was drawn to capturing that moment a groom sees his bride for the first time when she walks down the aisle, as the family stands up, everyone tearing up. But I’m starting to change my mind about this. That moment is SO SPECIAL, but it is special regardless of whether or not you do a ‘first look.’ And I just think there are so many benefits to doing a first look now!
Here are the Top 8 Reasons You Should Do An Intimate First Look Before Your Wedding Ceremony, because there are a lot of great reasons!
1. More Candid, Real Photos Of You Two
This is not just me being biased, hear me out. Wedding Photography is such a large portion of your day – but I know you don’t want to spend hours away from your family taking photos after the ceremony. If you take the photos of the two of you, you will have some really genuine wedding photos of you both! These photos will cover the spaces of your home in frames and be cherished for the rest of your lives everytime you look at your wedding album. These photos will represent how you looked, felt, and how you’ll remember the entire wedding day (unless you hire me as your wedding videographer, than you’ll have that too!)
What’s more exciting than getting ready all morning, privately meeting with your partner away from any guests, and actually being able to hold each other, talk, laugh together and share in each other’s excitement? The first look gives me, or your wedding photographer, much more time to capture that genuine intimacy. This is extra time on your wedding day that the wedding photographer can get more creative and photograph both timeless, traditional images or just creative, candid shots. There is no rush to get back which makes for a relaxing time together and photos feel much more ‘easy.’
2. No Pressure To React A Certain Way
Traditionally, the groom gets to see the bride during the wedding ceremony, surrounded by 60-300 people who are all in awe at both of you, and are watching your reactions. Often times, the crowd will be looking at you both waiting to see who reacts in a certain way – it’s only human nature.
With a ‘First Look’, its a private moment where the pressure is off and no one is watching your reactions. This allows the moment to be genuine – a no-pressure situation I would say.
3. You Both Look Your Best
A First Look happens earlier in the day, once you have finished getting ready. So naturally, you will get to see each other while looking your very best! I mean how often do you have someone doing your hair and makeup, while you get to wear a stunning dress and beautiful jewelry? And for all the men out there, how often are you wearing that handsome suit? You two will be dressed to the 9’s. Essentially you will both be looking flawless, making for some fresh wedding portrait images as well.
4. It Calms Your Nerves
If you get nervous around crowds, don’t love being the center of attention, or have all those people watching you, then a First Look could be amazing for you.
It is so natural to be nervous before the wedding ceremony, everyone tends to get a little freaked out. Having a First Look before your wedding ceremony can calm those nerves, get rid of any stress you have and just get you that much more excited about the day.
You are celebrating the two of you, so why wouldn’t you want to talk to each other beforehand and share those emotions! It can be really soothing to see each other and chat about all the hilarious, or chaotic things that have happened throughout the morning so far.
5. First Look x2
The feelings of seeing your partner for the first time down the aisle will not change. I know, I know, you’ve been picturing how they will react the first time they see you when you catch each other’s eyes walking down the aisle. Because this is an emotional day, this will still be such an emotional moment.
When you do a private First Look, you have a chance to see each other’s emotions not once, but twice as soon as the ceremony begins. Because you have already seen each other, it shakes away the nerves and you can be more present in this moment. This way, you remember both the first looks a lot more than if you were to do just one.
6. One On One Time Before Guests Arrive
I must say, I do love the first look occurring during the ceremony, but with an intimate first look, you have more than just 20-30 seconds of walking towards each other.
After the wedding ceremony, the day gets really exciting and goes by QUICK. Your family and closest friends are coming up to you, all wanting time to congratulate you and spend time together, then the photographer is pulling you away for photos, and all of a sudden your watching your friends give speeches, getting called to dish up a tasty dinner, and the DJ is playing your favourite song. As you can see, there is not much alone time allocated for just the two of you during your wedding day.
As you have probably heard, a wedding day is one of the fastest days of your life. It is important to soak in all the moments you can. First Looks can help slow down and give you time to fully enjoy the moment, and soak it all in.
You and your partner will have time for just you, before your guests and wedding party are all trying to spend time with you. You can be alone for a while, and enjoy each other’s company before the celebration really gets going!
7. More Time with Your Wedding Party
Because you did the first look, you can do all your Wedding Portraits during this time! That opens up plenty of time with your Wedding Party.
You can do two things here! You could also use this time to take all the Wedding Party photos before the Wedding Ceremony. This would open up plenty of time after the ceremony for you to just celebrate! (Usually, the wedding photographer will take the couple and the wedding party to go take photos). Personally, I love when couples can just relax right after the ceremony!
The other thing you can do is just hang out with your Wedding Party before the ceremony. If you are all friends, it can be awesome to hang out with everyone and get excited for the Wedding Ceremony to happen!
Either way, this first look will allow you to get most of those “must-have” wedding portraits done before the ceremony, and free up so much of your time afterward.
8. More Time To Enjoy Cocktail Hour
Another bonus of photos pre-ceremony is the fact that you and your partner, your family, and your wedding party all get to enjoy cocktail hour. At a traditional wedding, usually, the newlyweds go off to take photos right after the Wedding Ceremony. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on who your Wedding Photographer is, how far you want to go for photos, and the size of your wedding party.
For example, a typical wedding day looks like Ceremony – Family Congratulates you – Family Photos – Run away to take photos with Wedding Party, and Wedding Portraits – Come back for dinner.
As a Wedding Photographer and Videographer, I sometimes feel a bit bad that the newlyweds can’t enjoy time with their family and friends after the ceremony since we go off to take photos! I mean, usually, this is also a ton of fun, but I understand people just want to celebrate and say hi to everyone instead of being pulled away for Wedding Photos.
Anyway, if you have opted for a First Look then you can indulge during cocktail hour and visit everybody.
It’s been a full day of getting ready, taking photos, and getting excited. Odds are you will need a drink, or at least some food. Everyone is ready to celebrate you so don’t make them wait!
If you are paying for delicious appies, a candy bar or a donut wall, and you have a bartender whipping up all your favorites, you should enjoy it! You finally have all your favourite people in one place.
If you love some of the benefits behind an intimate wedding day first look, but you still want to save that moment for the actual wedding ceremony then check out my post “Intimate ‘First Look’ Wedding Day Alternatives”
Here you will find ideas on how to create more unique moments, get the same benefits as an intimate first look, and still save that magical moment for the actual wedding ceremony!
If you are interested in Wedding Photography or Wedding Videography, here are some things you can do!
I would love to connect!