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Should you have a First Look at your wedding?

August 12, 2015

Every wedding couple has so many important decisions to make when it comes to planning their wedding, and the top question we always get is:

Should we have a first look at our wedding?

first look, wedding planning

A “first look” is basically when you see your soon-to-be spouse BEFORE the ceremony.

The top 3 reasons for having a first look are:

1.) It eases the timeline. If you’re having a first look, that means we can do almost ALL of the major photography before the ceremony – the wedding party and couple portraits. Sometimes, we can even do all of the big family portraits before the ceremony, too!

first look, wedding planning

2.) It can be less nerve-wracking. If you’re anything like me, being with your other-half can have a really calming effect. Sometimes you just need a hug from that person to make your wedding day a little less stressful.first look, wedding planning

3.) It’s private. Typically, first looks are much more private than the grand entrance – and therefore can sometimes be a little more emotional, because it’s just the two of you.

But … There are good arguments for going traditional, too.

If I’m being totally honest, I actually prefer the traditional route of seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony. Here are the top 3 reasons for not having a first look:

1.) There’s really nothing like that grand entrance. It’s such a pivotal moment for everyone, from the wedding couple to all the guests standing and turning around to watch you come in. It’s just – a magical moment. And it’s a moment you get to share with your closest friends and family!

first look, wedding planning, groom crying the first time he sees his bride

2.) Most of the year, the light is perfect afterward. Most ceremonies are in the late afternoon, and the best light is RIGHT after the ceremony during golden hour (the hour or so before sunset). In the desert, it’s much cooler outside about 30 minutes before scheduled sunset and the light is soft and – well, it’s called “magic golden hour” for a reason!

3.) It’s great for the timeline. Without fail, the timeline we so carefully work on can get totally pushed back if not enough time has been padded in for hair and makeup. If there’s going to be a timeline crisis, that’s where it almost always stems from. We’ve had weddings where the timeline got pushed back nearly 2 hours due to hair and makeup taking much longer than anticipated … which means if you had planned a first look and getting all of the photos done before the ceremony, there’s no way that is going to happen. If we plan to do all the formal photos during cocktail hour, it’s okay if hair and makeup takes a little longer than planned (so long as the MUAH artists get started early in the day).

first look, wedding planning

My advice?

Talk to your fiancé and see how they feel about it; you never know if they have strong feelings about it, one way or the other!

When Randy and I renewed our vows in 2013 for our 10th wedding anniversary, we opted to do a first look. Why? Because our anniversary is March 3rd, it had JUST snowed (we were living in Colorado at the time), and sunset was at 5:00 in the afternoon. So we did a first look, did our family photos before the ceremony … and then after our ceremony, we did some more photos just the two of us for about 10-15 minutes because it just got too cold and dark. BUT … that being said, if we had had a BIG wedding when we first got married in 2003, I would have opted to go traditional. Then again, in 2003 “first looks” weren’t even a thing, haha!

Earlier today, I asked on our Facebook page if our fans had done a first look or gone traditional, and it’s pretty much a 50-50 split, which surprised me! What about you – did you have a first look or go traditional??

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