ICA INSIGHT // Thoughts on doing a First Look

As a bride & as a photographer I'm a big fan of first looks.

Whether you are considering a first look or not, know that what ever makes
you happiest on your wedding day, that is the way you should go.

Here are a few of my thoughts on doing a first look.

The moment you first see your soon-to-be spouse on your wedding day will be so special no matter where it takes place. That first look it's going to be a moment you won't ever forget, whether that's before your ceremony or during it.

Last summer Tanner & Divya's sweet moment (above) happened the traditional route where Divya walked down the aisle on the arms of her brother & mother & the whole place was in tears as Tanner & Divya saw each other for the first time. It was breath taking & wonderful, a privilege to bear witness to. These two missed out on nothing.

What I know about weddings is that you don't get a lot of alone time as a couple. (It's a celebration with an entire guest list ... of course you don't get a lot of alone time captain obvious! You've invited all your nearest & dearest to celebrate this very day with you.)

But if quality time is important to you as a couple why not set aside some quality time for yourselves on your wedding day? A first look allows you to start your wedding day together, just you two, "together" is what brought you to your wedding day in the first place. It allows you to exchange "first looks" or words, or gifts or prayers in private before the party starts.

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First looks take nothing away from the sweetest of walking down the aisle.

This was my biggest concern when I was a bride. I wasn't sure if my walk down the aisle would feel less important because we already saw each other prior to the ceremony, but this was so far from the truth.

My heart nearly exploded when I saw my husband during our first look. We hugged & kissed, and cried grateful, happy tears with only our photographers as witnesses during our first look. Then an hour later I walked down the aisle on my mother's arm & walked towards my almost husband & felt a joy I'd never felt before, because I knew I was walking towards my future, my family, my husband. We may have cried harder as I was walking down the aisle than during our first look. And very few people knew we already saw each other before the ceremony.

If this is your biggest concern for your wedding day, know that these two moments are completely different moments & each is special in it's own right.

Taking pictures early, means getting to the party early.

Traditionally family photos and bridal party portraits are done after the ceremony during cocktail hour. If you do a first look with family & bridal party photos immediately after, everyone gets to enjoy cocktail hour that much sooner, who doesn't love that?

And don't worry,  if you plan accordingly & align golden hour during your cocktail hour so that, that pretty light won't be wasted ... instead you will be able to have more time for bride and groom portraits, during the prettiest light possible. Wins all around!

(Another plus, your bridal party & families will not be late to your ceremony if they are already with you! How awesome is that?)

First looks are fun.

You've planned & prepared for your wedding & you've taken an entire morning to get ready. Treat yourself by taking a small peak at all that you've dreamed & planned together. It's like stealing a small bite of pie before you share it with the entire family. You've made it to your wedding day ... you've earned yourself some pie my friends.

My last thought on doing a first look, if you happen to do a first look do it for you. Not because The Knot or I say so, not because it's the trendy, hip thing to do. Do a first look if it feels right & if it's meaningful to you.

As a photographer it's a joy & generally an advantage to take first look photos because it allows us to cover more ground before the ceremony & after. But it's not about us, it's about you.

To all the couples getting married this year, Happy wedding planning!