Kingston Wedding Photographer | Sarah Rouleau Photography | First Look or No First Look… That is the Question

First look or no first look… that is the question

If you’re like most brides and grooms getting married this summer, you’re probably starting to think about the timeline of your wedding day, and trying to decide how to fit so much into just a few short hours.  Everyone is telling you “the day will fly by” and they are right. Minutes will feel like seconds and before you know it the day will be over. So how do you ensure that your photographer get all of the photos that you’ve pinned on Pinterest without missing out on seeing that Aunt and Uncle that traveled from faraway lands just to see you on your wedding day?

You might find it overwhelming when you’re thinking about your busy wedding day schedule of getting your hair and makeup done, or getting into your tux, the actual ceremony, dinner, speeches, and dancing, not to mention spending time with everyone that has come to celebrate with you as you take this next step in your life.  How will your photos fit into your schedule? Your photographer is probably telling you that they need at least 2 hours for photos, so where can you find an extra two hours in this fast-paced event-filled day?

Have you considered doing a First Look?

Are you asking yourself “What is a First Look?”  Well, it’s simple.  It’s where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, usually in a very choreographed (by the photographer) way so that there is a big reveal to the groom of his bride to be.  Then most or all of your bride and groom portraits will be taken as well as the wedding party photos, and then you’re off the ceremony.

Is this right for you?  Here are 4 things to consider:

  1. Share a Private Moment

The number one reason that I love the First Look is because it’s an intimate and private moment for the bride and groom.  When you think of tradition, the bride walks down the aisle and then the ceremony starts right away.  The groom might be able to whisper “You look beautiful” or something just a sweet to his bride but he’s doing that in front of all the guests, wedding party and the officiant.  What if you could have that special moment but without the audience?  And what if the groom didn’t have to whisper?  What if he could exclaim “You look beautiful!” and then the bride could tell her groom “You look so handsome!”  With a First Look, you get to spend a few moments together, privately, with your photographer at a far distance capturing the special exchange.  It’s a moment that you’ll treasure forever and you don’t have to share it with anyone, just the most special person in your life.

  1. Better Use of Time

Why try to cram one of the most special days of your life into the hours between 3 p.m. when your ceremony starts and midnight when your reception will start to wind down?  Make a day of it since, after all, it is your Wedding Day!  If you could be dressed and ready to go by 12:30 p.m. and you spend one and half hours with your photographer getting photos, you’d still have plenty of time for makeup touch-ups, a snack and little down time before your ceremony starts.  And best of all, your photos are all most all done!

  1. Less Nerves for that Walk Down the Aisle

When most brides walk down the aisle, they are EXTREMELY nervous, anxious, and shaky because there is a huge build-up of emotion and anticipation throughout the day.  You’ve spent months and months planning this day, and hours and hours that day making sure that every little detail from your hair to your makeup is perfect, and now the moment you’ve been waiting for is here.  Will he love your dress?  Will he like your hair?  As you stand at the beginning of the aisle, these thoughts will race through your head, while all eyes are on you and your groom is waiting for you at the end of the aisle.  You don’t want that moment to be filled with nerves and anxiety.  You want to enjoy this moment and savor every second.  If you’ve already seen each other at the First Look and you know that he thinks you look beyond extraordinary, you’ll be able to relax and appreciate that all important walk down the aisle.

  1. Spend your Cocktail Hour with your Guests

If you’ve gone to a wedding in the past, you know that the bride and groom were probably M.I.A. during the cocktail hour.  Where were there?  What were they doing?  They were probably off with their photographer getting their photos taken.  What if you could spend that time with your guests?  You’re probably saying “I’ll see them at the reception” but it’s a lot easier to mingle with guests during the cocktail hour.  At the reception, you’ll be at the head table with your wedding party, and your guests will be seated around the room at multiple tables.  You’ll enjoy your wedding dinner and listen to touching speeches, then you’ll have your first dance with your new spouse, and then the DJ will crank up the tunes and your guests will be dancing the night away.  If you do want to visit with your high school friend that you haven’t seen since you were a kid, you’ll be yelling over the latest pop hit.  Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to them over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails?  If you’ve already done your photos during your First Look you can actually spend your cocktail hour with your guests.

Now you may be asking “What about family portraits?”  When I’m shooting a wedding, I always get my brides and grooms to prepare a list of all the family photo combinations that they’d like taken during this section of the day.  These are very important photos, but you don’t want to spend a long time doing them, so I find that a shot list helps keep everyone on task and organized, and ensures that no one is forgotten. When a couple does a First Look, they do their family photos at the beginning of their cocktail hour.  This has been pre-arranged before the wedding day so that all the family members that will be in the photos knows when and where to go.

I totally get why brides and grooms want to stick with what they know, with tradition.  After all, it’s probably what your parents did, and it’s what you’ve seen in the movies.  But so many wedding traditions are changing and new ideas are becoming new traditions. The First Look is definitely one of the traditions that brides and grooms are altering to make their wedding day the BEST DAY EVER!  Whether you choose the First Look or not, I hope your wedding is perfect in every way and is EVERYTHING that you’ve ever dreamed of!!


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