Phoenix Area Family Photographer, Wedding Photographer, Maternity, Newborn, Senior, Vacation and Portrait Photography  serving Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, and the East Valley  |  480.233.9962  

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The Wedding "First Look"

When I meet with a bride and groom for the first time, I usually get asked about doing a “first look”. And if they don’t, I bring it up :) Should we do a first look? Why do it? Will it still be special when I walk down the aisle? So, I am going to talk all about doing a first look and why I LOVE them! 

For those of you still wondering… A first look is when the bride and groom choose to meet before the ceremony on their wedding day. We find a quiet spot where just the two of you will meet and see each other when you are all done up and for the first time. It makes for a very special moment for just the two of you and a great photo op with no outside interference.  After you both have a little while with each other, we usually proceed into bride and groom portraits.  We can then proceed to bridal party pictures and make your time after the ceremony spent taking pictures much less.  Most clients now opt for the first look and I must say, I have never seen anyone disappointed they did. 

So let’s dig in. All the reasons I LOVE the “first look”…

1. You are able to enjoy the festivities after the ceremony. By doing a first look, you are able to do all the portraits with your honey and your wedding party before the ceremony. This means that once the ceremony concludes, the bride and groom are able to enjoy cocktail hour, visit with their guests, and partake in the celebration, like they should be! All the while knowing they already got all the amazing pictures taken care of :)  Depending on the size of the bridal party, time line and family, we may even be able to get family pictures done!

2. You will be at your “freshest”. Make-up, hair, dress, and flowers will all be at their best for pictures when you do a first look. Because let’s face it, tears and sweat are all possible on your wedding day.  And everyone wants to look their best in their pictures they are going to look at forever.

3. No rush. All of the portraits are taken care of before the ceremony and they are completed without the distraction of guests and family. It can sometimes be stressful (and hard) to steal the bride and groom away from family and friends after the ceremony for 1-2 hours of portraits. This can lead to pictures feeling a bit rushed and sometimes not getting as many shots.  It can also lead to a family member missed in the picture.  If they are given a specific time prior to be there for pictures it is much easier to coordinate everyone.

4. More time with your love. Doing a first look gives you time, just the two of you, before guests arrive and the craziness of the day begins. We setup a quiet spot away from everything and it gives you the time to talk, kiss, connect, and lighten the stress and anxiety before it all begins. Once the ceremony arrives, it can be really hard to have a moment for just the two of you. Vows, first kiss, and then you are swept away with your guests to celebrate. It is priceless to have that time alone during your wedding day to take it all in and just have a moment together. After all, this is your day and one of the most special of your lives. It is still 100% special when you walk down the aisle and see your future husband, but you now get to remember two special moments of your day, your first look and your ceremony!

5. Because it’s time to kick this tradition. The tradition of not seeing each other until walking down the aisle actually stems from not seeing each other AT ALL, I MEAN EVER before the wedding. Yes, arranged marriages. All right, let’s move on.

6. You would like a sunset ceremony? Who wouldn’t want a beautiful sunset ceremony? Especially for those in Arizona where we have the most colorful and amazing sunsets. Having enough natural light though is crucial to any photographer and my style of photography. Doing a first look allows you to plan your ceremony just before sunset because little natural light is needed after the ceremony since all of the pictures are complete. If you opt to not do a first look, just be sure you allow for 2 hours of pictures after the ceremony and before sunset.

Below are two sample schedules, one with and one without a first look. This helps get an idea of how much time to plan for all the portraits and how the two schedules differ. This is based on a 6 pm sunset time.

Alternatives to a first look? If a first look is just not for you, I understand. I know it won’t work for everyone’s wedding day or traditions. - Of course, you can plan for pictures after the ceremony. Just be sure to plan for two hours of pictures while there is enough natural light. - Do a “day after” session where you get pretty, back into your dress and tux, and meet for pictures of the two of you after the wedding day. - A first touch? :)