Updated: Nov 7
If you are getting married in Campbell River, Victoria, Vancouver Island, or anywhere really, deciding whether or not to add a “First Look” to your wedding day can dramatically shift plans for the better. As a wedding photographer on Vancouver Island, I have experienced both the “first look” occurring hours before the wedding ceremony, or during the ceremony when the bride first walks down the isle.
If you are a bit confused, the first look is when the bride and groom decide to meet each other in an intimate setting long 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 the idea, this 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 isle, as the family stands up, everyone tearing up. But I also want to share the Top 8 Reasons You Should Do An Intimate First Look Before Your Wedding Ceremony, because there are a lot of great reasons!
1. Photography is Important
This is not just me being bias, hear me out. Photography is a huge investment, you probably want amazing photos! They will cover the spaces of your home in frames and be cherished for the rest of your lives. They will also be the only thing left to look back on (unless you hire a wedding videographer, videos are amazing too).
What’s more exciting then getting ready all morning, privately meeting with your other half, 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 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 relaxing time together and photos feel much more 'easy.'
2. No Pressure, Genuine Reactions
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. 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 Amazing
A First Look happens earlier in the day, once you have finished getting ready. So naturally you will get to see each other 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 jewellery? 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 portrait images as well.
4. It Calms Your Nerves
If you get nervous around crowds, don’t love being the centre of attention, or having all those people watching you, then a First Look could be amazing for you. It is so natural to be nervous before the 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 before hand and share in those emotions.
5. First Look x2
The feelings of seeing your partner for the first time 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 isle. If the emotions are there, they will stay there. 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.
6. Intimate Time vs Moment In Time
I must say, I do love the first look occurring during the ceremony, but with an intimate first look, you have more than just 30 seconds of walking towards each other. After the wedding ceremony, the day gets really exciting. 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, soak it all in. You and your partner will have time for just you. You can be alone for awhile, enjoy the peace and quiet of it all. Plus, because you already get your photos done before the ceremony, you no longer need as much time for photos after the ceremony (benefits of this in 8 & 9)
7. More Time with Wedding Party
After doing a first look and getting those intimate photos, you can also bring your wedding party into the photo session. This will allow you to get most of those “must have” wedding photos out of the way before the ceremony, and free up so much of your time afterwards.
8. More Time To Enjoy Cocktail Hour
Another bonus of photos pre-ceremony is the fact that you and your partner, your family, and wedding party all get to enjoy cocktail hour. With a traditional wedding, usually the newly weds go off to take photos after. For example, it typically looks like the couple gets married, their families congratulate them, they take lots of family photos, and then they run off with the bridal party and photographer. As a wedding photographer, I sometimes feel a bit bad that the newly weds can’t enjoy this time with their family and friends (but it can be a ton of fun to run away with the wedding party to get photos too).
Anyways, if you have opted for a First Look then you can indulge during cocktail hour. It’s been a full day of getting ready, taking photos, running around. 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 donut wall, and you have a bartender whipping up all your favourites, you should enjoy it! You finally have all your favourite people in one place.
If you love some of the benefits behind an intimate 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, wedding videography, or both, here are some things you can do! Also, if you have any questions about this, let me know.
I would love to connect!